Lara Burnap has been the Editor-in-Chief at California Wedding Day for the past 5 years, covering bridal fashion, design, décor and more. She has more than 15 years of editing and publishing experience. She has covered celebrity and red carpet fashion at E! Entertainment and E! Online and tracked down the latest local trends, culture and happenings as the executive editor of Los Angeles Confidential magazine.
How did you become a wedding journalist?
When I was a little girl, I had a box where I clipped wedding dresses from newspapers and magazines so I’d have them on hand when I got married. Clearly, weddings have always been my passion! In reality, I landed at California Wedding Day when the founder of Red Tricycle, a children’s website where I was freelancing, introduced me to the Editorial Director at Tiger Oak publications during their search for an editor.
Now that you’ve been doing it for 5 years, what do you like most about covering the wedding industry?
The talent and creativity in this industry is so inspiring—and especially in today’s environment where couples are no longer bound by tradition or expectation. In fact, couples look to surprise guests at their weddings with the unexpected, whether it be a high-fashion wedding gown, unique wedding vows, the reception design, a food experience… anything goes.
I recently attended a wedding where the couple, Christopher and Phillip, delivered 3 challenges to each other as part of their wedding vows. The dares included eating a piece of dark chocolate to prove that love can be both bitter and sweet to drinking a mystery cocktail as a promise to keep spontaneity and trust a part of their lives. The guests loved it and the laughter, applause and cheering made their ceremony all that more special and true to their personalities.
I love that! So what has been your favorite project to work on?
Our Summer 2017 issue of California Wedding Day really is one of my favorites. It’s filled with so many creative and beautiful ideas. Some of the highlights include a gorgeous garland-style bouquet created by Mindy Rice Design that is so dreamy.
Plus, the fashion shoots really took my breath away. We found a lovely way to share the latest trend of super sheer gowns, some of which can border on risqué – but that’s what I love about the wedding industry today, there’s no right or wrong—it’s about embracing what (and who!) you love. Case in point, one of the real weddings we shared included this incredible geometric backdrop that was created by the groom–who also designed their invitations. Proof that DIY can go to the next level.
How do you usually find sources for your stories?
Research. As I sift through beautiful Instagram posts and images from real wedding submissions, I’ll start to see a trend that is falling into place or a series of images that tell a story.
All of our fashion shoots are created in house and typically if we are looking for a florist for a bouquet or backdrop, we reach out to them through our network of preferred vendors. Other times, I may reach out to a florist or event designer whose work I’ve seen on Instagram or other social media that inspires me or meshes with our concept.
What’s the best way for a wedding professional to get your attention?
As a writer, I want to know the full story. So when submitting a real wedding, don’t forget to include how the design and inspiration came to be. Yes, we love hearing about the couple, but their love story and the design are intertwined and those details can make the ordinary become extraordinary. And, understand that we get so many submissions that immediate response isn’t going to happen. Be patient and follow up with kindness!
What advice would you give to wedding professionals looking to get featured?
Key words: creativity, perspective, unique. I’m always looking for the next inspiration. I don’t want to see the same thing over and over, I want details and ideas that take a concept and give it an unexpected twist. Final note? Pare down images! Nothing is more frustrating than a full album with thousands of images. Take the time to hone the submission and create a story through the images you select— highlighting the best details and moments.
You can check out California Wedding Day on www.californiaweddingday.com or follow them on social media @californiaweddingday.