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MORE THAN A BRIDE: When Anne Fulenwider, the new editor in chief of Brides, was interviewing people to redesign the magazine, she made one thing clear. “I said, ‘This is not going to be your traditional bridal magazine — we’re going to blow it up,’” she said. “I wanted to reinvent but also, I knew we needed to serve the reader.”
The cover, or covers — there are three — aim to deliver on the promise. The first one shows a woman in a modern Pronovias dress with what looks like confetti embroidery on top. Set against a simple white background with few cover lines, she’s holding long branches from a magnolia tree. “I want this to be about casual elegance, so the hair is a little undone, the look is not contrived, and she doesn’t look like everyone else,” said Fulenwider.
This story first appeared in the April 16, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The magazine is a bit bigger now, the same size as Glamour, Vanity Fair and Allure. It has a big new logo, in a font called Freight. Fulenwider considered 400 logos before deciding on this one. “We wanted to change it as much as we possibly could. We had this one customized for us,” she said. The May issue will also appear slightly heavier, with advertising up 2 percent over last year. Publisher Michelle Myers listed Jimmy Choo accessories and Garnier as new advertisers. The covers are sponsored by Maybelline.
Perhaps to the anxiety of some editors (and publishers) at 4 Times Square, the new Brides is leaning much more toward a women’s general interest title now. There are travel, beauty, fashion and a lot of service-related stories. Not all of the information has to be applied to a wedding — a strategy aimed at getting readers to keep buying it after they’re married. “When I was at Marie Claire, we would talk about how to get the guy,” she said. “Well, now you got the guy and we have this whole new space to write about firsts. How to throw that first dinner party, the first Thanksgiving. We’re going to address this first stage of their new life.”
Fulenwider’s readers are spending more time online, on Pinterest and blogs, so the print version reflects this, with inspiration boards and bloggers contributing to a few sections. “When I started, Pinterest was part of the conversation; now it’s huge, and we have this new visual language to be part of.”
The issue includes advice from Sophie Dahl, who suggests registering for chickens, and on the other end of the spectrum, there’s one page devoted to a 42-inch cake that took seven days to complete and is modeled after Princess Victoria’s tiered confection.
Fulenwider said readers can expect to see more changes in the coming months and the Web site will be redesigned.
As she finished her Greek salad, Fulenwider described the day Condé Nast called her about the job. At the time, she wasn’t told which magazine she would be interviewing for. When she found out it was Brides, she took a look at the magazine and knew it was ready for a change. “I’ve been this reader and I understand them and I knew change was achievable,” she said. “I thought, wow, this is the call. When you get that call, you take it.”