This week I’m honoured to be speaking to Miranda Eason, editor at You & Your Wedding. Despite being a wedding blogger, I’m still (and probably always will be!) a huge fan of magazines and so it was really exciting for me that Miranda was able to fit our chat into her extremely busy schedule! If you’ve been wanting to get into writing or working for a magazine, or thinking about getting your wedding business featured in a wedding magazine then read on…
Photography Credit: Polly Alexandre Photography
Hi Miranda! Can you tell us who you are and what you do and a little bit about your journey from starting your career to becoming the editor of one of the biggest wedding magazines in the UK?
Hello! I’m Miranda Eason, and I head up the talented team that puts together You & Your Wedding, in print and online.
I was a total magazine junkie growing up, and it was kind of obvious to everyone who knew me that this was the area I would eventually work in. I did a degree in Media Studies and during my three years at university I did three stints of work experience: a month each at more!, Cosmopolitan and 19 magazines. I got on well with one of the other students doing work experience at more!, and when she got a job as a writer at a new launch she recommended me for the editorial assistant job.
I spent my early career working my way up the ranks on a variety of teen magazines, including Top of the Pops and CosmoGIRL! When the opportunity came up to do the maternity cover for the editor at Cosmopolitan Bride I went for it. A year after that the job came up for real. I basically didn’t sleep for a week to get the project work done for the interview. Luckily it paid off and I got the job. I had the support of a great publisher, who encouraged me to turn Cosmopolitan Bride into a magazine for brides who wanted to do things a little differently.
In January 2010 the decision was made to join the Cosmopolitan Bride and You & Your Wedding teams together, so my responsibilities grew to include the You & Your Wedding brand too. Sadly last year Cosmopolitan Bride closed, but the You & Your Wedding brand is going from strength to strength and we have exciting plans for the rest of the year.
If you could go back in time would you change anything you did on your career path?
No, I try not to look back and regret things I’ve done or decisions I made, but learn from them and move on.
What does your average day look like?
If I’m in the office, my day will be taken up with reading copy, approving layouts and meeting with the team or the publisher to plan future features, fashion stories and big projects. I spend a lot of time out of the office, meeting designers and suppliers and attending bridal shows and launches to see what’s new in the world of bridal and beyond. The balance suits my personality, I think.
What’s your favourite part of the job?
It’s impossible to pick just one. I love working with the passionate and talented You & Your Wedding team. It’s always exciting to see the results of a shoot that’s been months in the planning (fashion director Sally knows I’m always impatient to see the results of her shoots and emails me a contact sheet at the end of a day’s shoot, wherever she is in the world!)
My heart still skips a beat when I see an awesome real wedding and, as someone who always likes to have her next trip planned, I love all the travelling I get to do as part of my job, to the bridal shows in New York and Barcelona, and occasionally on shoots or press trips. Last year I was lucky enough to escape the British winter for a short trip to Mauritius. We stayed in a gorgeous hotel, ate delicious food and I went zip-lining for the first time (terrifying but so exhilarating). Definitely one of those, “I get paid to do this?!” moments.
What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve ever been given?
My dad always said, decide what it is you love doing and find someone who’ll pay you to do it.
…and the worst?
It’s difficult to think of bad advice because I’ve probably realised it wasn’t good advice and ignored it.
How have you seen the industry change over the past few years and since you started at Cosmopolitan Bride/You & Your Wedding? Have all these changes been positive?
I think that people’s perception of weddings has really changed. When I first started working in bridal magazines a lot of weddings looked the same, were in similar venues and were very traditional. Now anything goes, from a DIY do in a church hall, to a pub takeover, or a chic hotel party. I think that’s very positive and it keeps our jobs interesting!
What inspires you as an editor and as a person?
Magazines, art and photography exhibitions, film, travel, blogs and being around talented people, all inspire me. The magazines I most look forward to reading are UK Harper’s Bazaar, US Marie Claire, US Elle, Russh magazine and Lula – I adore the ethereal world that Leith Clark has created. I loved Tracey Emin’s exhibition, Love Is What You Want, at the Hayward Gallery last year and Tim Walker’s exhibition at The Design Museum back in 2008 was amazing – it was fantastic to be able to peek into the notebooks where he plans every shot of his fashion stories. When it comes to film, I’m a huge fan of Sofia Coppola’s aesthetic. I’m never happier than when I’m travelling and the brain-break means I come back to the office full of ideas. Next on my (ever-growing) list of places I want to visit is Costa Rica – I want to learn to learn to surf there! And I regularly check a rotating list of wedding, fashion and interiors blogs.
What advice would you offer someone who wanted to get into publishing – either writing freelance for magazines or working for one on a fulltime basis?
If you want to write, then write. Start a blog to showcase your passions, find your voice and hone your writing style. Work experience has had a bad rap recently, but it is a good way to find out if you actually do want to work on a magazine and to make those all important contacts. When you’re doing work experience be sure to make the most of every opportunity that comes your way and do everything you’re asked to the absolute best of your ability and with a smile. It will be noticed. If you’re pitching feature ideas to a magazine, make sure they’re well thought out, original and fit the magazine’s style. In the pitch write a proposed headline, sell and coverline and really flesh out the idea, suggesting how you would break up the feature, experts you would approach for quotes and so on. And make sure you’re pitching to the right person on the team.
Do you have any advice for photographers, wedding suppliers or brides who want to see their weddings in print and what things are you specifically looking for with a real wedding submission?
I always say that I like to feature weddings I wish I’d been invited to! When it comes to the photographs I’m looking for a balance of great couple shots that capture the personality of the couple and the spirit of the day – I’m a sucker for a real lost-in-the-moment image as opposed to a posed shot – and beautifully captured details that readers can be inspired by whatever their budget. In terms of the style of the wedding, I’m looking for a well-executed theme, with lots of original, inspiring ideas. It’s also about getting a balance of different types of weddings in an issue, a city wedding, a country wedding, a destination wedding, a backyard wedding and so on.
When submitting a wedding, send a link to the full gallery, plus the key suppliers of the day (venue, the brands of the bride’s, groom’s and maids outfits, plus florist, cake maker and so on). Photographers and brides can email Stephanie.firstname.lastname@example.org
I guess it’s easiest for photographers to get featured (same as on blogs) as we all like to feature gorgeous real weddings. How might another kind of wedding supplier go about trying to get featured? How do you select which suppliers to use for your editorial photo shoots for example?
Again it’s about finding out who the right person is to get in touch with. If you’re an accessories designer, get in touch with the fashion team. Our art team put together our receptions pages so they’re the ones to contact if you’re a florist, cake maker, stationer or so on. We’re always looking for great new suppliers to tell our readers about and to include in shoots, so if we’ve seen your work and we like it, we’ll think of you when we put together a page that fits your style. It’s worth investing in great promotional images and a strong website because it’s our first impression of your products.
How do you see the future of wedding magazines? Are you worried at all with the emergence and popularity of wedding blogs, or instead do you see new and interesting ways for us to all work together?
I think there will be a place for wedding magazines (and magazines generally) for the foreseeable future, but the way we consume magazines is changing. I’ve started buying more and more magazines on my iPad (particularly American magazines, because I can get them sooner and cheaper than I could buy them on newsstand, plus I love the interactivity of the best iPad magazines). You & Your Wedding is going to be available on the Apple Newsstand from the July/August issue and of course we have our own website, youandyourwedding.co.uk.
I’m a blog addict myself, but I think we can co-exist. Not everyone has time to spend hours online researching ideas for their wedding, so some brides prefer the edited choice that a magazine gives them. I think it’s interesting that lots of online brands are moving into print. Style.com, Net-A-Porter, asos, and Rock n Roll Bride, of course, have all produced printed brand extensions, which shows there is still an appetite for the medium.
All Photography Credit (except where stated): Chiara Romagnoli for You & Your Wedding