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How to get weddings featured in Harper’s Bazaar? As a former editor, I’ll tell you this: Editors are cut from the same cloth in the sense that we’re very headline-driven, we’re obsessed with understanding our audience, and we know a thing or two about the power of a blog post. But it’s our brands and the way in which the teams and goals are laid out that differ so much between publications. What works well in Brides Magazine is different from what will work in The Knot, which is different than what will work for Munaluchi, which is different than what is going to work for wedding blogs, Vogue or Harper’s Bazaar. In other words, there’s no one-size-fits-all way to pitch and get weddings featured in all the magazines.
To get a sense of how to get weddings and travel features in Harper’s Bazaar, I sat down with the weddings and travel editor, Carrie Goldberg. We talked about the role she plays, how she thinks about her audience and of course, how to get weddings featured in Harper’s Bazaar magazine. You can watch the full interview @editorinchiefmedia — and read 10 top takeaways to getting weddings featured in Harper’s Bazaar magazine!
1. Harper’s Bazaar Weddings and Travel Stories Are The Work of the Fashion Team
At some magazines, there might be a real weddings team or a team that focuses solely on wedding planning stories. That’s not the case at Harper’s Bazaar. At Harper’s Bazaar, all of their wedding and travel content is created by the fashion team. And because the weddings and travel are apart of the fashion team, those stories are all created with a fashion-first approach. So while Carrie and other editors may create lots of really great service-driven stories about wedding planning or registering for gifts, that content will always be delivered to you with a fashion first lens. Speaking of…
2. Weddings that Get Featured in Harper’s Bazaar Involve Great Fashion Moments
The first question Carrie and her team want to know the answer to when they’re looking at a wedding is what the bride (or brides or grooms) wore. “It starts with the dress for me,” says Carrie. “And the couple and styling. Does the look head to toe make sense for the space that the couple is in, for their guest count, is it something I haven’t seen before,” she says. If it is something that she’s seen before, she wants it to be the very best example of that style.
Also! “Just because it was expensive or has a designer label, doesn’t mean it’s a fit for us,” Carrie says. “A lot of the things we run are vintage. A lot of the things we run are label-less. A lot are past season…. I just continue to say, is it the best example of what it is?”
“Just because it was expensive or has a designer label, doesn’t mean it’s a fit for us,” Carrie says. “A lot of the things we run are vintage. A lot of the things we run are label-less. A lot are past season.”
So as you’re thinking about how to get weddings featured in Harper’s Bazaar, ask yourself: How the dress (or dresses) work in the context of the venue and the space? Does it all fit together? And are there any other fashion moments (eg, did she change) and do you have photos of those as well?
3. Inclusivity Is A Publishing Priority for Harper’s Bazaar Editors
“I really want couples that are dynamic, diverse. I want inclusivity. I want LGBTQ+ couples. I want interracial couples,” says Carrie. “Like I don’t want there to be a bride that exists in this world that Harpers’ Bazaar is a place where she isn’t seen or heard.”
“Like I don’t want there to be a bride that exists in this world that Harpers’ Bazaar is a place where she isn’t seen or heard.”
She goes on to add that while there are lots of gorgeous weddings of beautiful white couples in Northern California, “those need to take a seat for a second because there’s message that we’re trying to tell right now.”
4. One Question Harper’s Bazaar Editors Ask Themselves All The Time: What Makes This Wedding Truly Unique?
So not only are they looking to show diversity in all of its ways, as well as fashion, but they’re also very concerned with ensuring that it feels fresh and unique. “The headline for the wedding we featured this last week was ‘This wedding was a disco in the jungle complete with a crystal meditation,'” Carrie explains. “The couple had a tea ceremony for themselves and a crystal meditation for their guests and they found a remote villa in Tulum that wasn’t beach front. They wanted their guests to drive through on 4-wheelers to the middle of nowhere to find a disco with acrobatics and tarot card readers.”
Of course not every wedding featured in Harper’s Bazaar has to be quite so epic but there should be some element of surprise for both the editors and their readers. Also, Carrie adds: “I want to fall in love with their love. Even if it’s not textbook or what I expected it to be. That’s the best part of these stories is debunking what weddings are supposed to be. We’re no longer in the realm of ‘supposed-to-dos.'”
“We’re no longer in the realm of ‘supposed-to-dos.”
5. Stand-Alone Portraits and Styled Shoots Don’t Get Featured in Harper’s Bazaar
While styled shoots are great for expressing new design concepts and content for your social channels, Carrie and her team don’t feature them in their real weddings vertical. “I have a hard time telling a story of something that never happened,” she explains. “It could be really pretty but when you get down to the bottom of it, our readers don’t really know how to grab onto that.” Likewise for standalone portraits.
That said, Carrie impressed that she is more than happy to look at your work or photography if it’s something you’re really proud of and want her to see. Sending her a note here and there to stay on her radar and give her a heads-up on something new is not a bad idea. Do so sparingly though–quality outreach is far better than quantity.
6. Beyond Real Weddings, There Are 3 Other Types of Wedding Articles Featured on Harper’s Bazaar
When you think about how to get weddings featured in Harper’s Bazaar, you probably think first about their real wedding articles and their best-of lists. There are other types of content though. There’s wedding fashion, wedding beauty and wedding planning and the team covers and creates content for each of those categories (ie, verticals).
On the beauty front, they cover makeup, skincare, haircare, wellness, fitness and even plastics. And then as far as planning goes, they’ll create content about choosing your vendors, how to work with them, narrowing down the color palette, planning entertainment moments and making the guest experience super high-touch.
7. Harper’s Bazaar Travel Features Are Broken Up Into Several Categories
Just like they cover weddings in several different ways, not every travel story takes on the same format. “There’s hotels and spas, restaurants and dining and then best of roundups and lists,” says Carrie. Those best of roundups might include something like top beaches, most beautiful cities in the world, how to shop London like a local, she adds. Finally, there’s the honeymoons vertical, which falls right in between their weddings and travel pieces.
8. The Harper’s Bazaar Digital Editorial Calendar Is Timely and Fluid (Read: The Pandemic Has Changed What They’re Featuring)
Whereas the team had been featuring a lot of destination weddings and travel spotlights, the editorial team has shifted their coverage. They’re focusing a lot on service content that couples can do from home like registering for gifts and adopting new hair and skincare beauty regimes–”all the things that you can do from home leading into a 2021 wedding,” Carrie says. As for real weddings, they’re covering a lot of smaller domestic weddings right now. That’s not to say she’s not going to run destination weddings. “I just want to be really conscious: does everything that we’re featuring have a message that couples can take on?”
“I just want to be really conscious: does everything that we’re featuring have a message that couples can take on?”
Another thing about how to get weddings featured in Harper’s Bazaar: Read and re-read your pitch before you send it along, keeping the political and cultural atmosphere. If you’re having second thoughts about submitting something, tap a trusted friend to read it for you and do a gut check.
9. The Editors at Harper’s Bazaar Like to be Pitched via Email (The Clearer and More Concise the Better)
It’s actually pretty simple and a relatively approachable pitch process. Carrie and the rest of the editorial team at Harper’s Bazaar likes to be pitched via email.
Details and a summary of best practices discussed right here:
Subject Line: Make it clear and concise (like “Tulum Disco Wedding for Your Consideration” NOT “real wedding submission”)
Photos: Carrie likes a Dropbox link or a Pixieset link that doesn’t expire. (She mentioned the “does not expire” tip a couple times so make it so!) She likes to have a good amount of images–”not all of your raw but like a few hundred to go through,” she says.
Body Copy: Get straight to the point and make it easy for her to scan the email. Include the names of the couple, where they got married and details about their fashion moments. Also if there’s something unique about their story that isn’t obvious from their photos, mention it. “If they had known each other since they were 7 or if something crazy happened and she changed her dress at the last-minute,” she explains. You could also include a list of the other vendors involved but that’s not a must-have because they’ll ask for that in the questionnaire.
10. Posting Images to Your Own Account or Blog Won’t Disqualify You From Being Featured in Harper’s Bazaar
Harper’s Bazaar isn’t going to feature a wedding that was published in another publication but it’s totally fine to post your work to your Instagram feed or website. “Just save some for me,” Carrie says. So long as you haven’t posted all of the photos from the wedding to your Instagram account, it’s more than okay to put your work out there.
Hope this was helpful friends. If you’re interested in watching the full 22-minute interview, head over to our Instagram @editorinchiefmedia to watch it.