Our Core Values

Manhattan Bride, Fall/Winter 2015"Core Values" are what a business  — or any organization — stands for. They flow from the founder, are embodied by the staff, and reflected in the products and services delivered. You can see our core values in Manhattan Bride magazine, this website, manhattanbride.com, and in our interactions with brides, advertisers, and suppliers.

Our core values are based on our belief, first, that "Love is Generosity"Full and Rich and Multi-Faceted — and that in this demanding time, “Excellence is Acceptable.” We strive to offer just that to you, as we welcome you to our pages and to our website ... and here are our core values. — Rick Bard, Editor & Publisher

LOVE IS GENEROSITY … Since our very first issue, we’ve been publishing articles unique to bridal magazines.
We’ve been featuring different charities, various wedding traditions, and more. Here’s why.

I began working with special charities while I was still in college. After starting my publishing company in 1979, I launched and then ran a charitable foundation for almost 20 years. During that time, I had the pleasure — and the challenge — of hosting over 40 major charity dinner dances and events, benefiting homeless children and breast cancer research. In 2000, I launched Manhattan Bride, a magazine about love and commitment.

Given my decades-long background in charity, one challenge was how to present ways, you, our couples, could Extend your love to others and watch it grow.” That became the subtitle for our every-issue column Projects Together — where we focus on a specific charity you can get involved with. We’ve seen many couples even learn how to care for each other in new and special ways as they worked together to help others in need.

In our upfront “Something Old, Something New” articles, we ask our bridal vendors to explain how they generously provide extra service to their couples, just as we do in our Real Weddings section, talking with couples about how they and their vendors create a gracious wedding experience for friends and families.

In these special ways, at Manhattan Bride we celebrate your love and do our best to help you create a more joyous and richer wedding and life together. We hope that you, like so many brides over the years, will also call it “Inspiring.”

LOVE IS MUTUAL SUPPORT … We incorporate this theme of generosity throughout our magazine and website.
With each issue’s “Honeymoon Contest,” for example, we select winners who exemplify the power of Mutual Support. In our most recent issue, our early-20’s winning groom was fighting cancer. While in the hospital, he fell in love with our winning bride, his nurse, and she fell in love with him! After his cancer was in remission, he returned her inspiring kindness when she temporarily questioned her commitment to the stress of the oncology ward, by helping renew her faith in her everyday work. Throughout each issue, we strive to present couples who personify such support.
LOVE IS TRADITION … We present a special “Traditions” article in each issue.
Our Traditions articles explore how our couples can celebrate the multi-cultural nature of our region. They also offer ideas about how to add even more meaning to their weddings by incorporating age-old traditions.
LOVE IS FOR ALL … When we started Manhattan Bride in 2000, it seemed every bridal magazine featured only one type of bride.
Those other magazines filled their pages with light-skinned white models. But even then, our sophisticated Manhattan-inspired bride, wherever she lived, knew reality and wanted to see diversity. So right from our first issue, we featured Caucasian, African-American, Latin-American, and Asian-American models. Then we would alternate single-page fashion shots of our different models — so as you turned page after page, the intended diversity of our magazine was very apparent.
LOVE IS EXCITEMENT … Now, having established our celebration of diversity, we’re going back to my real love as a photographer.
We’re creating exciting Multi-Page Features with a vibrant visual story line. It’s what I did before starting Manhattan Bride, in many award-winning shootings. I was lucky enough to go to Tahiti, Paris, Morocco, the Amazon jungles, Jamaica, Mexico, the Bahamas, and more, with top models, dancers, actresses, and even several beauty queens, including Miss USA, Miss France, and Miss Russia.

At Manhattan Bride, we’ve started doing much the same, with themes important  to you and all our brides. We choose Special Shooting Locations — local wedding venues, from rustic to formal, where we showcase different ballrooms, outdoor gardens, romantic ceremony settings, and eye-catching décor. We present Expertly Styled Fashions — the newest gowns, glamorous hairdos, and makeup styles both natural and glam. We also include all the Accessories — from creative bouquets and dramatic headpieces to beauty-enhancing jewelry.

We also put each of these new multi-page fashion features on our website, so their rich range of possibilities can be accessed anywhere, anytime — and we’re thrilled they’ve earned rave reviews from both brides and wedding vendors.
LOVE IS LOVE … The Supreme Court legalized gay marriages across the United States.
After that decision, people asked how we were going to write about it in Manhattan Bride. But I did not see a need for us to write anything. I’ve been friends with gay married couples since the early 70’s whom I’ve known from working in the publishing industry and from living on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. I don’t feel our magazine needs to comment on a decision that sanctioned what many of us have recognized for decades and which we’ve been featuring in Manhattan Bride almost since our first issue over 16 years ago.

Before same-sex marriage was even legal in New York, we published Real Wedding stories celebrating gay couples who got married in the area. Manhattan Bride — as both a magazine and as a website — celebrates love and commitment, and the Supreme Court decision, while historically profound, has no direct impact on our magazine that’s been covering gay, straight, inter-racial, inter-cultural, and inter-religious weddings since our first issue.

We always did and always will celebrate weddings. But who is getting married and who they are marrying is of little concern to us. It’s love and commitment that we celebrate.

These beliefs also shape how we work with our brides, advertisers, and suppliers.

LOVE IS SOLVING PROBLEMS … In each issue’s editorial, we acknowledge that wedding planning is joyous, exciting, and also maddening.
As one of our brides, you know all the challenges, whether it’s choosing your floral designs, cake, menu, gown, or music. Meanwhile, you’re trying to keep aware of everyone’s wishes and comments, and to stay within your budget.

We view each of these challenges — which are often accompanied by heated discussions for and against various decisions, both big and small — as a chance to work out and even reinvent new life-long relationships with your groom, both your families, and your friends. We believe that this is the perfect time to establish how you will solve problems together.
LOVE IS KEEPING HIGH STANDARDS … For those presented in our pages.
Based on thousands of interactions with bridal vendors over the years, we’ve gained many insights about selecting the most qualified ones to feature in our pages. Because we work with so many bridal vendors to create their ads, their profiles on our website, and their articles, we get to know them. Are they  knowledgeable about the industry and their craft? Do they follow through on their commitments? Can they be relied on? Are they professional?

If we can answer yes to all these questions, we are proud to continue featuring them in our pages and on our site. We’ve formalized such insights with Manhattan Bride’s yearly “Best Of” awards, listing these special vendors.

But if the answer is no, we do not continue working with them. In one early issue, for example, we worked with a beauty advertiser who did the makeup on one of our models. When we asked her to explain how she did the makeup for the photos we would put in the magazine, she was very unsure about what she had done and could not describe the process.

Although we had already signed a contract for a second ad, we felt she did not exhibit sufficient knowledge of her craft, and so did not want to put her in the second issue. Our feeling is that, if we do not want to feature a bridal vendor in our articles — we should not take their money for an ad. This beauty stylist even sued us to stay in the magazine. But we did not include her in any other issues.
LOVE IS HIGH STANDARDS FOR US … as we create each issue of Manhattan Bride.
From our first issue, we’ve always said that, in this demanding marketplace, “Excellence is Acceptable.” As an example, in our early issues, photos were still captured on film and the inks on press were still adjusted by hand, potentially resulting in wider-than-desired variations in colors on a given page. The age of digital film and precisely controlled computer-monitored presses was not yet upon us. As I still do with every issue, I was on press to approve every page before saying, “Match those colors for the print run.” The run itself would take several hours and I would then go to another press to approve the next section of the magazine. In one of those early issues, one ad did not print as well as the version I had approved.

When I returned to the office and saw the final copies, I called the advertiser and said his ad was free. He told me he hadn’t even seen the issue yet. But I told him it did not matter. Since it was not up to our standards, it was free. They've been with us for over 12 years now.

LOVE IS EXTENDING YOURSELF … It is always thoughtful for our brides and grooms to offer assistance to each other.
Likewise, based on over 35 years of working with some of the most successful companies in the tri-state area, including hundreds of bridal suppliers — we offer assistance to our advertisers. Having seen many great marketers at work, we offer ideas and insights to help our advertisers, while also offering the highest possible level of service.

One of our venues, for example, emailed us with an important change he wanted on his web profile. Could it be done that day? I was in the middle of running to locations all over the city to photograph the all-important bridal fashion shows (which last about 10 hours a day for five days straight). I couldn’t get to the office. So I used my cell phone to log onto our site while in a cab on the way to the next show, started working on the update, and then uploaded all his requested changes from my cell while in the photographers’ pit at that next show. He has been with us over 12 years.

Another time, a bride called us after having problems with an advertiser we had worked with for years. We spoke to the bridal vendor about ways to straighten out the situation, even suggesting he offer the bride a discount, which we would cover by cutting payments on one or more of his ads. He called the bride and they worked everything out.

LOVE IS OFFERING ASSISTANCE … Through real-world marketing insights and unique presentations.
One of our stationery advertisers, for example, was getting numerous calls from our brides, but not enough were booking. We learned that when our brides would call, the vendor was not sending any samples and was only giving them his prices, which they presumably would write on a piece of paper near the phone.

After reaching his competitors and receiving all their samples and brochures — our brides would have nothing on hand from him except that piece of paper with his prices, if they could still find it. We encouraged him to create a mailing package and to send samples, and soon he was converting a large number of calls into sales.

“What’s special about Manhattan Bride is that you don’t offer just the ad alone,” one of our floral advertisers told us. “You also offer a level of service that the others just don’t. The others call me to advertise with them, but they only care about getting the ad. Instead, you want to learn about what we offer, so you can best present us to your brides.”

“Of all my print partners, you really do the best job,” said another one of our advertisers, a venue. “Your product delivers and you step up the most as a partner. I really appreciate the work I see you and your staff do and it’s great working with you.”

As I said in introducing our core values, in this demanding time, we believe that “Excellence is Acceptable,” and we strive to offer just that in all ways.