Brittny Drye: Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Love Inc Media

 

Angela Tuell  00:05

Welcome to Media in Minutes. This is your host Angela Tuell. This podcast features in-depth interviews with those reports on the world around us. They share everything from their favorite stories to what happened behind the lens and give us a glimpse into their world. From our studio here at Communications Redefined, this is Media in Minutes. Today we are talking with Brittny Drye. She is the founder and editor-in-chief of Love Inc., an equality-minded wedding publication targeting both hetero and LGBTQ couples with wedding planning tips and love stories named by Forbes as the woman leading the way to a more inclusive wedding industry. Drye has also been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Refinery 29, Insider, Fox 11 Los Angeles, Good Morning, Texas, and many more for her inclusive efforts, her wedding know and her candid takes on the state of the wedding industry. Hello, Brittny, I’m looking forward to talking with you today.

 

Brittny Drye  01:05

Thank you so much for having me on Angela. I appreciate it.

 

Angela Tuell  01:08

Yes, I’m excited. You know, I noticed in your bio, that you went to school for journalism and interior design. What made you go with journalism? And how did you end up focused on weddings?

 

Brittny Drye  01:21

Yes. So I actually started my major in interior design thinking I wanted to be an interior designer. Okay. And then I realized how much math is involved.

 

Angela Tuell  01:32

I didn’t think about that.

 

Brittny Drye  01:34

So much math and hard stop. Not into it. But I do appreciate decor and design. And I’ve always been a good writer. So I was like I will write about interior design, very niche, but so I added journalism. And that combo was perfect for what I wanted to do. So I worked at you know, kind of home and garden magazines just coming out of college. My first job post-college was at Elle Decor magazine. And then I kind of this was like circa 2007. So this was when all the like website blogs and blogging were like booming.

 

Angela Tuell  02:15

Right.

 

Brittny Drye  02:15

And I kind of saw the writing on the wall of print versus digital. And an opportunity came up for me to move to a website that was more like lifestyle. Okay, so I switched to, I became assistant editor of called Cafe Mom, which was I was not a mom by any means. But I, I helped manage their kind of lifestyle channels like entertainment, beauty and grooming, and fashion. And that kind of opened me up to just general lifestyle writing and editing. And I was also freelance writing. So I started getting wedding blogs as clients for freelance writing. And that’s kind of how I ventured into weddings specifically. And I saw this huge void in the wedding industry of the need for inclusivity. And you know, they’re all the media was either talking to a bride and groom or was exclusively for LGBTQ+ couples. And so I decided to start Love Inc. which was kind of the basis of it, to have a truly inclusive wedding planning resource that appeals to all types of orientations and identities. Wedding planning with an inclusive lens, if you will. And I started that in 2013 and have been, you know, kind of going strong ever since.

 

Angela Tuell  03:35

Wow. Forbes has said that you are the woman leading the way to a more inclusive wedding industry, which as you described is quite a compliment.

 

Brittny Drye  03:44

I was, when I read that I did the interview for the article which she when I actually read that I was like, oh my goodness, that’s a huge title to live up to. And I mean, I do want to say you know, there’s definitely been like trailblazers in this space before me specifically with like wedding planners who were doing same-sex weddings before it was recognized anywhere and who really marketed themselves and carved out that specific niche in the industry. So you know, I do my best and, and try to spotlight you know inclusivity and educate wedding pros on inclusivity so I just try to do my part and you know, of course, tell amazing love stories along the way.

 

Angela Tuell  04:28

Yes, and you’ve kind of mentioned this a little bit, obviously, as you’re describing it, but what do you really feel sets Love Inc. apart from other wedding publications?

 

Brittny Drye  04:37

Yeah, it’s just we take the time to ensure all vendors are what I’ve dubbed equality-minded. So we do feature hetero weddings. But I confirm with every single vendor feature that they celebrate LGBTQ+ rights, that they want to work with LGBTQ+ couples for their wedding day, and taking that extra step just makes a big difference because anything that’s featured on our site, any couple can draw inspiration from or they can reach out to that vendor, and know that they will be accepted because it’s still very much an issue that wedding pros will refuse service to an LGBTQ+ couple. This happens on a regular all across our country, sadly. And they know, you know, my readers know that they come to Love Inc. mag, they know, okay, if I see a florist, and I really love their work, and they’re in my town, yeah, I can reach out to them and know that they are equality-minded. So, you know, we’re really the only ones who have done that extra step. Everyone else is kind of like, you know if they do feel that way, it’s more of a reactive versus proactive approach. And so that’s, you know, I think one of the biggest things and that we are coming at it with an inclusive lens, you know, we’re not if we talked about dresses or suits, we’re not attaching gender to it. We know the nuances that go into wedding planning as an LGBTQ+ couple and have that at the top of our minds when we are creating content. Yes, our content is for everybody, but it is kind of been programmed to make sure that, you know, it’s truly for everybody.

 

Angela Tuell  06:17

For everybody. Right, right. 10 years ago, when you started it, did you think we’d be farther along now?

 

Brittny Drye  06:24

Yeah, I mean, to be honest, I was hoping it would, I would be a moot point, you know, it would be like, Oh, I’m just a regular, like wedding publication. We were on such a great trajectory 10 years ago. I feel. And I feel like we’ve taken two steps forward and 10 steps back lately in the current climate, but it’s still very much in need, sadly, and yeah, I mean, I was definitely hoping I’d be kind of, you know, not out of a job, but just, I’m a normal wedding publication. And there’s nothing special about me, but I you know, I am just producing great content. But the need is still very much there.

 

Angela Tuell  07:01

Yeah. What types of stories do you like to focus on? How do you choose them?

 

Brittny Drye  07:06

So, we – another kind of difference about us is that we feature all types of styles. So we’ll feature a very traditional wedding, in a church, you know, at a country club, what have you. And then we feature very trendy, cool weddings, hip weddings, destination wed-, we do, you know, the gamut of styles. But what I like to focus on is the love story of the couple, because I think everyone has a great love story. Photography, of course, matters, it’s got to be like, you know, beautiful photography. But yeah, I just love you know, no matter the style, I just love telling the love story. And when weddings really represent the couple and tell their love story throughout the details. That’s my favorite.

 

Angela Tuell  07:53

Yeah, I saw one of – speaking of trends, one of Love Inc.’s recent stories about how specialty acts for weddings are on the rise. I definitely want to hear more about that.

 

Brittny Drye  08:02

Yeah, so this was a little left over from COVID I like to say. So in COVID and when we are we were having smaller gatherings. If you were hosting a wedding, you didn’t necessarily want a packed dance floor, right? Like sweaty people, you know, on top of each other. So people started in specialty acts was kind of on the rise anyway. But people started incorporating specialty acts of these can be you know, aerialist hanging from the ceiling or like magicians, not like the cheesy kind, like cool, the cool kind of magicians, greeters, when you come up, you know, costumed greeters, there’s so many different ways to incorporate this trend. But couples started doing that to kind of just add this level of entertainment to the wedding reception that they couldn’t, you know, to kind of like, you know, instead of dancing, they were having this. And people love it, and it’s fun and just kind of adds this wow factor. So it’s definitely stuck around post-COVID. And it’s, you know, it’s definitely more, I would say luxury weddings tend to, you know, higher budget weddings tend to do this just because it is like an extra cost that isn’t in the traditional wedding budget. But it’s definitely a wow factor. It’s very cool. It makes for some fun Instagram photos and TikTok videos. Yeah.

 

Angela Tuell  09:23

What are some of the other current trends you are seeing in weddings?

 

Brittny Drye  09:26

So one thing that I kind of love is that people are really customizing their processionals. So whether it’s, you know, adding tiles to an outdoor aisle or making it kind of like a serpentine shape. I’ve seen instead of like, you know, flower children I’ve seen people do like having their besties like, these are my soft blanc girls and they’re like, instead of flower petals, they’re tossing out like little mini bottles of wine.

 

Angela Tuell  09:55

I saw that recently when handing out beers.

 

Brittny Drye  09:59

And it’s just like people were having fun with it. It’s less stuffy because the processional is a very traditional aspect of weddings. So they’re really kind of adding some fun if it fits you as a couple. You know, don’t do it just because you saw it on TikTok or whatever. But it’s fun. And it’s just another, you know, touch point to put your personality on your wedding. So I love that. And then I’m also seeing, you know, bright colors are definitely we’re shifting from those softer romantic palettes to brighter, bolder hues. Welcome parties are becoming a whole entity of themselves, almost like mini weddings.

 

Angela Tuell  10:38

Really?

 

Brittny Drye  10:39

It’s there, people are spending half the budget on welcome parties now. And I think it’s just it attests to, you know, it’s been so long since we’ve had gatherings that they’re really going big with theirs.

 

Angela Tuell  10:54

Is that like the day before?

 

Brittny Drye  10:56

Yes. So instead of like a rehearsal dinner with your immediate family and a wedding party, these are like welcome parties kind of kicking off the wedding weekend, if you will. And it has all you know, it welcomes all the guests. We’re seeing what else so ceiling designs. So instead of like tabletop, just because if you think you’re sitting at a table you’re eating, it’s a little difficult to talk if you have like florals in my view, and then like the petals fall off, and they fall on their food. So now couples are kind of, instead of tabletop florals, they’re bringing that decor up. And they’re doing floral installations really customized draping, that sort of thing from like the ceiling. And so next wedding you go to look up and see. There’s one thing that is really interesting to me more couples are doing private ceremonies, private vow exchange before the ceremony. So they are doing this either just them and their partner or if it’s like a private ceremony, they’ll do it just them and their immediate family, and then have the big reception. This is great for couples who are a little, you know, shy, they don’t like the spotlight, they get really nervous at the thought of I mean, essentially, you’re doing public speaking, when you’re saying your vows. So it’s of course gonna, you know, public speaking is about like the number one like fear of people.

 

Angela Tuell  12:24

Yes, yes.

 

Brittny Drye  12:25

Like before Daffy event. So it’s, you know, it’s very nerve wracking. And so this is a really great option if you don’t want to have to do that public speaking. You can do that private ceremony or private vow exchange with your partner beforehand, and then just have the party with friends afterwards.

 

Angela Tuell  12:42

Yeah, that’s so cool. So if you could personally plan your dream wedding, whether this is your first or a do over? What would you do?

 

Brittny Drye  12:52

Oh my gosh, I wish I could do like 20 different types.

 

Angela Tuell  12:57

Invite them all.

 

Brittny Drye  12:58

One thing that I really love is the idea of just like an Alfresco dinner party in the Tuscan countryside.

 

Angela Tuell  13:07

Oh, wow. That sounds fabulous.

 

Brittny Drye  13:11

Minimal décor, not nothing crazy, but just like really having this gorgeous, just organic setting. And just good food, good conversation, good wine, good friends. Just having a great night like that, I think is like, sounds amazing to me. And I wish I could do that.

 

Angela Tuell  13:33

Yes, that does sound amazing. No better place in Italy. What advice do you have for PR professionals who have story ideas for Love Inc?

 

Brittny Drye  13:45

Um, I mean, you know, you being you know, former journalist yourself, you get this, you get, like so many pitches in your email inbox.

 

Angela Tuell  13:53

Yeah.

 

Brittny Drye  13:54

And what really stands out, I would say like 90% of those are just blanket like, copy-paste press releases, they’re sending to the same 100 publishers

 

Angela Tuell  14:05

Every wedding journalist out there.

 

Brittny Drye  14:07

So when you can customize it, and just really look at my website and see the type of content we post and get to know the brand. Those are the pitches that stand out and you’re tailoring that pitch to the brand itself. And I mean, I can probably speak I think I’m, I feel confident in saying this on behalf of all journalists. That’s what we like to see. You know, of course, I got like, you know, it’s harder to do that. But for those titles that you really want to see a client on that is such key is to get to know the content and get to know the editor on a personal level because those are the pitches that are way more successful. You know, of course, like I try and read every press release, but it’s impossible and it’s really impossible to like to respond to every single one of them and Yeah, what gets me is like when they keep following up, I’m like, you didn’t have the – you didn’t make the time to look at my website. So –

 

Angela Tuell  15:08

Right, if you didn’t mention inclusivity at all, or how what you’re pitching, you know, has to have to do with that, too, then that’s…

 

Brittny Drye  15:18

Some of it is like such a reach. And they’re not even wedding-related. It’s, but they’ll follow up 15 times. And I’m like, Oh, my gosh, the constant struggle between, you know, PR and editors. It’s like, yeah, some are amazing. And we couldn’t do our job without them. And then you have others who just, you know…

 

Angela Tuell  15:37

Yes, yes. I feel my rule of thumb is one follow up and that’s it. And if some have said, you know, I do not like follow-ups, I have a separate, let you know, and note that like, they do not, like follow-ups. So I can’t imagine following up more than once.

 

Brittny Drye  15:51

You didn’t get the hint.

 

Angela Tuell  15:52

Oh, and after, a little bit…

 

Brittny Drye  15:54

If it’s a great fit, and it’s, you know, I don’t mind a follow-up, it’s just the, when you can’t look at my website first, and then you expect a response. That’s what kind of gets me.

 

Angela Tuell  16:04

Yeah, definitely, definitely. Something you just mentioned a little bit earlier and – is photography. And obviously, for weddings, especially, it’s key. Do you have advice for anyone taking photos that they Love Inc to feature?

 

Brittny Drye  16:18

Yeah, um, you know, kind of take a look at what we’ve featured in the past. And on our Instagram. We love emotional shots, I would say, you know, we’d like, of course, like the decor and detail shots are really important. But that kind of goes with, you know, any wedding title that you’re submitting to. But we do require editorial exclusivity, so it can’t have been featured in another publication. And we need high-resolution images. Of course, that’s for some reason, that’s a hard one for people to grasp.

 

Angela Tuell  16:54

Yes.

 

Brittny Drye  16:55

And we need you know, the vendor lists that like the full vendor list, so that we can you know, credit accordingly and or confirm equality-mindedness. But yeah, I mean, we, you know, because we feature so many different styles that we feature all types of photography styles. So definitely don’t be shy, just, you know, we have like a How to Submit link on our site. So I always encourage people to check that out first, to make sure that they’re ticking all the boxes before hitting that submit button.

 

Angela Tuell  17:26

Yeah. Do you ever go out and cover weddings yourselves? Or is it all from submissions?

 

Brittny Drye  17:32

Yeah, it’s all submissions. Photographers, mostly. We have a lot of couples who just like have followed us through their wedding planning process and now they’re like, oh, I want to be featured now. So between the photographers and couples, occasionally a planner will submit but yeah, that’s, it’s I wish I could go to all the weddings. Really fun job.

 

Angela Tuell  17:54

Yes. So what do you think is something more couples should focus on for their weddings that many do not? Or something that shouldn’t be as much of a focus?

 

Brittny Drye  18:05

Um, that was a great question, I think couples, and this sounds sacrilegious coming from a wedding editor, but they should focus less on trends. Because trends come and go, what really matters is that you are creating, you know, trends are there for like, ideas and inspiration. And they’re feeding, you know, it’s just, just like any other industry trend. But what’s important, you know, you want to look back on your day and just think that was so us.

 

Angela Tuell  18:33

Yeah.

 

Brittny Drye  18:34

Regardless of the trends that were going on, that was our love story. Put in the details. And so I really encourage couples to just kind of, you know, yeah, like, Yes, look, look at the trends, like find ideas, look at all the wedding websites and all the Pinterest, but definitely don’t lose sight of who you are as individuals and as a couple of don’t get caught up in it. Because that is what truly makes a wick when guests walk away and say that was so them. That’s what you want. That’s the reaction that you want. Not, you know, wow, look at that costume greeter. Like no one, you know, like, it’s cool and it makes for a wow moment, but like, no one’s going to – you’re not going to look back on your wedding day in 30 years, and just that that’s gonna be the thought.

 

Angela Tuell  19:25

That’s great advice. I love that. And you’re also a podcaster the host of Love Inc’s podcast, Inclusively Yours. What have been some of your favorite episodes?

 

Brittny Drye  19:36

Oh my gosh, we’ve had so many great episodes. One was with the name Leah Weinberg. She is, she was a former wedding planner. She authored a book and she really kind of like tackled the emotional side of wedding planning, which I don’t think is talked about enough, and how like, like your emotional health with yourself, with your partner, that sort of thing I like it was a conversation – that conversation was so great, because I haven’t really seen that talked about in, in wedding media before. So I really, really liked that one. I’m trying to see what else are…

 

Angela Tuell  20:21

We’ll definitely link to that in our show notes too, so that everyone listening can listen to that, if they’re interested.

 

Brittny Drye  20:26

Yeah, it was a good one, just because I, you know, like I said, it’s so easy to get lost in all the things, you know, and budgets. And though we do have some, like great episodes on budget, and finding, you know, venues within your budget and all that, it’s so easy to get caught up in all those like nuances of wedding planning and stressed out. And so, you know, really taking the time to check in with yourself, to check in with your partner. And that is that’s the marriage part, you know?

 

Angela Tuell  20:56

Right, right. And then you don’t maybe you don’t have that day happened, where it’s just a blur, and you’re tired. If you’ve if you take it a little bit more emotional, emotional care of yourself.

 

Brittny Drye  21:07

Yes, absolutely.

 

Angela Tuell  21:09

So what do you hope the future holds for Love Inc.?

 

Brittny Drye  21:13

So we, we just hit retail shelves, with our last issue, which was like, a career dream of mine. We got picked up by a huge magazine distributor. And we’re in you know, 40 different retailers across the US and Canada.

 

Angela Tuell  21:31

That is great. Congratulations!

 

Brittny Drye  21:33

Thank you. Thank you. So that was kinda like, the big one.

 

Angela Tuell  21:39

Like, where else can we do or go?

 

Brittny Drye  21:42

But I think just at this point, just growing it, because we are, I mean, the day-to-day is still just me. So I would love to grow it, get a, like a full-on sales team and a full-on editorial department. And, you know, we’re kind of I have, you know, a lot of freelancers who were, who I, you know, contract out to, but I would love to get to the point where just like, we’re like a full-on, full-time team working together instead of this like – I mean, it works they’re amazing. I love them. And I couldn’t do my job without them. But it wouldn’t be nice to like, have a commodity of like an actual office feeling, even if we are all remote, this kind of team feeling versus this piecemeal situation plus, so I think that would be kind of like my next goal. And really, like help us take it to that next step.

 

Angela Tuell  22:34

Yeah. So you know how you mentioned how everything was going digitally? And that was where you went a little bit earlier in your career. Were you surprised then back to print? I mean, obviously, you’re digital as well. But was that something you were not expecting, you know, initially?

 

Brittny Drye  22:47

Oh, yeah. So, we start with a blog. And then we were putting out digital issues. And our readers just kept asking, like, hey, where can I find this? Where can I find this? And I was like, Um okay, like, let’s try printing. So I just did it myself, like self-publishing.

 

Angela Tuell  23:04

Wow.

 

Brittny Drye  23:05

Found a little printer and printed like, you know, 1000 copies, sold them on the website. Did that for a couple of issues. And then somehow, an executive at Walmart came across it.

 

Angela Tuell  23:20

Really?

 

Brittny Drye  23:21

And connected with their distributor, and said, You know, we came across this magazine Love Inc., and we want to put it on our store shelves. And so the distributor emails me, and it’s so out of the blue. Like –

 

Angela Tuell  23:38

Yeah.

 

Brittny Drye  23:39

Angela, I kid you not I deleted the email, because I thought it was spam.

 

Angela Tuell  23:43

Oh, no, you didn’t.

 

Brittny Drye  23:47

Thank God, he emails, or messages me on LinkedIn. I was like, Oh, shit, like, this is real. Like, this is real. This is real. Like, this is everything. Like I couldn’t believe it. And so I had a conversation with him and learned a lot about kind of the process.

 

Angela Tuell  24:03

Yes.

 

Brittny Drye  24:04

And so yeah, we signed on with them. And they were then able to, you know, pitch us to every other retailer. So we got in, you know, like, Walgreens, CVS, Kroger, Target, Barnes and Noble. Like, I mean, all these different grocery stores and convenience stores and bookstores across the US and Canada. And so that was yeah, that was huge for us. So exciting. And now it’s just, you know, kind of, now we gotta like rise to the occasion. And –

 

Angela Tuell  24:38

Yes, yes. How many issues are you printing a month?

 

Brittny Drye  24:42

No, we’re only doing one a year at this point.

 

Angela Tuell  24:44

Oh, okay. Okay.

 

Brittny Drye  24:45

Yeah, just once.

 

Angela Tuell  24:46

I was like, yeah, that is a lot when you’re on your own.

 

Brittny Drye  24:49

Yeah. So one once a year. I’m hoping – the goal is to be quarterly. Like once I get that team built out. The goal is to be quarterly. But yeah, I mean, it’s been interesting, I think why it works for us is that we are kind of that niche target.

 

Angela Tuell  25:06

Yeah.

 

Brittny Drye  25:07

And it is representative of our community that has been, you know, not mainstream for so long and ignored by mainstream publications. And so, so it works and it’s needed and, and people want it. So we’ll see, you know, we’ll see how it plays out. Like, you know, it may be one of those things like we tried, and we did it for a few years. And it just didn’t make sense financially, which I hope is not the case. Because I love print. I’m a print girl like –

 

Angela Tuell  25:36

Yes, yes – me too. I feel you. I have to hold that in my hands.

 

Brittny Drye  25:42

But, but yeah, it’s fun. And I’m enjoying it. As we’re doing it now. Yeah.

 

Angela Tuell  25:48

That’s great. And you have updated content digitally all the time.

 

Brittny Drye  25:52

Yes, yeah. We update the blog several times a week, so you can always find fresh content on the blog.

 

Angela Tuell  25:58

Speaking of that, how can our listeners connect with you and Love Inc online?

 

Brittny Drye  26:03

Yes, you can find us at LoveIncMag.com, at LoveIncMag across all social media platforms, and find us in retailers all across the US and Canada. Our next issue is set to hit newsstands in October.

 

Angela Tuell  26:19

Wonderful. Thank you so much, Brittny.

 

Brittny Drye  26:21

Thank you, Angela. This is such a fun conversation.

 

Angela Tuell  26:27

That’s all for this episode of Media in Minutes, a podcast by Communications Redefined. Please take a moment to rate, review and subscribe to our show. We’d love to hear what you think. You can find more at CommunicationsRedefined.com/podcast. I’m your host, Angela Tuell. Talk to you next time.

In today’s episode, Angela speaks with “the woman leading the way to a more inclusive wedding industry,” Brittny Drye.  Listen to learn about her career start, current wedding trends, and future goals for brand, Love Inc.

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