Here Comes the Bride (A Paid Advertisement)

Now you can pay for prominence. Wedding announcements, long a measure of social clout when prestige and social standing determined the amount of copy and the size of the photographs allotted to the happy couple, are going to become paid advertisements in the Dallas Times Herald. No longer does lineage determine linage.

A small 2 1/2-by-3-inch wedding story with a picture, for instance, will cost $70. A larger story, which would list some personal facts about the couple and describe the wedding decor, will cost $315, with a large picture. Prices range from a simple engagement announcement for $35, up to a full-page wedding story with a price “quoted upon request.”

The Herald began planning its wedding coverage change about four months ago and started advertising the change in late April. Executive director Ken Johnson says, “It’s just got to where we were trying to run so many wedding stories on Sunday that some of them were pushed back into the following week. This way we can guarantee space for the stories.”

Publisher Tom Johnson said changing the bride policy “took as much courage as any other policy change I’ve made since coming to the Times Herald.”

The Herald is joining two other major Texas newspapers, the Houston Post and the Houston Chronicle, in charging for wedding stories. Dallas News Trend section editor Lucille Enix says the News currently has no plans to charge for wedding stories, but there is considerable speculation that the News is merely waiting to see if there if any reaction to the Herald’s new policy before adopting the same policy itself.

The Herald’s wedding story ad rate is about one-third less than the paper’s regular retail advertising rate. Although now wedding coverage will at least begin to pay for itself, Johnson said, the ad revenues probably won’t completely cover the expense of publishing the stories. For those who buy wedding stories, the Herald is throwing in one bonus – ten “complimentary copies.”

Anyway, now we can see how fast some people are climbing.


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