Time and time again, we’re asked the same question… “What does it take to be published on Style Me Pretty?” As most of you may have guessed, the answer isn’t quite as simple as one would imagine. With over 500 submissions per week from vendors and couples alike, hoping to see their work or wedding grace the pages of SMP, our editorial team carefully selects a mere 2-3% for publication on the Front Page.
We feel so incredibly fortunate for every single submission that comes through our doors, we know just how much time and effort is spent perfecting them. As we walk you through a detailed list of tips and tricks to aid in your submission process, please remember – we never want you to feel discouraged if your submission is not accepted for publication on SMP, due to the sheer volume of submissions we receive, we are unfortunately put in the position of denying many beautiful events we dearly love. It has absolutely nothing to do with how talented you are, or how special the event truly was – sometimes, it’s just a matter of a full calendar!
“Style Me Pretty most definitely has a look. A feel. Pretty. Fresh. Clean. Classic…with a twist. Pretty weddings are everywhere but those that we carefully choose to publish on site, have something extra. A sparkle. A hint of wow without being over the top. Rooted in the classic but with a fresh, modern approach.” – Abby Larson, Founder of Style Me Pretty
Now, let’s talk specifics! Want to make your wedding stand out in the crowd? Always follow these tips…
1. Make sure your submission is complete!
It’s so important when reviewing that we have all the necessary information before making a decision on a submission. When we say “complete”, we’re talking… a full gallery of images (more on this in tip #2), a detailed description of the day (see tip #3), and a full list of vendor credits – the more hyperlinks the better! One of the most common challenges we face when it comes to submissions is, undoubtedly, vendor credits. More often than not, we receive an urgent request to add/edit a vendor’s name to an already published editorial. Although we’re a tiny team over here at SMP, we always do our best to make sure every request is taken care of – but it would be SO helpful if you could please triple check the list of vendor credits before submitting to make sure they’re correct, and all there!
2. Upload a full gallery of images
Ahh the images – also known as “the fun part”, but admittedly more complicated than you’d think! When we say we’re looking for a full gallery of images in order to review and curate the submission properly, we’re not simply asking for you to hit a certain number of images (80-120 is ideal), it’s even more than that. Although we publish far more images than a magazine spread, we also carefully curate the types of images that we put up. Every image included should be able to stand alone or work as a collection. Consistency in color, tone, style and execution are incredibly important. We need images that show the bride, her fashions, the maids, the groom, the flowers, centerpieces, decor elements, favors, invitations, etc. It’s super easy to forget about flat lays – but they provide the perfect amount of breathing room in every gallery, a crucial component to our curation process!
Although they can be loads of fun, we don’t want to see too many images of the guests dancing or smoking cigars, no matter how beautiful they are. Those types of images really don’t resonate well with our readers. Additionally, detail shots are very important in considering the wedding for publication, though details should be in healthy balance with the wedding story – the getting ready, the personalized touches, the moments. We do use black and white photography peppered in so feel free to include a very select group of black and white imagery as well. Lastly, the majority of your gallery should be vertical imagery, with about 10% horizontal!
All of these elements combined allow our unique editorial curation process to prosper. Through our careful board curation process, our editors are able to tell a story of how the wedding day unfolds – from getting ready moments to the last dance, balancing the near and far, in an artistic manner that truly let’s the little details shine.
3. Give us the details, make your description count!
A huge part of the feature relies on the story of the day! Ideally, we like to have the write-up come from the couple, but that’s not an absolute – words from the planner, designer or photographer are just as good! We’re looking for 3-5 paragraphs tops that might include…
*a proposal story
*the overall ‘inspiration’ for their wedding design/decor
*some unique or special wedding details
*any traditional elements
*any DIY touches
*their favorite moments of the day
*advice for future brides/grooms
The more info we have, and the more unique attributes, the better. Remember that at it’s core, SMP is a social engine pro – and the elements that go viral on social for your business are the things that you might not have thought of or that aren’t obvious from the images. Whether the bride is a planner herself, whether some awesome new product/brand was used, whether there was a special appearance from the couple’s favorite artist or their four legged friend was their ring bearer – dig deep and find the coolness!
4. Keep SMP’s aesthetic and preferred photography style in mind
This shouldn’t come as a surprise – but SMP has a very particular brand aesthetic. We love those gorgeous, film-focused, airy, editorial-driven photographs.
We gravitate towards images that are clean, simple and that haven’t been too fussed with. We do our best to steer clear of images that are too busy or have too much going on in them. Although we completely understand and love that there are many different types of photography styles, we’re inclined to fall more in love with photographs that are shot in a magazine style approach. Where the details are set against a simple, clean backdrop and have been thoughtfully styled. We see far too many bouquets set against brick and ivy, far too many invitations that are washed out and feel messy. You are your own best stylist, so get in there and take a bit of control with the wedding story!
5. Use real couples in your styled shoots
We tend to care more about the execution of the design than whether or not the shoot has perfect models. In fact, we’d rather see real emotion from real men and women in shoots, a variety of skin tones, sizes and sexual orientations.
6. Include a link to the wedding video, if you have one!
If you have access to the video, it will always make the wedding much stronger online. We like videos that are under 3 minutes, ideally in the 2 minute time frame. Please be sure that your video is in either Youtube or Vimeo format and the sharing settings are set public.
7. Don’t forget to include the location!
Include a city + state in the title of your submission. This allows us to ensure that we are covering all areas of the US and beyond. We are often lacking content from certain areas and if you reach out, we’ll be happy to share our needs list.
8. Think unique!
This goes without saying, but we are desperate (singing from the rooftops desperate) for weddings that showcase designs and trends that have never been done before. We’re craving indoor weddings done right, new approaches to old styles (for example, a modern approach to a barn venue), an epic escort card display, or a fashion trend that will have the next generation of brides buzzing. We see so many weddings every day that certain styles begin to feel a bit overdone. So, if there is a unique angle, it will definitely catch our attention.
9. Keep diversity in mind
As many of you may know, last summer we compiled a list of 6 promises to champion a true change against racism and inequality in the wedding industry. One of the promises we made to our readers was to increase our representation of the BIPOC community on Style Me Pretty. Our overarching goal with this promise is to ensure that every person, no matter the color of their skin, their culture, their sexual orientation, gender identity or their religion, feels comfortable, at home and inspired when they read Style Me Pretty. We want to ensure that our readers regularly see themselves in the content of our site and on our social channels, and so realize the need for our content to be more representative of the different ethnicities that make up the population around us. Since then, we have made strides in our efforts – but we continue to encourage you all to please submit weddings and styled shoots that feature BIPOC couples for consideration to SMP. In the same light, we are always looking for same sex weddings to publish as well.
It’s important to remind you here that every wedding is judged on a case-by-case basis. So, if you feel the wedding may be lacking in other areas but makes up for it in others, for example, it has an element of diversity or a very touching story – then we will absolutely do our very best to make it work!
10. Remember to be kind
Although there is by no means a “nice” rule here at SMP, we always remember the ones that are! There of course have been so many instances where a vendor may have been particularly rude after their submission was declined, or after it has taken us a while to get back to them with an answer. Sometimes it can be so easy to forget that we’re all human, and although we might be mighty, we’re a tiny team of people just trying to do the best we can everyday – just like you! We really appreciate and remember the vendors that show us grace and kindness throughout and after the submission process. This does not mean that you should feel uncomfortable asking for feedback on a declined submission – we are always more than happy to talk to our LBB members about how they might be able to improve, or fill them in on exactly why their submission was passed on at that time.
We so hope this gives you all a better understanding and grasp on the ins and outs of our submissions process here at SMP! As always, we are so incredibly grateful for your continued love and support – sometimes we truly wish we could give a big hug to each and every one of you. Should you have any questions or concerns, you know where to find us!
The SMP Team