Meet Jennifer Stein, Editor in Chief of Destination I Do

January 17, 2017
Meet Jennifer Stein, Destination I Do

Jennifer Stein, who is the Editor in Chief of the popular destination wedding magazine Destination I Do, has long been a colleague of mine. Though we’ve never met in person – she lives in Arizona – for years we have discussed story ideas, projects and different clients that I wanted her to know about. When a couple of months ago, the other prominent destination wedding title Destination Weddings & Honeymoons folded, I reached out to Jennifer to ask her what she thought and how this news will affect her magazine and the wedding industry as a whole. I also wanted to know more about her and she happily agreed to share her thoughts. I hope you enjoy learning from this Q&A as much as I did.

Jennifer Stein, Destination Media

Name: Jennifer Stein

Current job: Editor in Chief / Owner / Publisher of Destination I Do Magazine

Website: www.destinationido.com

Follow her on: @destinationido and https://www.facebook.com/jennifersteindido

Bio: Jennifer Stein is the co-founder of Destination Media, LLC which was established in 2004 and publishes the international title, Destination I Do Magazine. Jennifer has over 17 years of business and publishing experience and was recognized as one of the “Top 35 Entrepreneurs Under 35” by Arizona Republic. As Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, Jennifer has helped drive revenue growth by 135% since 2010 and has elevated the brand by collaborating with some of the best in the wedding and travel industries.

 

How did you become the publisher of Destination I Do?

The subject of travel was always on my radar, but not necessarily weddings. In college, I was an assistant wedding planner at a local golf course and while there, I realized my desire for something different from the “sea of sameness” I worked with weekend after weekend. I decided when it was my turn to tie the knot, I would do something unique and away from home. Fast-forward to post-college when I was working at a smaller publishing company where I gleaned hands-on experience in the business. After 4 years, I left my corporate job and started Destination I Do. The publishing company was perfect preparation for starting my business and the magazine proved to be perfect preparation for my own destination wedding in 2005.

What has been your favorite project to work on at Destination I Do?

I think my absolute favorite was our “Mad about Malachite” photo shoot in Costa Rica. It was one part FAM trip (Editor’s note: a trip designed to familiarize event vendors with a venue) and one part photo shoot. We started the concept months in advance and watching the final design come together with talented vendors I respect and adore was a total thrill. Everyone worked their tails off to come up with something stellar and the end product was something we all were extremely proud of. It made me truly appreciate what goes in to creating the perfect day for a couple. It was a joy to showcase it in print and on our website. You can see a video of it here:

How do you typically find vendors for the magazine?

It’s a combination of us discovering something or someone through research or networking at events (my favorite event for networking is Engage! as we’ve found many sources there), having PR people or companies submit to us directly, or through our travels. Our team travels to every place you see in the pages of Destination I Do. There isn’t a place we feature we haven’t been. That’s in part to make sure it’s as great as the website or PR person makes it look and also to ensure it’s a good fit for a honeymooning couple or a destination wedding group. We also vet all the products we feature in the magazine and on our blog to make sure those are worth our readers’ investment as well.

So what would be the best way for a wedding vendor to get your attention?

By knowing our product, learning our submission guidelines and being relevant. We are inundated by pitches that aren’t really a fit for our brand or audience. It’s a waste of the vendor’s time and ours. One easy mismatch to avoid is submitting a wedding that’s not actually a destination wedding. The couple needs to travel at least 2 hours from home for us to consider it. If the vendors take the time to scroll through our site and get to know who does what at our company and what our magazine is all about, they will quickly know if it’s a match. It’s like dating…no reason to continue going out with someone who isn’t a good match.

What one piece of advice would you give to wedding professionals looking to get featured?

This might sound obvious, but by being straightforward, honest and courteous. I cannot tell you how many times we work with someone for the first time and find out that the same wedding the planner or photographer told us was not being used elsewhere shows up in our social media feed because it’s being featured on a well-known blog after we’ve already put it into layout or (and yes this has actually happened) on our cover. We only publish 14 weddings a year in print, so we look for events that will speak to our readers and make it worth their while to read the magazine. If we included images they could see by opening their Pinterest feed, we’re not giving them anything unique and therefore we’re watering down the industry.

We’re lucky to have a great relationship with the majority of the vendors we work with. We wouldn’t be able to create our magazine without the submissions that are sent to us. For this we are abundantly grateful and humbled.

Destination I Do shoot with Brian Worley

Destination I Do shoot with Beautiful Day Photography, YourBash!, Tropical Occasions

What does the recent closure of Destination Weddings & Honeymoons mean for the future of Destination I Do?

Competition is a good thing. It helps everyone stay sharp. It pushes us to be better and to look forward to what we can achieve with our brand and how to set ourselves apart. With that being said, because I see other titles besides DWH as competition, it really won’t change our trajectory. We are going strong and have found our place in this growing industry. We feel extremely fortunate to have weathered bad economies, increasing prices and an ever-changing media industry.

Does DWH closing mean that print is dead or that the destination wedding industry bubble has burst? No and no. I can’t speak to why DWH shut down, but I can speak to the health of the destination wedding industry and print media. Destination weddings are thriving: 49% of couples are doing a wedding 2+ hours from home.

With print, it seems to depend on where you look. Newspapers and certain print magazines are indeed suffering, but bridal seems to be holding strong. It could be that purchasing wedding magazines is a right of passage when one gets engaged. Our readers long to see pages of beautiful gowns and gorgeous locations and get inspired by real couples who had their own destination weddings. They are reaching for our print product and using it to plan their weddings. That’s good news for us! However, I won’t make it sound like it’s been an easy journey all the way. The 12 years we’ve been in business have been a wild ride and we’ve seen our share of ups and downs. The good news is, we’re on an upswing!

Winter 2017 Destination I Do cover

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Giveaway for Martha Stewart’s Wedding Party in New York

January 9, 2017

*Giveaway below*

If you’ve never been to Martha Stewart’s Wedding Party in New York, now is the time to check it out! I rarely go to wedding shows for newly engaged brides, but this one is truly my favorite and is a great event not just for couples, but for vendors in the industry.

Produced by Claudia Hanlin, of The Wedding Library fame, Martha Stewart Wedding Party, which is happening at Gotham Hall on Jan. 29, showcases over 100 of the finest wedding vendors. The vendors are carefully selected to be of a certain Martha-approved caliber, so if you’re a wedding blogger or a vendor looking to make connections, this show is a smart way to meet some industry influencers.

Every time I’ve attended, I connected some high-caliber wedding vendors from around the country that I hadn’t met before. For what to expect, check out this post on the event from a couple of years ago.

The event always starts out with a panel and it’s definitely something you shouldn’t miss. This year’s panel features MSW’s editor Darcy Miller and several top New York designers:

-Bryan Rafanelli of Rafanelli Events

Ron Ben-Israel, celebrity chef and trendsetting cake designer (plus a hilarious speaker)

-Lewis Miller of Lewis Miller Design

Putnam & Putnam who do great floral design

-Matthew Robbins of Matthew Robbins Design

Martha Stewart's Wedding Party 2017

Where: Gotham Hall, 1356 Broadway (at 36th Street), New York, NY

When: Sunday, January 29, 2017, 10:00AM – 4:00PM

Register: http://weddingpartynewyork.com/

Are you itching to network or want to check out if this show would be worthwhile to exhibit your brand? Here is your chance to get in for free:

GIVEAWAY x 2 Tix!

I’m giving away 2 general admissions tickets to MSW Party 2017 (each one $75 value) to the first two people to comment about their favorite event industry blog (besides this one, of course). Thank you and good luck!

Here are a couple of photos from a previous MSW Party I attended:

Gotham Hall for Martha Stewart's Wedding Party

Gotham Hall for Martha Stewart’s Wedding Party. A bit fuzzy, but you get the picture: Full House

Wedding bloggers at Martha Stewart's Wedding Party in New York

Wedding bloggers at Martha Stewart’s Wedding Party in New York

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I DO PR welcomes Yonder Design

December 1, 2016

When I first came across stationery masters at Yonder Design at an industry event in San Francisco, I was blown away. Like seriously blown away, which having been in this industry for quite a few years now, doesn’t happen often. But it did with Yonder.

This high-end stationary design house is run by a mega-talented husband-and-wife team Julie & Chris Neubauer who have an eye for design and a passion for traveling, so when they create stationery suites for weddings and other special events, they always keep in mind the natural setting, architecture of the venue, and the personal stories of the couple and event hosts. And to bring all that into an invitation or dinner menu, they like to use unexpected materials like marble, mother of pearl, live botanicals, leathers and rare woods from around the globe.

But enough with the raving. You’re going to see for yourself what makes Yonder Design so unique.

They make Save-the-Dates like this:

Modern Moss by Yonder Design

Invitations like this modern painting created for a wedding at Foreign Cinema in San Francisco:

Modern Painting invitation by Yonder Design

And whole wedding suites like these:

Persimmon suite by Yonder Design

photo by Sylvie Gil

Big Sur by Yonder Design

Pretty neat, right? I’m very excited to work with Yonder Design. If you’re craving more of their stuff, check out Yonder’s Instagram page.

 

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Meet the Press: Jessica Bishop is The Budget Savvy Bride

November 14, 2016
Jessica Bishop

Meet Jessica Bishop, the Editor and Owner of TheBudgetSavvyBride.com. Jessica founded TheBudgetSavvyBride.com while planning her own wedding in 2008 and it has since become the #1 resource for couples planning a wedding on a budget.

I’ve worked with Jessica for several years and know that she is a multi-passionate creative with a focus on and love for the wedding industry. She has worked in just about every field having in the industry from assisting cake bakers, wedding planners, and photographers to designing wedding invitations and, of course, as a bride herself. In addition to running BSB, Jessica also serves as the resident Weddings Expert for About.com and as the Director of Design and Branding for Aisle Society.

Jessica Bishop The Budget Savvy Bride

©AlexisJuneWeddings

Jessica, what do you like about writing about weddings?

There are such a wide variety of topics that I can write about in relation to weddings! From travel for honeymoons, to wedding day beauty and fashion, to home décor and registry, it never gets boring. My readership is a constant revolving door, which helps keep me on my toes. It would be easy to repeat the same content every year because the average life cycle of a couple planning their wedding is around 12 months, but I like the challenge of finding new trends, technology and ways to spin the subject matter year after year.

What is your favorite part about The Budget Savvy Bride?

One thing that sets The Budget Savvy Bride apart from many other wedding blogs is the fact that our real wedding couples share a breakdown of their wedding expenses. When a bride visits our site, she can browse weddings based on the budget to see how other couples before her allocated their funds, which is incredibly helpful especially for those couples who are working with a tiny budget. I think this is really my favorite aspect of the website and it’s definitely one of our more popular features.

How do you typically find sources for your stories and features?

I love sharing resources that make my couples’ lives simpler and save them money or time, so I’m always on the lookout for the newest offerings in the market. I love how much technology is playing a part in weddings and I tend to cover quite a bit of that especially in my articles for About.com. I tend to get lots of email pitches for different things related (and sometimes not-so-related) to weddings, so if I see a pitch that sparks an idea for an upcoming article I flag it to reference later. Occasionally if I’m in need of a specific source, I’ll go to Twitter or ask my networks for recommendations. It’s really a mix!

Budget Savvy Bride logo

Many people are intimidated by bloggers. What do you recommend as the best way to get your attention?

A personal greeting and a tailored pitch is the best way to get my attention. I can’t tell you how many emails I get that are incredibly generic and miss the mark in terms of relevance. I get secondhand embarrassment for the folks who send me an email promoting a super luxury product or service provider that is obviously not a fit for my audience. Especially if they follow up multiple times… yikes!

Yikes indeed. So what’s one piece of advice you could give to wedding professionals looking to get featured?

Do good work, be a good person, and add value to your connections. Don’t always be looking for what you can get out of a networking relationship, but also ask how you can give. And, of course, be intentional about the publications you’re pitching to. A few well-tailored pitches will go much farther than thousands of general emails to every wedding-related publication without taking fit into account.

Jessica Bishop speaker

Want to connect with Jessica? You can find her on TheBudgetSavvyBride.com and on www.twitter.com/savvybride.

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Destination Planning Course from World’s Top Planner

October 21, 2016
Lindsay Landman destination wedding class photo by Allan Zepeda

Lindsay Landman is one of the top wedding planners in the world, according to Vogue. She also happens to be a good friend of mine. So it is with great pleasure that I want to share that Lindsay will be teaching a course on Destination Wedding Planning at the Event Leadership Institute starting this December.

Her 15-year-old firm Lindsay Landman Events produces high-caliber, innovative events across the globe. She has become a go-to media source, featured everywhere from New York Magazine to Martha Stewart Weddings to the Style Network. You can find her tips on how to get publicity in the wedding industry in my interview with her here.

Lindsay Landman

 

If you’re thinking of doing destination wedding planning, I highly recommend checking out her course! You will learn best practices for destination wedding planning including:

  • Managing intense logistics
  • Tips for sourcing and vetting vendors
  • Communicating with your long-distance team
  • Creative ways to incorporate local culture
  • Navigating legalities and infrastructure challenges
  • Perfect time management
  • And much, much more!

Lindsay will also share videos from the most popular wedding destinations: Mexico, Italy and Hawaii.

Planning by Lindsay Landman Events. Photo by Allan Zepeda

Planning by Lindsay Landman Events. Photo by Allan Zepeda

Lindsay’s course is a great investment in your business. Not to mention that education is a great end of the year tax write-off. In fact, I think it’s the best Christmas present you could get for yourself!

Here are the details you need:

What: Destination Wedding Planning with Lindsay Landman

Where: online at Events Leadership Institute

When: 5-week course starts Dec. 6, 2016

Cost: $595 (by Nov. 15)

Register: http://www.eventleadershipinstitute.com/pdc-details-destination-wedding-planning.aspx

Happy learning!

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