Over the last month, I have been the lucky recipient of the Autumn 2013 issues of three top asian bridal and wedding magazines for UK brides. Here's my review of how Asiana Wedding, Asian Bride and Khush Wedding compare!
The Front CoverWhich of the front covers is the most striking to you? When I first got my copy of Asiana Wedding I was really taken by the green beauty look and pearl jewelley, but when you put all three magazines together like this, Asian Bride with that beautiful red and gold Manish Malhotra outfit has to be the standout for me.
This is always said about Asian fashion magazines in the UK, but it's sad that, styling aside, none of the cover models really look asian.
QuantityYou can probably see from the photos that Khush Wedding, at 217 pages, is a little lacking in page volume compared to Asiana Wedding (450 pages) and Asian Bride (448 pages). Khush Wedding is slightly cheaper though at £3.95, compared to the £4.50 price tag of Asiana and Asian Bride.
I found a lot of the products and suppliers featured were London based, especially the venue ideas. They ran a feature on engagement venues, 7 out of 8 were in London and most of the wedding venue ideas were in the south of the UK too.
In terms of advice, compared to the other two magazines, a lot of the articles feel like advertorials (content sponsored by, or written specifically to showcase Asiana's advertisors). Again, there's nothing wrong with this, but personally I like to see more of a balance of articles which offer insights from multiple sources rather than just one advertisor.
I've highlighted the advertisors in red in this photo from the content pages of the mag:
Prices of outfits and services are scarce within asian wedding magazines in general, but I like the feature by RDC about their wedding outfit packages starting with the "silver" package consisting of bridals starting at £1,200.
In terms of beauty, there were lots of looks to choose from, but like the front cover, the models used weren't very asian looking! Here's one of the pages from Asiana Wedding's bridal beauty portfolios section:
Where the other two magazines stopped at honeymoon destination guides, Khush included some inspiration on home styling too. In terms of suppliers, to me, Khush wedding feels like it covers a wider area of the UK than Asiana does - I noticed a lot of Birmingham-based clothing stores and even a wedding venue option in Manchester!
As well as fashion inspiration from their advertisers, they also had a feature on the key trends from Indian Bridal Fashion week which I liked a lot:
When it came to advice, I thought it was good to see a bit of coverage for the "not fun" parts of planning a wedding, including wedding finances - I feel a lot of magazines focus too much on the dream element and not enough on the reality of it all! They balanced this out with their two "real wedding" features which sounded and looked perfect, but perhaps I think they need a few more real weddings to showcase different ways of celebrating.
I've mentioned the light-skinned look of the models on all three magazine covers and in Asiana's beauty portfolios, and although the same was to be seen in Khush Wedding and in Asian Bride, with Khush, I felt the models were slightly more bronzed like in this jewellery feature:
By the time you've flicked through 90 pages of adverts to the contents page, you find the articles and advice are presented in shorter "snippet"-style pages rather than full pages of text, almost with a scrapbook feel.
Like Khush Wedding, this issue of Asian Bride hasn't shied away from talking about the less glamourous aspects of wedding planning, but I felt Asian Bride went into a bit more detail in this respect and I liked that.
Their fashion inspiration coverage was probably the most comprehensive out of all three magazines - excluding paid advertisements, Asian Bride offered the most coverage of asian fashion catwalk shows including Pakistan Fashion Week 4 which was also covered on Asian Fashion Blog :)
One big negative for this magazine comes in the form of a complaint I saw from a photographer on Facebook - a "real bride" photo she took appeared in the magazine in one of their scrapbook-style pages and she wasn't credited in any way. From a reader perspective that's just a small thing, and maybe it's a one-off or worse, commonplace for this type of thing to happen, but it didn't give me a great impression of the magazine.
So...which was best?I'm sitting on the fence about this one - there are positives and negatives for all three magazines, whichever you buy you'll no doubt find something to inspire you for your big day! I do however have a list of things I'd like to see more of in these magazines:
What I'd like to see more of...Maybe I'm not quite the target market for these bridal magazines, but if I was using these magazines to plan my wedding today, the following would be on my wishlist:
- more asian-looking models
- prices of services and suppliers
- outfit comparisons - bridal outfits on the catwalk and how they are altered and styled on a real bride
- more real weddings, and not just the ones with huge budgets and where everything was perfect - I'd be reassured to hear a story from a bride who didn't get her first choice venue/make-up artist/dress/whatever and still had an amazing day
- more coverage for suppliers across the UK