After a tense triple-elimination round of eenie-meenie-miney-moe, I chose Elegant Bride. It was the tubbiest of the titles and thus contained the most pages for me to tear out and leave around my sister's apartment, appended with notes like "this dress will make you look like a filthy whore." My sister shares my sense of humor.
As for the magazine itself, I'm actually quite impressed. With its spacious layout and muted hues, Elegant Bride ranks among the comeliest titles in this or any other publication genre. Nary a hair is out of place in any of the mag's myriad images, all of which boast a sheen usually reserved for shampoo ads. And while it would be easy for Elegant Bride to fall into the gals-in-gowns trap, the title takes pains to present its immaculately groomed subjects in a range of settings.
Check out the "4 Elegant Brides" spread, in which arty, angular shots are complemented by a few thoughts on the dress-selection process (neither "it fit" nor "it was on sale" make the list). Equally striking is the "white album" photo procession, which recasts the "color of innocence" in a gauzy glow; one shot features a dog (identified as "dog") tastefully bling-ed up in a platinum-and-diamond bracelet.
Elegant Bride supplements this photography with a similarly artistic design scheme. Never mind its showier flashes, like a faux-medieval font for the outdoorsy "Fairy Tale" spread. From the arched text of the editor's note to the creative rendering of bride-ish gear (four lipstick halves arranged at right angles), the publication goes out of its way to tweak bridal-mag conventions.
I wish Elegant Bride pushed quite as hard on the words front. A feature on Sofia Coppola's fave honeymoon destination feels wildly out of place (and didn't she just get divorced, anyway?), while a list of tips for "Far Away Affairs" merely regurgitates what anybody who's deemed mentally competent to accept a wedding proposal should inherently know: get there early, scout out the site in advance, etc. The 200-word "Style Profiles" of stationers, event planners and other wedding worker-bees also probably deserve a bit more space, and the title as a whole could benefit from a bit of snark. Overall, though, the writing is professional if not entirely inspiring.
Besides, it ain't like Elegant Bride pretends to be something other than a super-luxe, tastefully appointed catalog of sorts. So long as it delivers the goods graphically, there's no reason why it shouldn't continue to distinguish itself among staid bridal titles.