Women in Business: Diane Forden, Editor in Chief of Bridal Guide Magazine

Have you heard of a little wedding magazine called Bridal Guide?  Ok, so it’s not so little.  In fact, it’s usually one of the first magazines a bride-to-be buys once she gets engaged!  We’re huge fans and have always loved working with them through Be Inspired PR!  The magazine is always chalked full of inspiration from the veil to the shoes and everything in between.  Diane Forden, the Editor in Chief of Bridal Guide, is the one that makes all of this magic happen!  She’s one of the most respected in the business and as kind as she is talented.  We were so excited to be able to catch up with her to hear what she had to say about what it takes to be in her position.  She gave us some great business advice and a fun peek into the offices of Bridal Guide!

Name: Diane Forden

Company: Bridal Guide Magazine

Title: Editor in Chief

Location: New York City


What does a typical day in your position look like?

I’m at my desk at 7:30 a.m. (I commute from New Jersey and make better time coming in before rush hour starts). I’ll go online immediately to check e-mails, print out what I need, forward some to the appropriate editors or file others away. I usually get about 100 e-mails or more a day so I am online throughout the day to keep on top of them all… when I go home I’ll go back online as well.

Depending on where we are in our production cycle I usually have several folders of copy to read in my in-box. (During an issue closing, my Executive Editor and I read and copy edit every editorial page at least four or five times to make sure everything is correct before the stories are shipped to the printer.) An issue closing lasts several weeks and I’m often juggling three issues at one time: Finishing an issue closing, going into production meetings with editors on the next issue and having planning meetings with editors for the issue after that. I will also approve all story ideas, images and layouts for every editorial page in the book. I work with the Art Director on editing cover images, often three or more times, until we have the very best selection to choose from. Before a fashion shoot, I will review the gown selections with our Fashion Editor. During an issue closing I will have daily meetings with the Production Manager, Executive Editor and Art Director to discuss the status of the pages: what copy is in, what stories are currently being routed and what pages can close that day. Lunch hours are pretty much non-existent as we all eat and work at our desks. I also try to blog once a week. And then there are days when I will be seeing models for cover consideration, writing coverlines, the etiquette column, reviewing the digital version of the magazine and preparing the editorial lineup for staff distribution. Never a dull moment!


What is your favorite part of your job?

My favorite part is having the opportunity to work with a fantastic, creative team of people and seeing the magazine come together from story inceptions to final layouts. As the book is being designed each page is printed out in a “mini page” format and placed on a huge corkboard in my office. It’s so rewarding to see at a glance the results of everyone’s hard work. I’m fortunate to have an extremely talented, dedicated staff: They take great pride in their work and truly care about the reader. And, of course, I love hearing from a bride that Bridal Guide was a great resource and very helpful to her—that’s the ultimate reward for any editor!


 Where do you find inspiration for your job as well as everyday life?

I look for inspiration everywhere: real weddings, blogs, pop culture, books, magazines, fashion, home décor, movies, TV shows, art. Just an image or even a phrase can trigger an idea for a story. I think that curiosity is key for an editor. I want to know what’s trending, what’s popular and how our reader thinks in order to give her what she needs to know (and should know) when it comes to wedding planning. I’m always looking for fresh, new ideas as well as the best ways to present iconic wedding ideas in innovative ways. You can never rest on your laurels and always need to focus on producing the next great issue.


What has been your favorite moment/event to be a part of with your job?

This is a tough question to answer as I really can’t pinpoint any one singular event—I’ve been with Bridal Guide for over 24 years and last year we celebrated our 25th anniversary—a wonderful milestone. I think being a part of an industry that was once pretty much ignored by the media and witnessing its explosive growth has been very exciting. There are now wedding TV shows practically 24/7, constant media coverage of all things wedding, top-name fashion designers creating bridal gowns…weddings are now given due recognition and it’s been fun to be along for the ride. Another wonderful perk for me personally has been the opportunity to go on some press trips and see parts of the world that I probably never would have had a chance to visit such as Hong Kong, Singapore, Fiji and Jordan. Those have been exhilarating, unforgettable experiences.


Best business advice you’ve ever received?

Probably from my dad: I started a job years ago that was a bit overwhelming. I felt paralyzed, didn’t think I could handle it. I called my parents and my dad said “Look, they hired you because they believe in you and you need to start believing in yourself. You can do this. I know you can. So don’t give up, just go in there tomorrow and do your best.” Honestly, it was exactly what I needed to hear so thank you, dad. Believe in yourself, roll up your sleeves, go in every day resolved to do your personal best no matter how tedious or mundane the task may seem. And always appreciate and value your co-workers…success stories are a team effort.


What you wanted to be when you grew up: I had no idea!

Beauty secret: A good night’s sleep (and when all else fails mascara and lipstick!)

Celebrity style crush: Cate Blanchett. I love her unique, singular style. She always looks great and stands out from the crowd.

Secret talent: I took classical piano lessons for many years.

I can’t live without: The love and support of my family and friends.


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