You’d never know from last night that there were any concerns about bridal magazines being shut down. Far from it: In celebration of 15 years of Martha Stewart Weddings, throngs of people whose lives revolve around your special day came and raised a glass at the Plaza hotel to the televised image of the woman who kept their careers comfortable. (Martha Stewart couldn’t actually make it to the event)
There were a couple signs that all was not right in the state of Denmark.
Maybe we were just being paranoid, but 90 percent of the revelers were wearing black — which, we get it, maybe we shouldn’t have worn all white to a bridal magazine party? — and seemed more interested in standing in long lines for the sushi bar than talking shop. Again, this was an industry event, and anyone not optimistically crowing about how good business was doing got a quick cold-shoulder. Asking anyone (the group mainly consisted of party planners, editors of bridal magazines, catering companies, and gown and cake designers) if they were worried about the nuptial industry taking a hit because of the recession and the answer was uniformly, “People will always need weddings!”
That slight air of desperation was as subtle as the pink buttons being handed out at the door with slogans like “Don’t Elope!” and “Say I Do to Weddings!” printed on them. If the machine is working so great, why all the desperate hype?
With the recent fall of Modern Bride and Elegant Brides at Conde Nast, did anyone think that the marriage market was getting a little…oversaturated? I did talk to one former Conde Nast employee who spent time at Glamour and Cosmopolitan, who seemed to have a more pragmatic perspective. “How many bridal titles do we have out there now?” he mused, “Whatever number it is, it should be cut. A lot. You need one bridal magazine, maybe two.” He later confided that since the Conde layoffs he’d been freelancing for The New York Times, and seemed shocked when we told him about yesterday’s staffroom layoffs. “I guess I’ll see if I still have a job tomorrow,” he shrugged.
Meanwhile, there just seemed an edge of condescension in the room for the actual consumers of all these wedding accouterments. Quote of the evening? One party planner to an editor, “What you forget is the middle of the country has no fucking style.”
Considering that Middle America is almost single-handidly supporting Martha Stewart’s many ventures, you would have thought her devotees would be a little more grateful to the heartland.