You're engaged? Congratulations. Welcome to a short-lived time of your life where you're a lucrative potential customer for marketers trying to get you to buy into the fairytale dream wedding fantasy. With the average British wedding costing around £13,000, those planning one are prime retail targets. I don't mean to sound cynical, but it's a definite marketplace out there. If you like reading to research anything and everything, here is a brief summary of some of the British magazines on the topic of matrimony. Most come out every two months, and cost around £5.
It has been running for over thirty years, which suggests it's onto some kind of winning formula. There are lots of adverts, from the extortionately expensive to the manageably cheap, but this is true of all magazines. Articles cover aspects of the day, planning, or even how to make things such as wedding favours. It's a good mix of heady romance and practical guidance. A handy regional directory at the back makes it easier to work out what's relevant to you.
Their website is quite useful, with a good range of tips, competitions and tools alongside sections on honeymoons, planning, and dresses, with real weddings, and forums to discuss things.
On the whole it felt like a physical version of their Pinterest board, and they even had an Instagram section. It benefits from being linked to the real life shows they run, but could do with having some more articles in than the occasional 'try this' or themed 'How they did it' real life wedding stories.
Some magazine series deal with very specific sections of your wedding. There are loads for crafts, cakes or invitations, for example. You could build up a whole library if you felt so inclined. This one in particular deals with finding the right venue and services.
It did feel like little more than a glorified directory or sales brochure. If you have no idea (or constraints), a single issue might be fun, but it's too wide-ranging to be much use, and many people will have a reasonably clear idea what they want.
With words like 'totally' and 'ultimate' across the cover, you know you're in for a hyperbolic read, but that's true of the whole genre. There are lots of good short items in here, but the piecemeal and list-style nature of the issues I've read do make it feel more like a giant advertisement than a magazine to be read. Blog-style posts, Q&A sections and 'real weddings' help give it some narrative.
The website is rerouted to one with 'flowers' in the url, but as a site seems very focused on beauty (especially hair and makeup) rather than the overall wedding.
Sainsbury's even ran a promotion with this magazine, including 'Wedding Ideas' with it. You do find some kind of promotion most months, with two magazines more or less for the price of one, so it's worth keeping your eyes open.
This magazine shows how mobile apps can be useful in wedding planning. The front cover features the Blippar logo, and if you 'Blipp' the cover, the dress comes up on your phone and you can investigate it, trying it on a photo of you, getting to further details etc. When I first tried it, the technology didn't work very well, but it's developed quickly and now works quickly and smoothly.
The magazine itself comes in a handy smaller size, making it easier to fit in your bag than its chunkier A4 counterparts. Content-wise there's a good range of practical articles to go with the advertising features, competitions and directories. It's a useful, well-planned magazine; you can see the section you're in from the top corner (emotional advice, planning inspiration etc).
One may ask what's the point in paying around £5 a time. The magazines often have discounts for 6-month subscriptions, realising that engagements don't last forever. Having something in your hand, to flick through, browse in the bath, scrapbook and dog-ear really is more satisfying than Pinterest or emailing links. All of them seem focused on 'traditional' marriage pairings, and it might be good to see a bit more diversity. If you want to browse pretty things, great. If you actually want help in planning a complex and momentous event, you'll probably need to look elsewhere.