July 29, 2003

A First at Bride's Magazine

The New York Times on Monday (July 28, 2003) featured an intersting article about one evolution in the Bride magazine industry.

July 28, 2003
A First at Bride's Magazine: A Report on Same-Sex Unions

After 70 years of helping brides walk down the aisle, Condé Nast's Bride's magazine has crossed a threshold of its own. Its September-October issue, on newsstands now, contains a full-page article on same-sex weddings. This is the first time that any of the five top-selling bridal magazines has published such a feature.

The article, titled "Outward Bound" and written by David Toussaint, a freelance journalist, discusses recent developments in same-sex ceremonies. Gay and lesbian couples are interviewed about why they want their friends and community to recognize their unions publicly. The article also offers advice on how to be a good guest. It urges readers "not to panic" if they are invited to a gay wedding.

Bride's, established in 1934, is the oldest and largest of the national wedding magazines, with a circulation of 402,897, according to the most recent data from the Audit Bureau of Circulations. The story was discussed at an editorial meeting in December and was assigned after some discussion of whether the topic was appropriate for Bride's readers.

"We looked at what was happening in the wedding industry," says Millie Martini Bratten, the magazine's editor in chief and the editorial director of Condé Nast's Bridal Group.

"We were hearing from various retailers that same-sex couples had become an important part of their gift registries," Ms. Bratten said. "And we were answering more readers' questions: `If two women were getting married, what's the appropriate attire?' " She also noted that The New York Times and other newspapers had begun publishing notices of same-sex ceremonies.

Cathy Renna, news media director for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, said every such article is an important step. "Maybe a cynical person would say they just want our business," Ms. Renna said. "But if you want to have a wedding, these are the publications you'll read. A story like this really energizes the gay and lesbian community."

Same-sex ceremonies have been covered for some time on Internet wedding sites. "Wow, they finally caught up," said Carley Roney, editor in chief and a co-founder of one such site, TheKnot.com, which claims more than two million visitors a month. The Knot has covered same-sex weddings since it began operating in 1997.

In 1999, TheKnot.com ran a contest called "Millennial Couple," which attracted almost 5,000 entries. The winning couple — determined by votes from visitors to the site — was Kimberly Acquaviva and Kimberly McGannon, who came to be called "The two Kimmies." "We experienced a little bit of a backlash at the time," Ms. Roney said. "We have 15- or 20,000 local vendor relationships around the country, and this wasn't looked upon terribly kindly in the Bible Belt."

Editors at more than one national bridal magazine said that they also were considering articles on same-sex weddings, but added that business concerns remained a factor. So far, Condé Nast reports no adverse advertising reaction. Nina Lawrence, vice president and publisher of the Condé Nast Bridal Group, said she had not heard any complaints from her advertisers.

Ms. Lawrence noted that Bride's was trying to address generational changes in weddings and marriage ceremonies. The generation that is getting married now "is the most inclusive generation ever," she said. "If we were creating a product for people who were getting married 20 years ago, we'd be out of business."

Mr. Toussaint has written several articles for Bride's before but was overwhelmed by the responses he received while he was working on his same-sex marriage report.

"Anyone involved, they all called me back immediately and were thrilled," Mr. Toussaint said. "One gay couple, two men I interviewed, said they would buy every issue of Bride's on the newsstand. I think that's hysterical. It's every bride's dream to be in Bride's."

Posted by Brian at 07:09 AM | Comments (0)

July 26, 2003

Wedding Magazines

Question: Why aren't there any wedding magazines for grooms?

There's Bridal Guide, Modern Bride, Elegant Bride, Cape Cod Bride, Manhattan Bride, Chicago Bride, Southern Bride, Today's Bride, Bride Again and just plain old Brides Magazine. There are general wedding magazines as well -- Martha Stewart Weddings and In Style Weddings among them -- but they don't offer much more to us either.

I realize that the bride is in many ways a larger part of the wedding day festivities -- she is the one dressed all in white, she is the one who is escorted down the aisle, and similar. But the wedding can't happen without the groom, so you'd think there would be some kind of magazine that addresses our role. As it stands, there are articles about what tuxedo style we look best in, and maybe something that discusses where to go on our honeymoon (even though that should really be a joint decision, not just the grooms, and in our case Karen did pretty much all the research and planning).

I challenge you to find a substantive discussion of the groom's role in the wedding -- something beyond the chapter in Weddings for Dummies, or your standard two pager in one of the aforementioned publications. Maybe I'll just have to write it myself.

Posted by Brian at 06:54 PM | Comments (0)

Initial Thoughts

Depending on who you ask about the wedding planning process, a wedding is the bride's day and the groom's role in wedding planning is to show up... I like to think I am a different kind of groom -- I took an active role in helping Karen choose her bridesmaid fashions; I have read more than enough wedding magazine articles about the etiquette of invitations, etc. Don't worry, Karen and I are sticking to some of the traditional planning rules: I won't see Karen's dress until the big day, and there is a high likelyhood I will never understand china patterns. You get the idea.

Anyway, my plan is to use this area of our wedding website to share with you some of my experiences on the road to marital bliss. Stay tuned, and see how things unfold.

Posted by Brian at 06:48 PM | Comments (0)

July 25, 2003

Karen and Brian's Blog

Nothing if not cutting edge, Brian and Karen have set up this blog to document happenings in the days leading up to the wedding! Aren't they cool?

(Please excuse any formatting oddities for the moment, I'm still getting the bugs out)

Posted by Emily at 10:50 PM | Comments (1)