Chicago Style Weddings is dedicated to elevating the vendor/bride relationship and we aim to cover only the most style-centric ideas, clever trends in invitations and decor, real life budgeting advice, insight on what things really cost and beautiful fashions while continually discovering talented vendors and the best local venues for our discerning readers. Thanks so much for considering submitting your work to Chicago Style Weddings. In order to make your submission the very best it can be, we’ve outlined everything you need to know about getting published from understanding exclusivity agreements to what detail photos to include in your submission!
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF BEFORE YOU START YOUR SUBMISSION You’ve produced beautiful imagery from a real wedding, party, or styled shoot – yay! Before you start working on your submission, pause and ask yourself the following questions.
Do you have the full vendor list? Without a full list of every vendor who participated in making the day a success, we as a publication have no way of confirming that our feature credits are correct. No vendor is too big or too small to include. Converse with the bride, the mom, the planner and the photographer to make sure everyone is included. Too often, we receive emails from frustrated vendors who were not mentioned, only to find that the planner did not include their information in the vendor list. (Bonus tip! Vendors can make your submission more intriguing to us at Chicago Style Weddings. The more members of Chicago Style Weddings included on your submission, the better your chances! We are loyal to our members, and always love the opportunity to feature their work.)
If you aren’t the photographer, do you have permission to share these images? Here at Chicago Style Weddings, we’re big proponents of individual vendors and venues taking initiative to get their work/space featured. While ambition is an applaudable trait, under no circumstances should a venue, planner, florist, (etc.) submit an event or styled shoot without prior approval from the photographer. The images belong to the photographer, and the photographer alone!
Is this a real wedding, styled wedding shoot, real party, or styled party shoot? While we’re lovers of all occasions, Chicago Style Weddings only features these types of events. Morning-after shoots, boudoir sessions and bridal sessions are not typically fit for publications at Chicago Style Weddings.
If this content has run previously elsewhere, has the exclusivity grace period ended? If the answer is no, stop and wait until the content is allowed to be run. If the answer is yes, great! (Please note you are only available to submit this content for online publication since it is not exclusive content.)
Do you have the couple/party host’s consent to submit for publication? A verbal “yes, please submit our wedding” from the bride on her wedding day is not enough. A surge of emotion and excitement on her day might produce a warped response from the couple’s true intention. The best way to confirm your couple is ready to see their wedding online or in print? Email the couple asking point blank, “Can I submit your wedding day for print and online publication consideration?” Sometimes, brides and grooms say no. Respect the privacy of their day and their decision as a couple. If a long time has passed since the wedding day, asking is especially crucial. While a wedding day might be beautiful, sometimes the marriage isn’t. It’s always frustrating to editors to accept a wedding only to find the couple is now divorced and wants nothing to do with a feature. When in doubt: ask, ask, ask!
If this is a kid’s party, do you have the consent from every photographed child’s parent for publication? Moms and dads, you know how important this one is! Some parents are not comfortable with pictures of their child being shared by medias. This is a valid concern! If there are any children who are restricted from their photograph being shared, be sure to remove any image their faces are in from your submission gallery. While some states have different laws in relation to media’s editorial use of photographs containing children, we here at Chicago Style Weddings support the respect of parents’ intentions for their children first and foremost.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SUBMITTING EXCLUSIVE & NON-EXCLUSIVE CONTENT If you’d like your submission considered for print publication, you must confirm that your content is exclusive. Exclusive content must always be submitted to only one publication at a time. Do not submit a wedding/party/styled shoot to more than one exclusive publication at the same time. The only way to keep exclusive content, well exclusive, is to keep it under the eyes of only one editor at a time. Wait the allotted time for consideration, and if the editor rejects your submission for print publication, only then should you submit elsewhere.
Online content does not require exclusivity, though (if you’re submitting via Two Bright Lights) we are conscious of how many other publications you’re submitting to for consideration. Out of respect to the publications you’re submitting to (and the work you put into this wedding/party!) we suggest limiting yourself to submitting to three different outlets for consideration. Quality over quantity, always!
THE 70/30 GUIDELINE FOR A GREAT IMAGE GALLERY Whether you’re submitting for print or online consideration, details are key. Readers of Chicago Style Weddings are looking for inspiring content, not for endless imagery of the people at an event. While including some people photos is crucial in being able to tell the story of the event, know when you have enough! As a rule of thumb, we recommend a 70/30 guideline. The vast majority of your submission should be detail shots, with the minority being people.
THE DETAIL SHOTS THAT MAKE FOR A FANTASTIC SUBMISSION We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – details make the submission. But ‘details’ doesn’t mean the same thing to every submitter. The simplest way to determine if something is a detail fit for your submission to ask yourself three questions: 1) “Does this shot evoke a sense of inspiration to the potential reader?” 2) “Is this ‘Pin-able?’” and 3) Does this shot aid in telling the story?
Still stuck? Here’s a list of the detail shots you’ll see us feature time and time again. These are a submission’s “bread and butter.” Without these, a submission is difficult to pull together and tell a story. If you have more unique and meaningful details from an event, include them! Remember, all details should have some context. If I we can’t tell what an item is, neither will our readers!
Bride getting ready
Groom getting ready
Dress hanging alone
Ceremony setup (wide shot)
Close ups on ceremony set up details (pew decor, altar arrangements, etc.)
Bride’s bouquet (being held, and on its own)
Bridesmaid bouquets (being held, and on their own)
Bridesmaids & Bride
Groomsmen & Groom
Ceremony venue outdoor shot
Ceremony (Processional, vows, first kiss, recessional – we love it all!)
Cocktail Hour details
Reception venue outdoor shot
Reception wide shot
Close ups on reception set up details (bar, table numbers, escort card display, etc..)
Band and/or musicians
Reception party in action! (Be cognizant of what you’re sending us. Sweaty drunk bride/groom/bridesmaids/groomsmen/guests? NEVER necessary!)
Styled Party submission by Amy Anaiz Photography via Two Bright Lights
HOW TO MAKE YOUR STYLED SHOOT STAND OUT FROM THE REST Styled shoots are great! They’re a fantastic way for vendors to flex their creative muscles and venues to show off their event spaces. Be unique with your concepts, but make them achievable.
While styled shoots should capture style trends, they shouldn’t be cookie cutter. A blush and gold styled wedding shoot with calligraphed signage and peony bouquet? Yawn! It’s been done before (x1,000,000!) Look for fresh colors, inspiration, venues, flowers, etc. to make your shoot stand out.
Look at your key details together (like you would in a magazine!) While you’re working with other vendors, make sure you’re all on the same page. Create a Pinterest board, or some other collaborative space, where you can see the items you’re including all together. No one detail should be polar opposite to another. Make sure your palette is consistent and everyone knows the style you’re aiming to show off.
Even though it’s fake, make it look real! We joke here in the office about the outrageous places styled shoots are putting dining tables these days. A reception dining table in the middle of a forest? How’d it get there?! Who would actually want to sit and eat there?!? How is this real life?!?! We’re all for creative freedom, but keep some shred of reality in mind too!
Keep bridal hair and makeup looking natural, yet done. So often we get beautiful shoots submitted to us but can’t accept them based on wacky hair styles and outlandish makeup. Choose your artist carefully!
When in doubt, get horizontal and vertical shots. I know some details don’t easily lend themselves to this sort of framing concept, but it’s vital to us to have every detail in multiple forms to make for the most beautiful layout design.
Use colored, textured, etc. linens whenever possible. It will add something extra to your look!
Stuck on finding the right models? Ask a real newlywed couple to pose! There’s a reason more than a few publications source real couples to pose for in-house styled editorial shoots. It’s nearly impossible to recreate the love and ease of posing together with stranger models (even if they’re the best of the best!). Ask recent clients you know work great on camera to step in – chances are they’d love the chance to get dressed up!
HOW TO SUBMIT Ready to submit? Here are a few ways to send us your best weddings and parties: