Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Details, Details, Details

Times are tough and businesses need to be on conserve mode in order to survive. Many businesses especially the new kids will automatically look at their marketing budgets as the first place to slash costs. But is this a smart move? According to many studies out there it is not! Businesses need to look at these times as opportunities to stay strong. People will still be planning weddings and getting married under pretty much any circumstance and they are still spending money. We have not seen a drop in our brides spending habits but we have seen a lengthening of their engagement and planning period. But consumers are scared. They want to give their money to the business that will still be standing when they tie the knot and is still who they were when they contracted with them, not the scaled down skin and bones version. Skimping on your message now is a mistake that means greater opportunity for your competitor down the street.

Smart businesses will now reevaluate all of their marketing plans. Those who find themselves too busy to investigate and stick with status quo will suffer the consequences. When you are looking for who to place your ad with there are many things to consider and they aren't always as clear as your sales person would like you to think. First editorial content is king no matter what. Big pretty pictures get your attention and we love to look at them but what brings you back? What makes you keep the magazine and reference it frequently? It's the content. Fresh, relevant editorials mixed with beautiful useful imagery. As a bride you want good info that's why they pick up magazines. Sure ogling the size 2 beautiful bride in the $15,000 dress sitting at the perfectly styled table in the creek with a chandelier overhead is inspiring but unrealistic and not very useful to 99% of all brides. That magazine is not the one she will reference when the time comes nor is it the one she buys over and over again. That one falls at the bottom of the stack. We refer to it as a Flipper, cause it's the one she quickly flips through and discards. On the other end of the spectrum is the smaller generally strictly local regional GUIDE. Full of resources but short on images and fresh content. It's the one with the seating charts, calendars etc... and the "How to pick a photographer" or the "top wedding..." article. All regenerated stuff. Useful to a degree but far from inspiring or engaging. It generally appeals to a less affluent bride who stumbles across it rather than seeks it out.

There is a hybrid magazine that is also out there. It takes a little bit of both. It has the regenerated articles mixed with better images it's sort of a dressed up local resource guide. This one gets middle stack position depending on the articles included. What all of the above lack is true good regional useful content and spectacular images by local photographers to showcase their work. There is only one publication out there that does that in the Carolina's and I am proud to say it's also the only award winning wedding magazine in the Southeast, maybe the whole country (let us know if you know another, we haven't found one!), The Bride's Book magazine.

Advertisers have multiple opportunities in every issue of the magazine. It's designed to weave our advertisers throughout giving them the greatest exposure. From images, spotlights on venues, awards, featured articles, photo heavy editorials that show trends. It does require some effort on the part of our advertisers as we are not mind readers but we frequently remind our advertisers of upcoming articles and photography needs so they have ample opportunity to get involved. When in need of info we go to our advertisers and our details section is available to announce any new cool product, service or location to our bride's. Those advertisers who take advantage of those opportunities as well as our online opportunities are always pleased with the responses they get from our readers. Okay so I got lost in tooting our horn...there is much more that advertisers need to consider in the face of the current economic recession.

Every business needs a web presence. You should be looking at ways to reach the more than 90% of all brides that hit the internet FIRST for their info. Let's talk about this. Most every home has at least one computer and if they don't they can access one at the library, school or at their work. People are working harder and longer hours. When they want info it's generally during a break, early morning or late evening when your store is closed or no one is answering the phone. The web keeps working 24/7 for you if you let it. Your advertising dollars need to be invested in good online presence. Your print options should also provide this for you in one form or another. But their site needs to be sophisticated enough to draw brides to it through additional content and information. Many publications offer a link on their website BUT fail to realize that that link actually pulls the bride off their site. Many won't return because then they'll follow links elsewhere and besides with only a link they really aren't getting any additional info so why return?

The Bride's Book on the other hand has always had a strong web presence and was actually came before our award winning magazine. has even more info online from Real Brides to inspire our readers and up to date wedding events and trunk shows, contests, award winners and additional local wedding resources, etiquette and advice and articles addressing current trends. Every single one of those are an opportunity for our advertisers to showcase their business even more. Yes, each advertisers has a web AD as well with contact info, multiple image opportunities and yes a link is available but a link in a NEW window keeping our website open for the bride to return to over and over again. Okay so this is horn tooting too but I bring it up for other reasons as well.

Advertising now should be more than placing an ad you should be asking how big and how MUCH of an ad CAMPAIGN can my print ad in your magazine buy me? It's about getting the most for your money, in front of the most brides. If you would like more information about The Bride's Book magazine or website please contact our office at (866)630-5176

Status quo is dead. To survive in the new economy businesses must take a more active role in your marketing and advertising. You can hire an agency to do much of this for you but you would be smart to stay with an agency in your market well versed in your field or pay a big enough fee that you can afford to pay them to be educated in the opportunities out there. And one more thing...if you aren't familiar with the social networks and all of the opportunities in that realm that are out there...make sure whoever is in charge of your advertising dollars is well The Bride's Book!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

ALMOST anything goes

People ask me all the time. "What is THE trend?", "What's popular?" "I want to do this or my daughter wants to do you think that is too much?!" I prefer to put them in touch with professionals who know and readily refer. After all, I am really just the messenger bringing experts to the table and getting their knowledge out there through our magazine, The Bride's Book, and website, I certainly have my own tastes and at 43 I am begining to recognize that yes, my tastes may be slightly dated...thank goodness for my business I hire some of the best and let them capture the knowledge.

But I will say that I have seen just about everything! I've seen tattooed brides who get just one more tattoo for the big event and wears it proudly as she walks down the aisle. I've seen (and heard about) some of the funkiest wedding locations. From Graveyards, to bathrooms, fast food restaurants, you name it somebody has probably already thought of it. I've seen weddings with 25 guests and 10 bridesmaids. I've seen the most elegant weddings on the lowest of budgets and I've seen quite the opposite. So I am here to tell you just about anything goes. My best advice to brides who are planning their wedding is to remember that your wedding is about you but it's also about combining two families and building relationships and a future.

If you want to wear or do something a little different that is okay! Just make sure you think down the road a little bit. When the wedding is all said and done and you and your beloved are starting out you want to look back and be proud of your wedding day and some times that means compromising a little with those you love who may be just a tad bit more traditional. Best wishes!

facebook rules

I love facebook! It is so easy to use, so easy to be "seen" an dget your message out there. We've tried the facebook ads and maxed out the $$$ they say we should spend but honestly we get just as many people interested in our site just from being on the site. We'll continue to "experiment" to make sure we get good exposure but as Facebook alone is about as close to "free" advertising as you can get. MySpace is similar but it's slow to load and isn't as easy to navigate. One of the things that I like the most about Facebook is being able to put a face to a name. And good grief it's amazing how small it makes the world! If you haven't gotten a facebook account do it! If you don't want all of your personal stuff out there keep it to a minimum an dload up a "page" about your business then share it with your friends!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Recent Wedding Trends and Statistics

Chris Jager from Book More Weddings posted some interesting statistics and trends about the modern bride and groom. Some of them are a bit obvious but others seem to be very helpful when it comes to creating an idea of what an average bride and groom are like. This can spark creative ideas about how to market to them and grab their attention. Here are some of the statistics Mr. Jager presented:

-The top four most popular months for weddings are June (the most popular) followed by August, September and then October.

-The average amount a couple spends on their honeymoon is $3,800

-99% of newly married couples will plan and take a honeymoon

-Today, people are waiting longer to get married (A first time bride's average age is 26; a first time groom's average age is 28)

-The average household income of a newly married couple is $55,000/annually.

-The average number of guests invited to a wedding is 175

-About one half of all brides will use a wedding consultant or coordinator

-An increasingly popular trend (growing by 30% recently) are destination weddings

Visit Chris Jager's website for more information and statistics. They are very interesting and spark a lot of ideas about what the modern bride and groom are interested in, what they tend to lean towards in terms of planning a wedding, and what their approximate budget is.

If any of you have any other statistical resources, ideas, questions, or comments, please feel free to post them!

Details, Details, Details

After scouring the Internet once again to get an even better grasp on how color palettes are chosen and implemented, I came across a couple of pages that really demonstrated how a little can go a long way. For example, I would have never thought to coordinate the colors of drinks served at the wedding with the color palette chosen. If you couldn't tell, I appreciate the little things in life and was extremely amused to find that a couple had chosen to have an assortment of red hued drinks to match their color palette of a red and white. This also cuts down on the bar line if indecisive people, like myself, have less of an assortment of choices.

I recently attended a wedding with a color palette consisting of white, pink, and champagne hues and the smallest detail caught my attention the most. On each of the dinner plates they had a pink flower laid tastefully on the plate. This tied even the dinner food to the color palette and looked extremely elegant. Just make sure that the guests who have had one too many of those red-hued drinks understand that the flowers aren't edible!

A major theme, which is probably obvious, is implementing the color palette into your invitations as well. Even the font is important to capture the essence of whichever color palette you choose. An elegant wedding with a color palette of white and sky blue may choose to have a cursive and elaborate font for their invitations. A fun and spunky orange and pink color palette may work well with more of a bubbly or bold font. Of coarse, these color palettes may not always send off the same tone. I am just generalizing but definitely think it is crucial to pay attention to details.

While learning more about how crucial the invitations are to tying the theme of the wedding together, I realized how much work actually goes into just planning the layout, wording, colors, etc. of the invitations. This will be my next blog post topic since this is the first thing your guests will see regarding your wedding. I am looking into the different trends, helpful hints, and unique ideas regarding invitations this year. More to come on that topic.

As always, please post any ideas, questions, or comments about this topic or others you would like to talk about!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Implementing the Perfect Color Palette

It's hard to keep up with ever-evolving trends. Just when I am finished reading one magazine telling me what the hottest summer fashions are, I am already seeing the hottest fall fashions in other magazines before I am even able to make it to the mall! The trick is to pull ideas from these sources but really create a look and feel that fits you. That is obviously how your wedding should be and much of the planning begins with deciding on the perfect color palette. This task may seem simple to those with an artistic touch, but for many others, including myself, the task seems tremendously difficult and overwhelming!

I have always been known as an indecisive, practical person whose wardrobe consisted primarily of black, white, and grey hues. After analyzing my own wardrobe, I realized that my personal traits had definitely infiltrated into my wardrobe choices. Years ago, this would still fit in with the ever popular color theme of white or cream shades. Now the trend is to implement color into your wedding to create a tasteful, vibrant, and refreshing feel. Yikes!

For those of you who have been cursed with my aforementioned traits, you are in luck! You can still keep up with the latest trends and create your dream wedding thanks to numerous wedding planning guides (Including the newest issue of The Brides Book coming out October 1st) that will help ease you into creating a wedding with the perfect hues to capture the emotions and ambiance you desire!

After researching into this topic, I have stumbled upon some great ideas and resources dedicated to aiding you in brainstorming, compiling, and implementing your perfect color palette into your wedding. Of course, our upcoming issue will be touching on a vast number of ideas, trends, and guidelines to incorporating your wedding colors into your wedding but I am going to share some other ideas with you periodically to hold you over until the issue is released.

Color Palette Tips/Trends:

1. Location is an important aspect to be considered when deciding on your color palette. Some venue colors are permanent and will need to be implemented into the palette. Other locations may have a certain feel or ambiance that matches certain colors better than others.

2. Cut or print out samples or swatches of possible colors you would like to use. Place them next to each other and on top of one another to get a feel for how they work together. Seeing each one separate will not give you an idea of what the whole palette will look like when it is implemented into the wedding.

3. Don't overuse the colors or make the wedding too "matchy-matchy". This will take away from the true purpose of the colors to be accents to the wedding ambiance and to one another. If you use too much of one color, it can create an overwhelming feeling and take away from the wedding.

4. Pay attention to color combinations all around you. Some of the most beautiful color palettes are those that you would never think of off the top of your head.

5. I have stumbled upon a great number of "color trends" for each season this year. The most recurring colors seem to be gray, yellow, brown, and orange but it seems that any colors work as long as you pick the right accent colors and implement them in a tasteful manner

There are more tips and trends to come on this and other wedding planning subjects. This is intended to be an open community for brides to discuss their ideas, frustrations, questions, etc. about planning their wedding. Please let us know if you have any questions or ideas about this topic or others you would like to see on this blog or in another issue of The Bride's Book!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Snowball Effect

Hi all,

My name is Andrea and I am currently working for Lenore as a marketing intern. When Lenore and I began discussing the tasks I would be undertaking while working for her, I was amazed at how highly concentrated in viral marketing my tasks would be. The last topic I had covered in my marketing class was actually this term and the main point my teacher made was that this form of marketing is already gaining attention and will continue to grow as more businesses learn about how effective it is if done properly.

I was excited to get started and was amazed at how this type of marketing was hidden in my every day life. As Lenore has previously mentioned in this blog, viral marketing is dependent on consumers passing along a marketing message to each other. This form of marketing, as I have learned from my teachers as well as personal experience, can either work wonders or fizzle out quickly. When I thought about it, someone on television or on the radio telling me to purchase something is a lot less effective than my friends or family recommending something. This has happened with a vast number of businesses including restaurants, new clothing stores, or even a mini vacation spot.

I knew that my experience working with this form of marketing would greatly benefit me and prepare me for future endeavors in the business world once I graduate. What I did not realize was how many websites are focused on viral marketing. I was immediately given the opportunity to begin building and updating the Facebook and MySpace pages for both The Bride's Book and The Bride's Market. This seemed like it would be a fun and easy task (what college student wouldn't want to WORK on Facebook/MySpace!?!). Once I began researching into all of the possibilities that each social networking site provided me with, I was overwhelmed and although it was still extremely fun and interesting, I was proven wrong about my previous thoughts about the task being easy!

Facebook has a great information packet to help any business create a page, build a fan base, set up add campaigns, and utilize all of the tools specifically present within Facebook to promote and build a company's viral marketing platform. Although I thought I knew everything about Facebook since I was an avid user myself for socializing, I was especially blown away at all of the possible applications that could be added to a page. I spent hours researching other pages and the applications available for Facebook pages and I was in awe. The applications included but were certainly not limited to platforms for ordering a company's products, consumer star ratings for restaurants, polls, music, and so much more! This has turned into an intriguing and challenging endeavor which has already taught me a great deal about the endless opportunities for viral marketing on Facebook in addition to the hidden element of this form of marketing. This is due to the fact that "mini feeds" show up every time a person logs onto Facebook and this tells them what each of their "friends" have been up to. For instance, when someone joins our page as a fan, this action shows up on their friends' mini feeds which creates a simple form of viral marketing if this sparks their friend to visit our page. This is just one way Facebook generates viral marketing. I could go into all of the possibilities but this blog would turn into a novel.

Basically, my job has been to work on our company's viral marketing campaign using social networking sites. Along with Facebook, MySpace has many possibilities for viral marketing and many are similar to Facebook's although I will say that Facebook seems to be more concentrated on helping businesses create a viral marketing campaign and is a great deal simpler to work with than MySpace.

In addition to these sites, I have also recently begun working with a site called KickApps. This is basically a site concentrated on building "communities" that have to do with a certain product, business, or interest group. You are able to create this community site by personalizing everything about the site . I had a little bit of experience with creating and formatting websites but this one was a lot more detailed. The one difference about this site that is actually very relieving is that it does the html formatting for you. You just pick colors, fonts, etc. and it will then put those choices into the format for you. This was the one aspect of the site that made my life a lot easier, unlike my MIS class! What I hadn't thought about was how many choices a web designer has! Choosing the perfect color and hue is extremely challenging and a lot more crucial than I thought! In addition to that, there are so many details such as how you want a button to look normally and how you want it to look when the cursor is over it. This I had never thought about either! Needless to say, my websites that I created at school were pretty simple!

Basically, after formatting the site, you have the opportunity to build the community with blogs, videos, pictures, and widgets. The widgets option is the most crucial, in my mind, to building the viral marketing campaign. This is because these widgets are able to be shared and placed on other websites. For instance, I am creating a widget right now that is a compilation of a number of brides that have used The Bride's Book to plan their dream wedding and am creating a slogan to use as the platform of the widget. I can then place this widget on the KickApps site and can also press the share button which allows me to copy the code which I am able to then embed onto another website, such as Facebook or MySpace. This saves a great deal of time and is really helpful in creating widgets if you aren't familiar with it. After I place it on these social networking sites, others are able to then press the share button and place the widget (a video, picture slideshow, countdown, etc.) on their own pages or blogs and thus, viral marketing for our company has begun and will hopefully snowball!

That is a simplified explanation as to what I am doing in terms of the viral marketing sector of The Bride's Book. We think this will be effective because as I previously stated, consumers are most likely to listen to people they trust rather than an advertiser on television or the radio. They want to be doing or purchasing what's "in" and who better to find out what's "in" than the group of people you interact with?!

I clearly have my work cut out for me this summer and am so excited to be learning about such a progressive and growing form of marketing! Although I am beginning to get a grasp on this topic, I would greatly appreciate any feedback you have or any ideas to build our viral marketing campaign. Am I missing out on a great viral marketing tool or site? Am I on the right track? Do you have any advise or any questions? Please contact us if so!

Our Facebook Page

Our MySpace Page

Our KickApps Page

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Summer issue just released!

Yea! Our current issue has just been released. We think it is pretty awsome and soon it will be showing up in bookstores across the Carolinas, Tenn, Ga, Fl & Va!! Check it out and while we are in our planning stages for the next issue, let us know any cool ideas you might have! We'll post ideas for the next issue in our next blog so send in your ideas!

Readers Choice Awards

Hey! Just wanted to remind everyone that we are accepting nominations for our Readers Choice Awards! This is a great opportunity to say thank you! to anyone who did an exceptional job with your wedding! Okay I'm not tallking about "Mom" or "Aunt Nellie" but the awsone florist who has gone out of their way to help you create the bouquet of your dreams, or the Salon who has your dream dress and waited on you hand and foot while you tried on every dress in stock. The photographer who created the engagement photos that captured the two of you perfectly and will no doubt create the most wonderful wedding portraits and capture your "luv" or teh wedding planner, cake designer, makeup artist, salon, etc... Just send us an email at say this person is great!

Winning Carolina Wedding Professional winners will be announced for all to see in our Fall 2008 issue of The Bride's Book - the Southeasts only multi-award winning wedding magazine!

Hope you have gotten your copy of our just released Summer issue of The Bride's Book! If not look for it in your local Barnes & Noble, Borders Bookstore, or local grocery store in Carolinas!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

2008 Readers Choice Awards

Now is your opportunity to share with other brides who you think is the best of the best! Every year we poll our readers to find out who they think provides the best service, the best price, or the best product! It could also be the venue that you chose for your wedding. Send us an email at or add your comment here. It doesn't matter where you live, everybody deserves kudos! And yes, you can vote for as many of your favorite wedding professionals as you like!

Our website, is the overall #1 rated wedding website in the Carolinas and quickly rising throughout the Southeast! We have a very strong bridal following in NY, TX & California. As we expand the magazine those are the areas that we will be focusing. Next is PA, OH & The new England area. The site gets on average 200K visitors each month though I gotta tell you...since we joined Facebook & MySpace we look to get closer to 300K this month alone!! Very exciting!!
As a little incentive to give us a try...sign up online at by April 1st and take $75 off of a Featured ad or $50 off of a premium ad!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Who's got a virus?!!

No, I am not talking about the flu! I am talking about the newest form of marketing and networking. That is viral marketing. It is almost like a bug only this bug you want...sort of. You want it if your targeted market is the younger set. Everything revolves around MySpace , YouTube and Facebook, plus you gotta have a blog and then with all that stuff you have to be able to access it all the time so you need one of those new fangled cell phones that lets you surf, check your emails, text message and never be away from your work. It's really no wonder that there are so many sleep aids out there. Cause who can sleep when there is so much work to do still! Calgon...take me away! :)

Check out our Facebook account
Here is our MySpace page

and soon...we'll send you a link to a few youtube video ads!