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You and Your Wedding magazine

UK Wedding Magazines: The Review: 2

The results are in, the wedding magazines are back on the shelves, and I can now officially reveal the result of my UK wedding magazine review. Drum roll please….

The best UK wedding magazine

Properly objectively analysed, pages counted and compared with other top UK wedding mags… The best UK wedding magazine is You & Your Wedding. With the best quality content, valuable advice, inspirational and exciting shoots and comparing well for every criteria I considered – You & Your Wedding magazine is far and away the best UK wedding magazine for brides.

Joint second best UK wedding magazines are Brides and Wedding Ideas. Brides is a top quality magazine for design and with a great standard when it comes to articles and features. Wedding Ideas is the best magazine for more affordable weddings, with plenty of real weddings, advice and articles to inspire.

This is my objective review of the top UK wedding magazines. See how your favourite compares!

UK Wedding Magazines: The Review

You and Your Wedding magazineHow it worked: I gathered a stack of wedding magazines, one of each of the most popular titles. I pored over them, counted pages, counted ads and features, read articles and advice, and made notes.

I chose my own categories for comparing the wedding magazines. The best UK wedding magzine should have the best content: real weddings to inspire, well written advice and lots of it.

There should be inspiring bridal shoots to enjoy (the eye candy factor) and the magazine should be well designed and look appealing. I awarded points for wedding magazines which didn’t entirely ignore the grooms! Forefront in many readers’ minds is advertising: the best UK wedding magazine should have fewer ads, and not focus entirely on selling products (because weddings are about more than shopping, right?)

UK Wedding Magazines: finding the best!

Best UK magazine for real weddings:

  1. Cheshire Bride magazine with 77 pages of real weddings!
  2. Wedding Ideas magazine with 43 real wedding pages
  3. You & Your Wedding with 24 pages of real weddings

Best wedding magazine for advice (by page count):

  1. Perfect Wedding magazine had 21 advice pages
  2. Wedding Ideas had 18 pages of advice
  3. You & Your Wedding had 16 advice pages

Best magazine for quality of advice:

wedding magazine advice feature from You and Your Wedding

  1. You & Your Wedding featured in depth advice from two top wedding planners, with imaginative and unusual ideas to inspire creative brides and grooms.
  2. Brides magazine had longer articles exploring wedding music, diamonds and modern etiquette (involving family & friends in weddings).
  3. Perfect Wedding’s ‘Wedding SOS’ advice feature was thorough and informative. The bridal lingerie feature by Rigby & Peller was very good.

Best UK wedding magazine for bridal shoots:

  1. Eternal Sunshine bridal shoot in Cosmopolitan Bride magazineYou & Your Wedding with 40 pages of bridal shoots! Themes were:
    • A family affair
    • Tropical wonder
    • Fifties inspired vintage
    • Wild wood
  2. Wedding with 28 pages of bridal shoots: Enchanted Garden, Cool Britannia, Beyond Retro
  3. Cosmopolitan Bride with 26 pages of bridal shoots: Eternal Sunshine and Club Tropicana

Best wedding magazine for not ignoring grooms:

  1. Brides magazine wins this one hands down for a four page feature on choosing wedding music. Aimed at brides and grooms, and beautifully written.
  2. Wedding covers ‘What every husband should know’ – with some good advice and giggles: “everything is your fault. Learn to embrace this.”
  3. You & Your Wedding has a grooms’ Q&A – although I’m not sure it’s really intended for the guys to read, it’s the thought that counts.

UK wedding magazine with least advertising pages:

  1. Your Manchester Wedding has only 35 pages of advertising (which is just 34% of the total page count in the magazine)
  2. Cosmopolitan Bride has 84 pages of ads: 47% of the total pages in the magazine
  3. Perfect Wedding has 123 pages of adverts – that’s 47% of the total page count.

UK wedding magazine review advertising spreadThe UK wedding magazine with most pages of adverts is Brides – with a whopping 252 pages of ads in the issue I read!

That was 64% of the magazine, but Cheshire Bride had 68% of its pages devoted to advertising. Make of that what you will… if you want to buy stuff, great!

Best UK wedding magazine for not over-selling:

UK wedding magazine review Ideas selling pagesThis one needs a definition. Adverts are the obvious selling pages, but wedding magazines are full of advertorial (paid-for editorial and product features) and ideas pages. So here I’m looking at all those “here’s a theme idea, go buy things” pages as well as the ads: how many pages are flogging products, basically!

  1. Your Manchester Wedding has the least selling pages: 62 in total (35 advertising pages & 27 ideas-with-prices-on)
  2. Cosmopolitan Bride has 143 selling pages (84 ad pages & 59 ideas-with-prices-on)
  3. Cheshire Bride has 199 selling pages (195 pages of adverts but only 4 ideas-with-prices-on pages. I may have missed some cleverly disguised advertorial here)

Best designed UK wedding magazine:

  1. You & Your Wedding just looks gorgeous. Lovely typefaces, consistent layouts, and plenty of white space makes You & Your Wedding the best designed UK wedding magazine

    best UK wedding magazine review layout and design

  2. Brides is a pretty classy publication as well, uncluttered and with nice layouts that don’t make my eyes bleed.
  3. Wedding uses nice layouts and fonts, with plenty of white space but perhaps a little overcrowding on some of the ideas pages.

Data table: best UK wedding magazines at a glance

[table id=5 /]

Claire Gould

Claire spends her days writing - either in beautiful calligraphy or online. She lives on the edge of the English Lake District only minutes away from the beach, where she loves to escape and unwind. Claire's calligraphy can be found at www.byMoonandTide.com. Claire launched the English Wedding Blog in November 2009 - it's been a top 10 UK wedding blog ever since, with a regional focus we hope you LOVE.

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7 COMMENTS
  • Hi Claire — this is fascinating stuff! One query springs to mind: did you feel that different magazines had different target demographics in mind? For example, it seems to me that Cosmo Bride pitches to a younger audience than Y&YW (which seems to aim for a more grown-up, professional demographic) — but is that borne out by the content?

    And, if so, is it possible that your preference for Y&YW’s design is partly because you’re a grown-up professional yourself? 😉

    • Claire
      8 years ago

      Ooh interesting question Andrew! The magazines do have different demographic targets, and I cover this a little more over the next few blog posts which look at each in turn. As for my preference (thanks for calling me a grown up professional by the way!) I like to think my design background is what influenced the assessment on design – legibility and clarity were the two main criteria. Some of the magazines were cluttered, a jumble of typefaces and images crammed together. Y&YW had clear heading styles throughout, lots of space and was easier on the eye generally I think.

      Perhaps I could have considered ‘design bearing target Market in mind’ as well – the top spot would have been the same though. C x

  • bycostello
    8 years ago

    I buy all sorts to get an idea of what contemportary brides are looking at and want… but don’t forget none bride agazines are good to look at too… vanity fair/ vougue/ love and if they have weedings ok & hellos are good.

    • Claire
      8 years ago
      AUTHOR

      Thanks Chris,
      I love the idea of shopping around for a wider range of magazines to inspire weddings. My choice of mags would include craft and design publications – and, I suppose, there are the boys’ mags too as far as fashion and style are concerned!
      I think that’s what I love about the weddings I feature on the blog – influences come from everywhere, family traditions and heirlooms to ideas from our cultural heritage and beyond.
      A very thought provoking comment, so thank you!
      Claire x

  • Lisa Jeffrys
    8 years ago

    Hi Claire,
    I’m not quite sure what you’re trying to achieve here. Surely a side-by-side comparison of the titles is misleading, as not only do they have different demographic targets, but they also have different prices, sizes and publishing timescales.
    Y&YW, Wedding and Brides are bi-monthly whereas Perfect Wedding and Wedding Ideas come out every 4 weeks, yet all have similar page counts. In fact one of the issues of Wedding Ideas I bought a couple months ago (Royal Wedding I think) had over 350 pages, whereas Y&YW only had 290. Not that it should matter, but the smaller-sized magazines appear to be working twice as hard for my money in my eyes, not designing bland, coffee table fodder like some appear to be doing!
    I think it’s almost impossible to be subjective fairly across all the titles as you are obviously going to have your own personal taste influencing decisions, and I’d like to think that people reading this post don’t accept your opinions at face value, rather go out there and see what they like themselves.
    Lisa

  • Claire
    8 years ago
    AUTHOR

    Hi Lisa,

    I don’t for a second think English Wedding readers read my posts without questioning what I write – this blog is intended as a place for discussion and your opinion is just as valid as my own and as anyone else’s who’s reading this and agreeing or disagreeing with us.

    Yes there are different targets, demographics, purposes and more to the magazines. They also have their own histories, associations and brand image – which would have been too much to cover in these reviews as well as being of less use.

    What I aimed for in these write ups was a guide for brides who aren’t familiar with the mags, or who walk into Smiths and see too much choice. Where should they start, when all the mags are promising similar things?

    By writing a comparison / review of the magazines on here, I’m offering a little information to help people choose. Everyone will be drawn to a magazine targeting a particular demographic, but it’s not easy when you can’t see what’s inside because they’re all in bags on the shelves!

    Just a quick note re your page counts – yes Wedding Ideas has a really high page count (I’ll share overall page counts in a later blog post) – I was impressed with the magazine and how successfully it targets a particular demographic.

    Claire

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