* Prices may differ from that shown
When my partner and I got engaged about a month ago, I did what every bride to be (or B2B as this magazine would call me!) does and went to the local supermarket to peruse the wedding magazine section. I was amazed at how much choice there was, and couldn't believe there were so many specialist magazines. As well as the general wedding ones, there were magazines focusing on wedding flowers, wedding hair and wedding venues
I flicked through a few and noticed very quickly that the general themes, articles and styles of these magazines are quite similar. They have the usual directory at the back and lots of adverts in between. One thing I noticed that did vary considerably, was the target audience, as one magazine had a special feature on accessories but the cheapest was about £500!
I picked up "Wedding Ideas" because I was drawn to its size (it fits in your handbag so you can flick through it on public transport without looking like Bridezilla!), and also it looked a little more down to earth than some of the others. It has lots of money saving ideas which is great for people like me who are on a tight budget, and there is a really nice section of real life weddings, where you pick up more ideas from real life brides that you might not have considered previously. There's a lot of information in this magazine as well, and considering the price is £2.99, it offers much better value for money than a lot of the other wedding magazines, which average at around £5 each and are bulked out with adverts.
The articles in it were really useful, including what to expect from your bridesmaid, 20 ways to personalise your day, and how to save a fortune by getting your family involved in the preparation. There were also lots of pictures to suit every colour scheme possible, ranging from bridesmaid dresses to wedding favours. I loved the section on hairstyles which was designed for you to be able to cut our your favourite and take it to your hairdresser.
After reading this magazine from start to finish, I had picked up lots of ideas about our theme, and had lots of ideas about how I wanted my hair and what my dress might look like. I also had a list of websites to check out, and some excellent money saving ideas. I was already looking forward to the next edition of this magazine, and made the decision I wouldn't buy any others but would save my cash and put it towards the wedding. Maybe after getting a couple more editions and I've started choosing things I won't need to buy this magazine for ideas anymore, but it still makes a really nice read for any bride-to-be.
* IGNORANCE IS BLISS... *
When I first got engaged, I bought a fair few wedding magazines, keen to enjoy the excitement and anticipation of being a BRIDE on our Big Day, even though at that stage I had no idea when that day might come to be.
In the months that followed my other half slipping a diamond ring on my wedding finger, I dipped in and out of online wedding forums and the like, whilst sticking my nose in the occasional bridal book and magazine, content in the knowledge that I could subconsciously gather information and store it until required, as I had two years to plan my big day and enjoy all of the preparations when the time came.
This 'leisurely pace' that I had come to adopt had to quicken somewhat - in fact, had to sprint - when my other half and myself decided we did not want to wait any longer to be Mr and Mrs, and decided to bring our wedding forward by just over a year. Thus, in March of this year, we decided to get married in October this year, instead of November 2011.
Whilst this was all very exciting and thrilling, I can't deny that there was a small seed of worry in the pit of my stomach, a seed that was already starting to bud and grow into a full-blown frenzy....
* THE MAGAZINE *
I first came across the "Wedding Ideas" magazine in a local supermarket while I was browsing through their selection, looking for something to read to pass the time. What immediately struck me about the Wedding Ideas magazine was of course the content of the mag; the catchy name of the glossy struck me as being exactly what I needed..... Some Wedding Ideas!!!
The second thing I noticed about this magazine is, in my opinion, one of its best features; the size of the magazine. Whilst most magazines measure somewhere in the region of 30cm in length, the Wedding Ideas mag comes in a good deal shorter, at around 21cm in length (and approx 15cm wide). This of course means that the producers of the mag have found a way to make it easy for a busy bride to carry their publication with her as she busies herself to-ing and fro-ing with wedding related activities and research. How have they achieved this? Simple. Make the magazine handbag-sized.
At a cost of £2.99 per issue, the cost of the magazine is significantly lower than many of its rivals.
* WHAT TO EXPECT/CONTENT *
The average issue of Wedding Ideas will contain lots of helpful information for us B2Bs (Brides to Be). Information such as "10 Steps to Fabulous Hair", which offers advice about brides having 'trial runs' with their salon before the Big Day, to ensure they are completely happy with their hairstyle when the time comes, as well as useful tips about deep conditioning treatments and the like.
There is a plethora of useful tips throughout the mag, actually, and not just concerning hair and beauty (otherwise I'd probably only have bought Wedding Ideas once). Helpful advice such as "10 top tips when choosing bridal shoes" and "10 top tips for weddings abroad" may be significant in planning your Big Day, and both of these appeared in a recent edition of the magazine.
There is plenty of readers' input found throughout the magazine too; A "Readers Letters" page can be found near the centre pages, as well as a "Real-life Weddings" feature which appears in every edition, to the best of my knowledge. I find this feature is one of the most interesting, as it appeals to my nosy parker nature to read about real life brides and grooms and see pictures from their big day. I also find it quite helpful in terms of the way the magazine has put these pages together. Firstly, we are introduced to a couple, "Sue and Paul" say. We get to see approx ten photographs of various parts of the couples' wedding day, such as a photograph of the couple themselves, a picture of their reception venue, a picture of the bride arriving in the wedding car, one of the cake and one of the bride's dress and accessories etc, you get the idea. Not only does it appeal to my nosy nature as I said, but I do find it quite useful to know what other brides did in terms of the organising and planning of their weddings, as well as little details like wedding cakes and bridesmaid dresses, and in particular how all of these details are co-ordinated to match each other.
There are many other little snippets of information throughout the magazine such as the odd competition where you can win things like a honeymoon in the Caribbean, as well as 'reader offers' like 20% off a haircut at selected salons.
Yes, there is no doubt that Wedding Ideas is a magazine that contains just that. Personally though, when it comes to my own experiences with using this magazine, I have found that the biggest help it has given me has been the 30 or so pages of reference sites and company names/websites that can be found towards the back of the magazine. Without these, (and before it occurred to me to use these for assistance) I was literally trawling the internet, 'Googling' this and 'ASKing' that, finding it necessary to cut down huge lists of companies and select which ones were (at times even remotely) related to what I was ACTUALLY searching for.
To use wedding invitations as an example, I was unsure what style of invitations I wanted to purchase. I tried googling certain words followed by the word 'wedding invitation' which wasn't always particularly successful. I also found that a lot of the content that my search was finding was nothing whatsoever to do with anything I was looking for. This of course resulted in a lot of wasted time and a lot of frustration (mixed in with a few swear words) from myself.
The back section of the Wedding Ideas magazine has remedied some of this for me as this part of the magazine has lots of little advertisements from shops and companies that specialise in bridal wear or wedding items. There are advertisements relating to all sorts of items such as favour ideas, wedding dresses, DIY wedding stationery, hen party ideas and photography, to name a few. Granted, lots of these companies are miles away from where I live and I wouldn't be inclined to use them, but to get an idea of what companies charge for different services, as well as seeing what services are on offer in the first place has proven to be useful. Lets face it, how many people would know how much an average wedding cake would cost unless you had ever had reason to purchase one? This is a prime example as I had allowed a budget of £600 in my overall wedding budget for the cake, having absolutely no idea what it would cost before I began organising my wedding of course, and thanks to this magazine and all of the reference contained within it, I now know that I can get a beautiful cake for at least £100 less than this!
* THE DOWN SIDE *
As with most magazines these days, Wedding Ideas is not without its pages and pages of advertisements nestled snugly between pages of helpful advice and interesting articles. The one major difference with this magazine of course, is that all of the advertisements are wedding-related, and in actual fact I would estimate that around 90% of the advertisements are to do with bridal wear, brides dresses and bridesmaid fashion. It is perhaps unfair of me then to mark this point as a negative, as many B2Bs reading the magazine WILL be interested in this dress designer and that wedding dress collection, and the fact that I have had my wedding dress for a while now means that such advertisements are of no interest to me personally is perhaps a bit irrelevant.
What I DO think is extremely relevant is that some of the wedding dress advertisements are at the more 'designer' end of the price/style range, and I find it hard to believe that your "average" bride (assuming there IS such a thing) would be able to afford a designer wedding dress in this sort of price range by the time all of her other wedding paraphernalia has been bought and paid for. I have to question then, whether a bridal mag that costs only £2.99 is the best place to advertise such designer gowns, assuming that the magazine's target audience is your "average" bride. To be fair, shops like "Berketex Bride" (which is a more 'mainstream' shop and can be found in towns up and down the country) also advertise in the magazine, and in this shop your average dress will (only) set you back around (a mere?!?) £1,000. Considering that the 'average' price of your more 'glossy' bridal magazines is around the £5 or £6 mark, I feel that some of the advertisements featured in the Wedding Ideas magazine would be better suited elsewhere. Point made.
Overall though, and putting this one small flaw to the side, I WOULD recommend the Wedding Ideas magazine to any Brides-to-Be out there who are embarking upon the truly mammoth yet enjoyable task of organising their wedding. You will find lots of ideas and tips are helpful and informative, and if not, the reference pages towards the end of the magazine are an absolute MUST if you are using the internet as a tool in your wedding planning. I do suggest giving the magazine a try out, and for £2.99, I really feel that it IS money well spent.
I got engaged in February 2009, and as many brides to be do, I went out on a spending spree for wedding magazines. I had spent an absolute fortune! Many of the more expensive magazines had ideas that were completely out of my budget. I had found my perfect dress quite early on in the engagement, and most of the content in more "high-end" magazines were mostly on wedding dresses - so were deemed pointless to me.
I picked up a copy of Wedding Ideas as a bit of a pot-luck purchase, but it was fantastic!! I had since subscribed to this for a year, and in each and every issue, I have found something that has helped me, even with only 4 months to go!
Each Issue has a section on "Real Weddings", from which you can get tips and ideas from other brides - and quite importantly, things they would have done differently.
There is also sections on Wedding dresses, Bridemaids, Planning ideas, Reception ideas, Honeymoon ideas and a Hen-night section.
All in all, this is a great, cheap buy. Even better if you subscribe to it and save even more money!!
I've been engaged for a year and every so often I get a case of bride to be giggles and excitement and buy a wedding magazine, or two, or three... What I have noticed is that the larger wedding magazines are not only expensive (£3.99 and up) but they are fairly useless. The few pages that aren't adverts seem to be geared towards the bride with the bigger budget. Then I found this little gem and it's the only wedding magazine I look at now, although I don't buy it every month... only get I get it when I feel all excited and bridey!
This magazine is small, A5 sized so it is easy to slip into a handbag to cart around with you. The first few pages are adverts, mainly for wedding dresses but i don't mind these too much as it's like a little extra wedding dress shopping. The magazine always starts with the Editor's Welcome and the Editor's Choice and the features are split into Fashion, Beauty, Planning, Details, Travel and Regulars.
The Fashion section has a news page with updates of dress sales, new shops, new designers, new collections etc. There are pages showing you how to get a certain 'look' with dress, jewellery, shoes and head-dress. There are spreads showcasing a particular designer, which is basically another advert! I wish that these 'articles' would show the magazine's own models showing off the dresses, not just the catalogue pictures from the designer as sometimes they don't show off the dresses to their best advantage. There are also other articles showing lots of wedding dresses in all styles to suit anyone. Then there are bridesmaid dresses, split into colour schemes and a Bridesmaids section with jewellery, gifts, pampering ideas etc. Lingerie and shoes get a look in too.
There are a few pages dedicated to Grooms with ideas for stag parties, speeches, outfit ideas and an 'Advice Clinic'.
The Beauty section is laid out like Fashion, there are tips for detoxing, whiter teeth, hair and make-up ideas. There are slimming tips featuring 'Real Life Success Stories' and there are pages of lovely beauty treats to buy.
The main section is Real Life Weddings. there are 10 featured in an issue. The coverage per wedding ranges from 10 pages to 2. There is a little question and answer section for each wedding, with lots of tips from the bride and groom to make your wedding go smoothly, or to save money or to be a little different. Each wedding featured has a note from the editor adding a tip to have a similar wedding.
The Planning section has lots of tips on saving money, keeping calm and having a great day. There are reader's letters and reader's offers. There is a 'Website Watch' which is basically an advert for the website and forum, with little excerpts taken from the forum. There are also dates for your diary, mainly of wedding fairs in the coming months.
There are venue ideas, ideas for photographers and entertainment. There are lots of theme ideas in the Details section, each page is a particular theme so you can get ideas of what you want and how things work together. There are loads of ideas for all the little 'bits' and big bits like wedding stationery, cakes and flowers.
The all-important Hen night is featured with lots of ideas and well placed adverts and the details section is finished off with gift list ideas.
Travel is right at the end, with lots of honeymoon ideas and the chance to win your honeymoon and real life honeymoons get a feature.
There is a shopping directory at the end which is made up of lots of little adverts that are sorted by category.
I like this magazine as it does have loads to do with weddings, from getting engaged to getting back from your honeymoon. It is a little frustrating having to rifle through pages of adverts so you can find some writing to actually read. The most annoying thing for me is the amount of 'POA's there are where there should be prices. Throughout the entire magazine, from wedding dresses to shoes and jewellery, there is 'POA' next to things that really should have a price, like a dress from Debenhams, there's really no excuse, it's pure laziness in my eyes! I'm on a budget, I don't want to fall in love with something when I don't know how much it is going to cost me!
At £2.99 this is one of the cheapest wedding magazines available and it's good for the money as it caters to the normal bride who doesn't have an unending budget!
After the congratulations have been given and the question of where and when asked. The next popular question people seem to ask is "what is you colour scheme". Hang on, I thought we were getting married not re decorating the lounge. Planning a wedding these days really does seem to be a task and a half.
In the wedding world, I'm a bit of a disappointment really. I don't long for a big princess dress or a horse and carriage (no offence intended to anybody that does). As clichéd and soppy as this may sound I just want to become the wife of my very own Prince Charming. Of course, if I can do this in a pretty dress then all the better. Because Prince Charming and I are on a tight budget (I think I'm called a budget bride) we've decided to try and do quite a few things ourselves. This includes making our invites, baking and decorating our cake, heck we'll probably end up arranging our flowers too. Whilst we are looking forward to doing these things and making them personal to us, it's also a bit daunting as we don't really have much of a clue when it comes to these kind of things.
So where do I turn to for inspiration? Well, as it's free I've mostly made do with looking on the net (if you have a few minutes and fancy looking at some pretty pictures check out www.projectwedding.com and www.etsy.com). In general, my opinion of wedding magazines isn't that great. There are lots available but they mostly seem to follow the same theme. Endless adverts of dresses, bridal boutiques and venues. For what they are I think the magazines are vastly over priced. I feel they also can often make people feel inadequate if they have less to spend. This coupled with the fact that there seems to be so much expectation placed on weddings these days. This isn't really fair as big budget or small budget you can still have the day of your dreams. After all, once the ice sculpture of swans has melted :) and the fireworks whooshed it's the marriage that remains.
So how can a bride on a budget fill her wedding scrapbook (apparently it's essential to have one). Step in Wedding Ideas Magazine, a more budget friendly wedding magazine. Which has been around for four years and is the UK's second highest selling wedding magazine. It also has a website by the same name (www.weddingideasmag.com) which is good to have a look at, as you can see and read quite a lot of similar stuff to what's in the magazine but for free. The website also has a forum, if that's your kind of thing, where you can ask advice or swap ideas with other brides/grooms to be. It can often get a bit too bridezilla on there for my liking though.
The magazine itself is a compact A5 size and is very girly looking (somebody's favourite colour is obviously bright pink as it seems to feature heavily). It's issued every 4 weeks (13 issues per year) and costs £2.99, which in comparison to big name bridal magazines like Brides and You and Your Wedding is almost half the price. Ok, as my fiancé has pointed out it would be a far lot cheaper to not buy the magazine in the first place. I am weak though and just can't seem to help myself even though I know I really shouldn't. I'm not the only one with this 'problem' if the listings of bundles of wedding magazines on eBay are anything to go by.
As to be expected, the cover always features a model wearing a bridal dress, having bridal type hair and make up and holding a bouquet. Handily, there is a small bit on the contents page, which lists how this look is put together, for example who did the flowers and who designed the dress.
As with any bridal magazine there are countless adverts which are predominantly for dresses. In the issue I am currently flicking through there are 9 pages of dress adverts before getting to the contents page. I think this is enough to test even the most fashion conscious of brides.
The magazine has an ok layout which follows the same format with each issue. There is quite a lot crammed into the different sections and it can all come across as too busy looking for my liking. I really find it's a case of sifting through the endless adverts to be able to see what's useful and what's not. There is not an awful lot to read as it mostly seems to be pictures to look at with the addition of small bits of text. This means it doesn't really take a long time to get through an issue, I find it's more of a 'flicking magazine' as opposed to making a good read.
The five main sections covered in the magazine are:
Fashion: includes items such as must try dresses, how to get the look where lots of items are put together to achieve a whole look, new styles of dresses for bridesmaids and bridal shoe ideas.
Beauty: this covers beauty news, how to get fit for your wedding with simple to do exercises, wedding hair which gives lots of ideas for different styles including short hair and long hair.
Planning: information on how to stretch your budget with tips for making your budget work harder, entertainment ideas, honeymoon ideas which include lots of romantic getaways.
Details: includes ideas for favours and tempting table treats for guests, up to the minute trends for invites, place cards, idea for themes from vintage to garden party, flowers and jewellery.
Regulars: several competitions and offers which include prizes of honeymoons and dresses, real life weddings, horoscopes, reader's letters which also includes lots of offers and discounts on bridal products and listings of nationwide retailers and classifieds.
The regular feature I enjoy the most is the 'real life weddings' it's around 38 pages of couples sharing aspects of their big day with you. This generally includes a bit about how they met, the proposal, the bride's outfit, the accessories, the groom, the bridesmaids, the flowers, the ceremony, the reception, the details, the entertainment, the first dance and the honeymoon. This feature is good as you can get a lot of ideas and tips.
There are some things I like about the magazine. For example, features like step by step instructions with pictures on how to make your own pearl hair comb. I also like that you don't have to have a huge budget to be able to afford some of the product suggestions. For example, in the jewellery feature items start at £5.00 and in the shoe feature items start at £25.00.
For me though, the plus points of this magazine are not enough to outweigh the negative points. Although I enjoyed the first issue I bought, having bought a couple more issues since I have found myself getting annoyed by the constant repetition that occurs with each issue. I would therefore not recommend it as a regular buy but would suggest it as a one off purchase for both small and big budget brides.
Wedding Ideas is a nationwide magazine and fairly widely available, it can be bought in supermarkets (I've seen it in Tesco and Morrisons) and Whsmith as well as some newsagents.
Thanks for reading.