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Whether putting finishing touches on a spring wedding or still deep in planning September nuptials, Abby Larson—founder of the locally-based epic bridal blog Style Me Pretty—is essentially a fairy godmother for millions of brides-to-be. Curious about the real-life weddings thrown to the cutting room floor of major magazines, Larson wanted to replicate what she saw in print with a fast-paced online hub based on the premise that a great photographer can make any wedding spectacular. After seven thousand featured weddings, four to six hundred weekly submissions, and an unrivaled vendor guide, she's penned her own title.
To mark Larson's December Style Me Pretty Weddings book release, Copley's Grettacole salon hosted dozens of curious women for a bubbly-fueled fete last Thursday evening in conjunction with Gilt City Boston, where we made sure to pick that pretty noggin' of hers on behalf of blushing brides everywhere. Here's the scoop...
At what age did you start fantasizing about your own nuptials? When did that interest extend to others?
I didn't, I fantasized about boys. Then came the wedding. When I planned my own, I wasn't actually a very good wedding planner. I didn't like the process. I felt like we had lost sight of what was fun about having a wedding and hosting a wedding. It started resonating with me when other people were bucking that tradition and doing their own thing. The more I discovered what kind of weddings were being planned around the country, the more I wanted to be a part of that too. The interest was really organic and natural, but it didn't stem from my own wedding. It came from a desire to get the beauty of others out there.
Were any of the book ideas better to execute in print than on the web? How was working on the book different than on the blog?
A layout in a book is six to eight pages, so you only have a little moment to make sure that a wedding is articulated as beautiful as the wedding in its entirety. You have to edit yourself much more in print than you do online, where we are able to tell the whole wedding story. So we had to take nuggets from a bride's story and condense it down to a story that makes sense for the shorter layout. It was hard! And it's 400 pages.
Most surprising destination wedding SMP has covered?
Lately we've been featuring a lot of elopements that are really styled: Jamaica, Santa Barbara, or some extremely beautiful place that for two people is styled as if it's for five hundred. That always blows my mind a little bit...that couples are willing to go the extra mile. It comes down to how you brand this occasion and this moment.
What's your advice on how couples can brand themselves as a pair?
What it comes down to is that you get to have a really great conversation about what makes you tick as a couple. Do you go out to dinner all the time? Do you entertain friends? Do you play games? Curling up with a blanket? Go through your closet and see what colors stick out. You get to take stock of your life and then you get to design a day that follows suit.
Which elements of a wedding attract your attention above others?
Paper, flowers, and cake.
What do you think is the easiest component of a celebration to DIY?
Unless you are a DIYer, that shouldn't necessarily be part of your wedding planning workflow. If so, embrace what you're good at, whether it's designing an invitation or packaging your favor in a beautiful way that elevates it to something meaningful. I think DIY should be thoughtful and if not, don't do it. But it can be something as simple as writing a handwritten note on everyone's plate.
Best way to handle guest list disputes?
Every wedding and familial relationship is very different. Speaking from my own experience, I think you cut out groups, for example all of your work employees instead of just one or two of them. The new rule of thumb is that if you can't introduce a guest by name to someone else at the wedding, then they shouldn't be there. That isn't adding to the experience for you. If you can't mark a memory with them, they probably shouldn't be there.
What will keep readers coming back to your book after they've said "I Do?"
The book's intention was to show readers how to take all of that visual inspiration from Pinterest, magazines, and blogs to break it down into pieces and establish the style of their wedding. There are gorgeous pictures in there, but it's really a "how to" book—how you can use real wedding inspiration to plan your own event. Books are more archival than a magazine; it is a memory keepsake of a wedding.
What can women who aren't planning a wedding take from your site and book?
A lot of our readers aren't even brides. They are people who are planning parties and entertaining friends; they love decorating their house and looking for colors and textures to translate to their own day to day.
And to put you under pressure, here's our lightning round...
· The biggest weddings are in California.
· Brides should never ever yell at their moms.
· Favorite flower? Peony.
· Layer cake or cupcakes? Layer cake.
· Favorite dress designer? Jenny Packham.
All in all, move over Pinterest. Abby Larson packaged up covetable weddings in a portable vessel with a gilded spine that looks pretty amazing on a bookshelf. The publication features never before seen weddings, fifteen DIYs, and a "Style Predictor" quiz to determine a couple's aesthetic. Who said books were dying?
· Style Me Pretty [Official Site]
· Style Me Pretty Weddings [Amazon]