Abby Larson, founder of Boston-based Style Me Pretty, a wedding blog, hosted an event for Gilt City Boston at GrettaCole in Back Bay last week to chat about her new book and her humble blogging beginnings. Larson founded her well-curated wedding website with her husband and "tech guru," Tait, in 2007 and has grown her readership tenfold, becoming a well-respected resource for all things bridal for the online community. Before she took to the stand to answer questions from an audience brimming with brides-to-be, wedding professionals, and folks that are just fans of the site in general, Larson stepped aside in her sparkly silver pumps to chat with us.
(Psst!: Want to win a copy of Larson's new book, as well as a gift card to GrettaCole? Check out details at the end of this post.)
How do you feel now that book has finally come out?
Relieved! This book was nine months in the making. I compare it to giving birth to my daughter because it's like my baby. I worked morning and night almost to the day of the nine month mark. Then you kiss it up to the editors and there's a pause between when you get the manuscript in and when you see it on the shelves so there's this huge sense of "Ahh! I did it!" I can finally see all that hard work come to fruition.
You were on the forefront of the wedding blogs. You're kind of like the Pioneer Woman of the wedding blogging community.
I would say there were only two or three when I first started and none of them were focusing on the editorial side of weddings. They were focused on the practical, hands-on details of planning a wedding. I thought: why aren't we talking about what's being put in magazines but in an online format. I read Martha Stewart Weddings religiously but there are three months in between issues and typically only six weddings get into each issue so there is all this cutting room floor inventory that is so beautiful you would cry. But there's simply no room in the magazine. So I thought why not take those photos and put them online so brides didn't have to wait at newsstands. That's where we started and eventually readers started sending in photos of their own.
What was the moment that you knew there was a future in your blog?
Well today, wedding blogging is an industry of itself. We got lucky because we got into the community really fast. My husband is in software development and he knew there was value in this before we really started.
Do you have any advice for young bloggers who are frustrated by a lack of readers?
When I started I had three readers: my husband, my mom, and my sister, literally. I remember reading a statistics page of another design blogger who said she had 5,000 page views per month and I remember sitting in my husband saying, “If only I could get to that point.” And now we get 20 million. If you keep writing and putting out really good curated content and people talk, it will develop into something you won't have a lot of control over, but it will grow.
Style Me Pretty is big on promoting vendors with each wedding you feature -- any reason for that?
Every party that I've thrown, I've gone straight to our vendors on our website. That's our goal, we want to highlight local, small vendors that can sit pretty alongside big vendors that are blowing it up and they can share a face and a voice and get fair game in getting their voice out there.
What can a wedding do to catch your eye?
I'm a pink girl. I always gravitate toward corals and pinks so any wedding that comes in with pink hues, I'm much more personally inclined to want to publish it. What I love about weddings now is that people aren't subscribing to any rules anymore. There's a sense of tradition but there's a lot more spunk and personality in colors and moments built into the day. I like weddings that are beautiful but really, really approachable. They're not stuffy or ostentatious.
What is your best tip for brides-to-be?
My favorite tip is to hire a wedding planner, which sounds really cliché, but they will keep you on track and possibly save you thousands upon thousands of dollars in mistakes that women and men make when trying to plan their wedding. Planning is an industry and there's rules and resources that you can leverage if you know how to do it right. Two is to just sit down as a couple and have that date night to figure out what you want from your wedding. It may not be what your mom wants or your grandma wants but you need to figure out what are the most important details to you, as a couple, are -- whether it's the most amazing food ever or a band that only plays a certain type of music. Then budget to make those details sparkle.
Are there any wedding trends that you’re sick of?
It's all about the execution. You can see something so cliché -- cupcakes, the dessert table, ombre -- but if you execute correctly it's no longer a trend: it's a staple. It's a design element that is going to make your wedding look beautiful. It's all about taking those trends and putting your own style stamp on them and making them cohesively fit into your wedding. If you force a trend into your wedding, it's never going to work.
Have you seen any trends from your readers and submissions that are specific to the Boston area?
Boston weddings are different than the rest of the country. They're a little bit more traditional and preppy but the brides tend to have this Kate Spade whimsy about them. It's traditional but with spunk. It's interesting to see how these New England brides execute.
Abby Larson’s book, Style Me Pretty Weddings, published by Potter Style, is now available on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble store locations.
GIVEAWAY: Two winners, selected at random, will receive a $75 gift card to Gretta Cole as well as a signed copy of Style Me Pretty Weddings by Abby Larson. To enter, send an email with subject line “StylePhile” to firstname.lastname@example.org and include your first name, last initial, and telephone number in the body. Two winners will be announced Monday, January 28th at 5 p.m. One entry per person. (Read the official rules.)
Photos: Abby Larson headshot via Kari Herer, wedding photo from Style Me Pretty Weddings via KT Merry.