Dobrina Zhekova is a freelance writing/editor who covers all things weddings for InStyle.com. Originally from Bulgaria, Dobrina moved to New York City seven years ago to get a masters in journalism, and then started working at ELLE.com as a digital producer. After two years, she got exposed to the bridal world during a stint at Brides.com, but then moved to Washington DC where she currently covers weddings, travel, and style for several lifestyle publications, including InStyle.com where she pens weekly stories for its Weddings sections.
How did you become a wedding journalist?
I consider myself more of a lifestyle journalist. I certainly write about weddings a lot, mainly for InStyle.com, but I also do a lot of fashion market stories, travel, style, and even home décor. I started about a year ago, when I helped launch the Weddings section on InStyle.com. At the time I covered a lot of pop culture and beauty for them. I’ve just been so lucky to be able to continue to contribute to the site daily.
What do you like about covering the wedding industry?
I love the fact that it’s changing. It’s no longer bound by traditions and etiquette rules. Couples are looking for alternative ways to celebrate their love and it’s so exciting to be a part of this process by writing about it. Brides no longer have to wear white down the aisle, you can have donuts instead of a heavily adorned multi-layered cake, you can hire a food truck, get married in a gallery a week after you’ve gotten engaged (check out pop-up weddings). Some of these things were unthinkable a decade or two ago. Now, it’s all about having fun. And I firmly believe weddings should be about fun and celebrating love, and not stressing out about the right shade of cocktail napkins.
Amen to that! What has been your favorite recent story?
Last year, I wrote about travel blogger Sonja Lishchynski’s engagement in Prague and it was the most amazing story ever. First of all, she waited for 18 months for a retired Hungarian jeweler to hand craft the ring that she proposed with. How cool is that?! She got engaged in Prague so you can imagine what their photos looked like—it’s just magical, and she was one of the most positive and funny people I’ve ever spoken to.
How do you usually find sources for your stories?
I do a lot of research—Instagram for photographers, venues, food, and anything visual you could think of. I also look at previous press coverage if there’s any but the main thing is the person or vendor’s website and social media so I can get an idea of their work and aesthetic. Of course, I also have good PR contacts so I reach out to them whenever I need a source for a story.
What’s the best way for a wedding pro to get your attention?
A polite email would be nice 🙂 That way you can (briefly) tell me about your business and what makes you different from everyone else. Also, include at least 3 photos so I can get an idea of what your work looks like (if relevant).
What one piece of advice would you give to wedding professionals looking to get featured?
Tell me what makes your work unique. It’s so refreshing when you see something different out there. Not every single wedding has to be Instagram-perfect. Be different. We’re always looking for that special element, and it really could be just a small detail that makes a wedding, a cake, a dress unique.
You can follow and connect with Dobrina on Twitter and Instagram @dobrinazhekova.