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2012 October 12

From The Daily Brides: Brides' Top Talent

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Keija Minor Keija Minor
Giorgio Niro
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(NEW YORK) A month after being appointed editor-in-chief of Brides, Keija Minor, who joined the mag last fall as executive editor, couldn’t be more pleasantly surprised to find herself immersed in the realm of cakes, gowns, and stationery. The Daily Brides got Minor’s take on the wedding industry, plus some insights into how the 78-year-old glossy is poised to shift subtly under her helm! 

How did you end up in magazine publishing?
With an 85 percent pay cut! I practiced corporate law for four years at a New York firm—they were great people, but I knew I wanted to do something else. The transition was one to two years in the making; I looked for other things I could do with a law degree that wouldn’t require such a pay cut, but a friend said the only thing he’d really heard me be passionate about was publishing and magazines. I flooded the industry with my resume, and no one would hire me. I got a job at Travel Savvy after sending them my resume three ways. I started there as an intern, and worked my way up to editor-in-chief in about two and a half years. A job came up at Niche Media as managing editor at Los Angeles Confidential and Aspen Peak, then I was at Gotham for two years, followed by three years as editor-in-chief at Uptown. The executive editor opportunity at Brides came up last year.

Did you ever anticipate landing at a bridal mag?
I wanted to work at a women’s magazine, and it turns out that all of the elements that I wanted to be covering exist in bridal. It’s the reader’s big day, where she’s got one shot and she’s going to spend money. It’s a really interesting space to be in.

What’s changing at the magazine?
With a new frequency of six issues per year, the cover is going to be around on the newsstand for a lot longer, so I want it to really reflect what’s inside, and give the reader the sense of abundance, along with joy and excitement.

How else will the frequency factor affect the mag?
We want to get as many ideas into each issue as possible. We want a magazine our readers can enjoy for a full two months. If she can flip through an issue in 20 minutes, Brides isn’t serving her in the best possible way. The frequency change will also give our editors a bit more time to get good content up online. 

How does seasonality affect what you’re doing editorially?
The average engagement lasts 14.5 or 15 months, which means someone could be picking Brides up six months before her wedding. The magazine therefore needs to feel cohesive and serve the reader, because seasonality isn’t as much of an issue for us. Nine times out of 10, a great idea in the spring will be a great idea in the fall.

How does Brides handle celeb wedding coverage?
We don’t put celebrities on the cover. It’s not a hard and fast rule, but we typically look for brides who convey the happiness of the experience and allow our readers to put themselves in those brides’ shoes. It’s also about having an amazing experience without needing to, or being able to, have an entire team behind you—achievable elegance.

What’s happening beyond print?
Print will be the cornerstone of the brand, but we need to give them new information all the time. Our readers are planning their weddings online for 38 hours a week. Our online traffic, in general, is coming through mobile devices.

How has the voice evolved?
The voice today is quick and conversational, and I’d like to see even more of that. There should be moments in reading the magazine that make people laugh. One goal is to become every one of our readers’ best friend through this process.

How many of your readers aren’t actually brides-to-be?
A significant percentage of readers—33 percent—are on the verge of getting engaged. For anyone who dreams about this day, there’s a lot of content they’re going to enjoy, regardless of where they are in the process.

Do other members of the wedding party read Brides, too?
We have a very high pass-through rate, so yes. And then there are women who read Brides simply because they like the pretty pictures. It’s a celebratory magazine—cakes, flowers, dresses, women at their best time wanting to be their happiest selves—and the magazine can speak to anyone in that mindset. 

Do grooms intentionally read the mag?
No—in reality, it’s around five or eight percent of the total readership. They’re probably reading by default while trying to watch television and their fiancé is asking for their input on a china pattern or something.

How much cake is there in the Brides offices?
Not as much as I expected!

How have weddings as a whole shifted recently?
People are now planning the wedding they really want to have, not the one their parents want. The tradition used to be that the bride’s parents paid for the whole thing. Now, the couple often pays for a significant part of the wedding, and that’s given them the green light to create their own special day. You’re not inviting the neighborhood dentist anymore! So it’s a great time to be an editor, because it’s all about unique ideas and making the day your own.

Like what?
One recent couple was having an evening wedding that was going to go late into the night, so they themed the party as a masquerade ball. If the evening started at 6 p.m. and now it’s midnight, sometimes you need that little kick to keep the energy going.

How have wedding expenses changed?
The expense of a dress is up a little bit. But the big takeaway for me is how the couple has shifted to focus on guests having a good time. They want people to walk away from the wedding saying, ‘That was the best party I’ve ever gone to.’

Anything else that’s changed?
We’re seeing less bridezillas! Brides no longer seem to be the terrors that they sometimes get painted as. Every woman has a moment where something goes not according to plan, but I am seeing a lot of brides who are really generous and kind in their spirit.

What’s it like to be a yet-to-be-married EIC of a bridal magazine? Are you more objective about the process?
Most women have thought about their wedding at one time or another. I know that I have! I don’t know it if makes me more objective, though I know that’s a quality I strive for as an editor and the editors before me aimed to have as well. But I feel the excitement for our readers in a different way. Marriage might play into the editors’ excitement for our readers. I will say that when my [wedding] day comes, I’ll have a lot of ideas! 

Any advice for brides?
For anyone planning a destination wedding who thinks that means fewer people will come—it just does not work that way! They will come, so plan accordingly. When my friend got married in Jamaica, she booked for 150 people, but 225 showed up. And it was fantastic!

Beyond destination weddings, any words of wisdom?
Wear a dress you feel comfortable in that truly reflects your personal style. This isn’t the day to be the edgy, downtown, avant-garde girl if that isn’t your look! Don’t lose yourself in the process.

Do you play favorites with any elements of the wedding process?

I get really into how people can decorate and create their own environment at the reception. Flowers plays into that, too. I love a good flower story. And I love the invites—I’m a sucker for good, creative stationery!

Any other tips for a successful wedding day?
Don’t run out of food or alcohol, and everything else will be fine.

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