Welcome to Meet the Press! Every month on this new segment, you will get to meet a prominent editor from one of the top wedding magazines and blogs. Too often editors are hidden behind closed doors and email addresses and seem unapproachable. I’m here to help change that. Because the truth is, these are some of the hardest working women and men out there and they would love for you to get to know who they are and what they do.
To start off the series, please meet my good friend Erika Hueneke, Editor in Chief of Destination Weddings & Honeymoons.
Name: Erika Hueneke
Title: Editor in Chief, Destination Weddings & Honeymoons
Follow her on Twitter: @erika_hueneke
About Erika: Erika has been with Destination Weddings & Honeymoons magazine, the leading travel source for destination couples, for a decade, wearing many hats, including copy editor, managing editor, brand ambassador and travel writer. She had enjoyed roaming the world from Aruba to Zanzibar to spot trends and report on the best wedding and honeymoon locales. In her current role, she oversees all aspects of DWH’s editorial development, including print, Web, social, events, digital guides and vendor partnerships. She has been a featured expert at multiple travel and wedding panels hosted by organizations such as Engaging Concepts, the Saint Lucia Tourist Board, SAVEUR, Anne Chertoff Media and the Panama City Beach CVB. Erika also regularly contributes to publications including Islands, Caribbean Travel + Life, Florida Travel + Life and Jetsetter.com. She unknowingly planned her own destination wedding in 2005 and is saving her “Tahiti virginity” for a 15-year-anniversary vow renewal in Bora Bora.
Erika, how do you feel writing about the wedding industry is different from other topics?
The wedding audience is constantly turning over. When people are planning their weddings, it’s their biggest priority; they can barely think of anything else. But then once it’s over, they don’t care at all. So you have to keep covering the same exact topics over and over again for new batches of couples. Still, you don’t want to just keep churning out the same content — you want to keep it fresh and modern and interesting for yourself. If you’re bored with it, your audience will be too. So the challenge is to keep telling the same story in a new, compelling way. I’ve been doing it for 10 years and still get excited to find a different spin on gowns, cakes and invites!
What has been your favorite project to work on?
I’ve been blessed to work with some of the most creative people in publishing, and we’ve done so many innovative projects, but one I’m really proud of is a digital destination-wedding guide we recently created specifically for the LGBTQ audience. It was a joy to celebrate marriage equality, share real couples’ stories, and connect LGBTQ readers with locations, hotels and vendors that are excited to help them bring their wedding dreams to life. My hope is that soon we won’t need special editorial dedicated to this audience, as a wedding will just be a wedding and won’t need to be qualified as “same-sex” or otherwise.
How do you usually find sources for your stories?
The sources we use most are destination-wedding planners, travel specialists and hospitality professionals. A Google search, while it brings up zillions of results, is usually my last resort. I prefer to turn to professionals I’ve met at industry events such as Engage summit! and out in the field on FAM trips.
What’s the best way to get your attention?
True destination-wedding expertise will always get my attention. Lots of wedding professionals do a little destination-wedding business on the side, or would like to break into travel. But we’re looking for insight from people who work on destination weddings every day and really know the ins and outs of pulling off a wedding far from home. Show me that you and my audience are a match made in heaven.
Recently I received a mailing from a travel specialist — she had gorgeous, modern branding, and the high-quality letterpress card showed she was investing in her business. But there wasn’t some trite saying on the card like “love what you do”; there was real information demonstrating that she genuinely understands the destination-wedding niche. We quoted her in an article in the very next issue of the magazine.
What one piece of advice would you give to wedding professionals looking to get publicity?
Connect and collaborate. Go to industry events and meet people. Invite them to do creative work with you. Share that work with editors. If you plan ahead, you can solicit editors’ input on the front end to align your efforts with their editorial needs.
Thanks, Erika! We love your magazine, so keep it up! And don’t forget to invite us on the next fun FAM trip with you 🙂