The Business of Blogging – Backstage

Every week we literally see between 400 and 600 weddings come across our desk. Within each wedding, we look for the pretty. The little tokens that set one wedding apart from the next. We look at the decor, the flowers, the dress, the maids, the venue and yes…the kiss, the love, the tears, the no-holds-bar joy. And while every wedding that we see always has a bit of pretty, we thought we’d take a moment today to explore the level of pretty that it takes to get a “congratulations, we’re publishing your wedding” email.

1. The Photography. We don’t subscribe to any one style of photography. We’ve seen beautiful weddings shot in a myriad of ways. But our favorites are always those images that are fuss-free, totally uncluttered and as editorial as you can get.

photography by Jonathan Canlas / full gallery here

We chose this wedding that Jonathan Canlas sent in for a couple of reasons. The wedding itself is lovely with enough details to hold a full, comprehensive feature. But more than that, the images are straight out of a magazine. They are straightforward, simple and devoid of any unnecessary clutter. The photographs capture the pure joy, the whimsy and the style without trying too hard…letting the beauty of the wedding take center stage.

2. Choose the RIGHT details. Here is a list of some of the must-have details. This isn’t to say that a wedding without 1 or 2 of these items isn’t going to make it on the page, we just like to see all of the facets of a wedding which include a wide variety of details. This is DEFINITELY not a total list, just a few of our favorite wedding moments.

photography by Carrie Patterson / full gallery here

3. Tell a story with your submission. The vast majority of our wedding features tell a comprehensive story. From the bride getting ready with her mother, to the jewelry she puts on and the shoes she dons. To the groom and his dudes, the processional, the ceremony, the reception, the cake and of course, the kiss.  Here is a look at a condensed version of “the story” in photographs.

photography by Aaron Delesie / full gallery here

A couple of quick notes. For each “chapter” of a wedding, there could be a handful of different approaches and photographs that we would love to see. For example, during the getting ready portion, it’s great to see moments between daughters and mothers, fathers and sons. Some couples may choose to have a first look that is photographically powerful, others may opt for that wow moment to be at the top of the aisle. Some ceremonies are filled with photo opps – fathers with their little girls, tears of joy and love, guests watching it all unfold. Some cocktail hours are worth photographing, others don’t fit into the larger story. Some receptions are filled with details, filled with moments. Every wedding is unique and the story itself will always be one of a kind.

4. Edit yourself. But give us enough images to come up with a really complete wedding feature. Most great submissions have between 100-150 photographs. Some as many as 200 though those weddings are generally chock-a-block full of off the charts details. Some elements allow for a bit of  variation in imagery. Flowers for example. We love to see tablescapes and floral arrangements and aren’t afraid to post more than one angle of a very similar look.

photography by Elizabeth Messina / full gallery here

Invitations and paper goods are another element that we love to feature and will happily show off more than one paper element.

photography by Linda Chaja / full gallery here

Same goes for fashion (particularly of the bridesmaids & the bridal fashions…looots of pics of the dress are a must), the reception space and table settings, scenery and the “moments.” For all other details, limit yourself to 3 or less. So three or less of the cake, the favors, the plates or single elements within a table setting, the bouquet, the bowties, the flower girl, the ring pillow, the croquet that the couple wanted at their reception. All of the filler details that link the entire story together. Edit them down to your favorite variation of that image and it will make our job much, much easier.

5. Turn a simple wedding into a spectacular wedding. By turning the mundane into extra special details. Jose Villa is a master at this. So is Aaron Delesie. So is Jen Curtis. Simple weddings look instantly steal-worthy when you transform ordinary backdrops, signage, labels, trees, tents and so much more…into something truly beautiful. We’ve seen earrings photographed so lovely they could make you cry, old trees and canoes look like fine art, signs and grass and brick walls give a sense of space to an otherwise simple affair. When you are photographing a wedding, stop and really look around. Find those little moments that can come together to give readers a true sense of being there.

photography by Jose Villa / full gallery here

So there you have it. Five tips for getting that wedding of yours published on Style Me Pretty. There are so many weddings that come in that have that lovely we look for but for one reason or another, the submission just doesn’t work. The selection of images isn’t quite right, there aren’t enough details, there is no emotion behind the day, the story is unclear. Although we could really work with photographers to develop their submission, we are quite honestly simply overwhelmed by the sheer volume we get. So it’s much easier to politely decline, than to hand hold a wedding until its perfect.

In addition to the above tips, here’s a quick recap of our submissions guidelines and the best way to get your wedding noticed quickly.

Step 1. Send all submissions to OR use our nifty submissions tool,

Step 2. Title your feature, noting the location of the wedding. For example, “Los Angeles wedding by Elizabeth Messina” or something to that nature.

Step 3. Add 100-150 images.

  • 85% of those images should be vertical. 15% should be horizontal. We use far more vertical images in a post.
  • 90% or more of the images should be in full color. 10% can be in black and white.
  • Images should be at least 600 pixels across though we prefer 900 pixels if at all possible.
  • This is SO not an exact science. Every wedding is different and demands different types of photography and images. We totally respect that and always take note of the individuality of each wedding submission.

Step 4. Add your vendor credit list. Be as thorough as humanly possible. We DIE to have credits for every last detail – the dress, the shoes, the bow tie, the jewelry, the table runners, etc. Include websites to ensure that we get the credit exactly right. Note Little Black Book members if possible.

Step 5. Add your description. A story as it unfolded from the bride is the gold standard. If that isn’t possible, we love to hear from event designers and/or florists. And photographers. We want to know about the moments, the details, the special touches that made the wedding so unique. Three paragraphs is a good place to aim.

Step 6. Click send and sit tight for about 4-6 weeks. We are trying to hard to improve that number but we want to carefully and thoughtfully look at each and every wedding. If after 6 weeks you haven’t heard back, send an email to submissions-help{at}stylemepretty{dot}com and we’ll check on the submission for you! I know that this is a long time, but we hope that the amount of potential brides you would reach makes it worth the wait. Here are our current traffic stats:

  • Monthly Pageviews: 17,435,682
  • Monthly Unique Visitors: 1, 238,567
  • RSS Subscribers: approximately 45,000
  • Monthly RSS Pageviews: approximately 1,500,000

*Traffic Statistics via Google Analytics, Feb. 23, 2012

Whew! This was a long winded guide. I hope that it brings you some clarity though and that it helps to tailor your submission so that your chances of being featured are high. I’ll be around if you have questions in the comments section! xoxo, Abby


14 Responses to “5 Tips for Making Your Wedding Submission Even Better”

  1. Erin B. says:

    I LOVE these behind the scene, sneak peeks into the SMP world! These are really great tips in general (even for non-photogs!)

  2. Jennie says:

    Just getting ready to submit an inspiration shoot and this is a super helpful post. Thank you so much for taking the time to explain all the in’s and out’s!!

  3. This post was extremely helpful! Thanks so much for taking the time to put this together!

  4. I’m assembling additional info for a submission now, and I appreciate this information. I’ve never even thought about having anything published before, and shooting for albums is a lot different than shooting for publishing.

    This info will definitely help going forward.

  5. Daniel says:

    Thank you SO much for this comprehensive guide. It really helps to know how you guys are thinking. I’ve never seen this level of detail and care for photographers from a blog. You are awesome!


  6. Nadia says:

    Awesome guide!!! Thanks so much for this super detailed information, this is really going to help :) Have a great day!

  7. naomi says:

    Perfect and just what I needed. Thank you so much! xo

  8. Deb London says:

    Thanks SMP for the detailed guidelines! This makes the submission process so much easier and more enjoyable. I have been watching your blog for a while and I’m very much looking forward to meeting the challenge of being published here. Be prepared to hear from me more than once! Fun-fun! :-)

  9. S. Ferguson says:

    I would love to submit my wedding pictures. The one reason is because I was an older bride & this was my second wedding which I have not seen any other ones like this on line. The second time around was wonderful and even better then my first wedding! I still felt like a beautiful blushing bride and had my two daughters as my brides maids & they even sang with the band a special song for us. This is a great web-site with wonderful ideas & pictures of young adults but there is still an area untouched, the 2nd time around wedding. I hope that I can get published just so that I can show something a little different and also as beautiful.

  10. Joshua says:

    Perfect guide!!!Thank you so much for those details!


    Joshua Nunez

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