One of the first things us newly-engaged brides do after gazing at that sparkling ring is hit the magazine racks to stock up on print inspiration. We flip through the pages at a breakneck speed with the intent of getting inspired for our own special day. Now imagine if the thrill you had gazing at all of those dreamy fantasy wedding photos could be just a little closer to home? Say, with your very own venue, gown, flowers, and cake in print? It would be a dream come true!
Whether you’re a bride who wants your wedding to live on in the pages of your favorite wedding magazine, or a wedding industry professional hoping to make your big break, we invited Martha Stewart Weddings Real Weddings Editor, Shira Savada, to spill her tips on how to get published once your “I do’s” have been said and the cake has been cut.
Be sure to check out how you can submit your wedding to Martha Stewart Weddings. Or, if you’re still in brainstorming mode, take advantage of the real-life weddings featured on the site and by following along on social media: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. There are 2 print issues on shelves now: the Spring Issue which is all about color and the Real Weddings Special full of fabulous fêtes!
Photo by Laura Murray
How did you get into the magazine industry and land a position at Martha Stewart Weddings?
In middle school I had subscriptions to all of the teen magazines, and was hooked from the start. Fast forward to working on the yearbook through high school as an editor, photographer, designer and writer—which made me feel a bit like a historian—and then getting a degree in Magazine Journalism from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications. I found that I loved exploring the different aspects of publishing and couldn’t wait to break into the industry.
After my first post-college job (working as a photo assistant at a fashion magazine), I landed a position as an art assistant at Blueprint magazine, which was a Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia title. When that magazine folded a year later, I was fortunate to move over to the style department at Martha Stewart Weddings. Now I’m the Real Weddings Editor, and it’s my job to find all of the weddings we feature online and in our pages.
Photo by Rachel Thurston
Photo by Elizabeth Messina
Describe a typical day for you.
A large portion of my day is spent pouring over submissions. I also write stories; lay out our Celebrations section; work alongside our art, edit, style and web teams; correspond with various industry pros; and brainstorm content to share with our readers. On occasion, I talk with real couples. I love getting a chance to help them out with a “Big Day” problem—I’m all about trying to minimize the stress and maximize how great the wedding can be.
Photo by Belathée Photography
Photo by Tinywater Photography, now Milou + Olin Photography
Can you briefly describe the process you go through when looking at wedding submissions and how you decide what gets published?
We are constantly reviewing weddings sent to us either through our website or directly from wedding vendors (like photographers and planners). Whenever we consider a wedding, it’s always in the context of the other ones we have in the mix for upcoming issues—it’s all about variety.
Here is what we look for:
1. Great photos: They’re the one main keepsake you take with you throughout your marriage. You’ll hang them on your walls and show them to your grandkids. Timeless, clean images (most often shot in natural light) make us the happiest. We pride ourselves on the photography we feature, and have done so since the beginning. Amazing images also help us tell a story.
2. Interesting stories: A picture may be worth a thousand words, but we’re not mind-readers. Include information about important or sentimental details so we get a sense of what was special about your celebration.
Photo by Johnny Miller
3. Personalization: Each wedding we feature should feel so unique that it could really only work for that couple and that couple alone. (We save the “cookie cutter” thing for baking.) We especially look for details—and sometimes DIY touches—that reveal the couple’s personality.
4. Exclusivity: Most publications want to know that they’re the only ones considering your story, so submit to one at a time. Think of the submission process as being in a monogamous relationship.
5. The “wow” factor: We notice right away when a wedding pops. There’s a freshness to it, something charming and something different. There’s no “perfect” wedding for us. It’s like dating and meeting “the one”—when you know, you know, right?
It’s important to remember that even though weddings get published every day of the year, they are first and foremost a super special day focusing on the love of two people. It should be an authentic experience filled with memories and love.
Photo by Belathée Photography
What are the three most memorable weddings you’ve published since your time at MSW?
Asking me which weddings are the most memorable to me is like asking a mom to name her favorite child, so I’ll just give you an unofficial highlight reel.
A colorful circus-themed wedding in Brooklyn—the Dumbo neighborhood, to be exact… How’s that for on-theme?! Each little detail about Jenna and Jon’s soirée was dreamed up and crafted by the couple, their close friends and their family. Everything about this wedding felt right, and the couple and their guests look so happy in all of the pictures because it was all about having fun!
Have you ever seen a pair of newlyweds get a puppy at a wedding? Check this one out and you can say you have! All things aside, Marnie and Jamie’s New Year’s Eve wedding was full of surprises, revelry, witty wording and sweet moments.
Imagine all of the classic English storybook romances and novels rolled into one, and that’s how I feel when I see Corbin and Thatcher’s wedding in Ireland. Hello, romantic! This one is so dreamy, with layers of velvets, lush flowers, painterly accents and an air of magic.
Photo by Mr. Haack