Story from the Trinidad Express Newspaper, Woman Magazine: Sunday 29th June, 2014
Caribbean Belle WEDDINGS — a bi-annual magazine produced in Trinidad & Tobago targeted to couples planning a wedding in the Caribbean — has recently been granted the exclusive rights to carry Martha Stewart content. This means that Caribbean Belle WEDDINGS is the only publication from Trinidad & Tobago authorised to carry “Good Things From Martha Stewart.” The deal was recently negotiated between the magazine and The New York Times, who were seeking a magazine in the Caribbean to carry this content.
The magazine’s latest issue featuring an “Ask Martha” column is indeed a stunner. Fashion designer Charu Lochan-Dass (CLD), who’s currently heating up the regional and international fashion runways, has designed a wedding gown (her first) to be featured on the cover. And what a cover it turned out to be! CLD’s gown has a classic/vintage feel reflective of CLD’s signature style, incorporating that hint of sensuality with a scooped back. Another salient feature is an exclusive interview with former Miss Trinidad & Tobago and “real bride”, Danielle Jones, whose wedding is set to broadcast on Say Yes to the Dress on TLC this September.
It has been an interesting year otherwise, for Caribbean Belle WEDDINGS. The magazine has won Gold for Best Overall Magazine Design at the Caribbean Advertising Federation (CAF) ADDY Awards 2014, while its sister magazine, Caribbean BELLE, snagged silver. The CAF is a member of the American Advertising Federation (AAF), which represents thousands of advertising companies in the United States and the Caribbean. The ADDY Awards are sponsored by AAF and are the advertising industry’s most prestigious competition recognising creative excellence.
The Martha Stewart acquisition reflects the overall expansion and success of the Caribbean BELLE brand. Caribbean Belle WEDDINGS has indeed made history as the first regional glossy to sign such an exclusive deal with a global figure.
By Janelle De Souza – as published in the Trinidad and Tobago Newsday (Woman’s Weekly – Mentality) – Sunday 29th June, 2014.
With a background in both literature and printing, the next logical step for Aliyyah Eniath was publishing. The result? Caribbean BELLE and its offshoot, Caribbean Belle WEDDINGS, two of the most successful regional magazines to come out of Trinidad and Tobago.
The magazines, as well as the woman in charge of them, speak volumes for quality and style as seen by the recognition of the Caribbean Advertising Federation (CAF). Caribbean Belle WEDDINGS won Gold for Best Overall Magazine Design at the CAF ADDY Awards 2014, while, Caribbean BELLE, won silver.
Regional organisations have not been the only ones to recognise the publications’ excellence.
Belle WEDDINGS recently signed off an agreement with The New York Times to carry Martha Stewart content, exclusively – Caribbean Belle WEDDINGS is now the only publication from Trinidad and Tobago authorised to carry “Good Things From Martha Stewart.”
Eniath said the New York Times was searching for a Caribbean magazine to carry Martha Stewart content. Stewart is well known for her exquisite décor ideas, crafts, and gardening expertise, as well as her gourmet menus.
“Based on our publications’ quality and vision, the New York Times approached us as it believed Belle was the best vehicle in the region to carry Martha Stewart content. It just fit perfectly with the brand. I had always read and enjoyed her columns, and was happy and pleased for the opportunity,” said Eniath.
“With such an international figure associated with the magazine, it would be even more attractive to both readers and advertisers. The Martha Stewart acquisition reflects the overall expansion and success of the Caribbean BELLE brand. Caribbean Belle WEDDINGS has indeed made history as the first regional glossy to sign such an exclusive deal with a global figure,” she continued.
With such high praise, it’s hard to believe Caribbean BELLE was launched only eight years ago.
“I always loved magazines. Nine years ago there weren’t many many high quality publications so I decided to tap into a niche market. I wasn’t aware of the number of local magazines that came and went so I started it with faith,” Eniath said.
Eniath comes from a printing background, which gave her an insight into the industry. In addition, she studied Literature at The University of the West Indies. She said her decision to combine her strengths and the move into publishing seemed “organic.”
Initially, Safari Publications launched Caribbean BELLE that focused on the region’s fashion industry, covering fashion shows and featuring Caribbean designers. It also promoted other creative people from countries such as Barbados, Jamaica and, of course, Trinidad and Tobago, such as chefs and entertainers.
One issue per year was dedicated to weddings. However, the wedding issue was so popular, that the company decided to create a dedicated biannual wedding magazine to appeal to the market.
And so, Caribbean Belle WEDDINGS was born. Coming into being in 2012, the magazine quickly cornered the market. It targets couples planning a wedding in the Caribbean by highlighting fabulous weddings and breaking them down by décor, venue, flowers, cakes and menus.
“The point is to be helpful to brides. It’s basically a wedding planner for a gorgeous wedding on any budget,” said Eniath.
She was proud to note that top photographers from across the region were handpicked to showcase the beautiful weddings on which they work, which also allows for the various vendors to be highlighted.
The work of award-winning Canadian Wedding Photographer Dmitri Markine has also been featured in the magazine as he shot photographs of a newly married couple at locations across the country.
“There are so many wonderful photographers in the Caribbean producing spectacular work that it’s difficult to choose at times,” said Eniath. “They really are our partners in creating the wonderful imagery that is reproduced in print.”
The magazine’s latest issue features as “Ask Martha” column, as well as local designer Charu Lochan Dass, who designed her first wedding dress exclusively for the cover of Volum 3, Issue 1 of Belle WEDDINGS.
In addition, the issue features as exclusive interview with Miss Trinidad and Tobago Universe 2004, Danielle Jones, who talks about her wedding which would also be featured on the hit TLC series “Say Yes to the Dress” this September.
Wedding wisdom and practical solutions for all your pressing questions.
Q: I love the way my diamond engagement ring catches the light when it’s clean. How do I keep it that way? Is it a bad idea to shower with it on?
A: Not only will bathing with your ring not hurt it, it’ll help, says Martha Stewart Weddings senior style editor Melissa Colgan: “A little sudsing keeps it sparkling.” Just be mindful that heavy conditioners and soaps can gunk up the setting, so be sure to rinse your ring finger with fresh water post-shower. To maintain a diamond’s shine and keep the prongs clear, mix a few drops of mild dish soap with water, rub it onto the ring with a soft-bristle toothbrush, and rinse. Done monthly, this DIY solution works as well as store-bought jewelry cleaner (but only on diamonds, sapphires and rubies; softer stones like emeralds and amethysts may become damaged by brushing). Visit your jewelry store once a year for an ultrasonic cleaning as well. If that’s where the ring was purchased, the service is usually free, and, Colgan adds, “the jeweler will also inspect the stone, band and setting to check that nothing is awry.”
Q: My fiancé and I have been dating for eight years, but our families have never met. We’re getting everyone together in three weeks for the first time. Is a simple dinner OK, or should we plan more of a to-do?
A: No need to stress out or get too fancy: “A simple dinner sounds perfect—emphasis on the simple,” says Martha Stewart Weddings executive editor Eleni N. Gage. The goal is to have your families feeling relaxed enough to mingle and chat freely. One way to do that, Gage says, is by making the meal something of an activity, which can help break the ice (think barbecue at an Argentine restaurant or dim sum at a Chinese one). You could also extend the length of a traditional supper so people have more of a chance to talk —suggest a round of appetizers to share or dessert for the table. If you’re hosting at home, set out wine and cheese before bringing out the lasagna (again, keep it simple—no sweating over soufflés for the first in-laws encounter). And if both sets of relatives are coming from out of town, hand them a list of fun things to do in the area as a nice gesture. “Who knows?” Gage adds. “By the end of the evening, they might be planning excursions together!”
Q: I’d like to introduce our wedding party at the reception, but my fiancé thinks it’s cheesy. Is there a good alternative?
A: While we enjoy watching goofy videos of over-the-top grand entrances, we know not every couple is looking to be the next YouTube sensation. And if one of you is more reserved than the other, prancing out to something from Jock Jams isn’t going to add up to the wedding of your dreams. Nevertheless, “there are other ways to give your attendants their due,” says Weddings contributing editor David Stark, of David Stark Design and Production in New York City. He suggests taking a cue from Broadway playbills by including a who’s who on the backs of dinner menus left at each place setting. “Print small bios of each player alongside their picture, but use candids or illustrations instead of head shots and quirky text in lieu of a serious résumé,” he says. “It’s a fun way to introduce your ‘cast.’”
Q: My mom wants me to send announcements to relatives who weren’t invited to our wedding, but I’ve never gotten one. Is it appropriate to do so?
A: “It’s less common in this age of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, but popping announcements in the mail after the fact is still the polite way to let people know that you got hitched,” says Weddings senior editor Julie Vadnal. It’s more personal than an email blast and a nice idea to reach out to those relatives and acquaintances who weren’t on the guest list but would want to be informed of your marriage. Mailed announcements, which can be as simple as a handwritten note or as formal as a printed card, are also a great way to spread the word if you eloped or had a very small gathering. And in case you were wondering, anyone who gets one is in no way obligated to send a gift.
Ideally, you’d mail these the day after your wedding; if you’re leaving for your honeymoon right away, have them stamped and ready to go, and ask a friend to drop them in the postbox for you. If that’s not possible, send them out within three months of the red-letter date, before the happy news becomes old news.
Q: My fiancé and I aren’t having a traditional wedding – we’re going to the courthouse and then out to dinner with our parents. I’m not wearing a white gown, but I love the romance of a bird cage veil. Will I look like an idiot in one?
A: Not at all! In fact, Martha Stewart Weddings associate fashion editor Carrie Goldberg says she prefers a bird cage with a knee-length dress or suit, rather than a floor-grazing gown, because the short veil/short dress combo is more proportional. The key to pulling off the look, Carrie says, is to select a headpiece that relates to the colors and fabric that you’re wearing from the neck down. Which means, for example, that you don’t have to automatically default to a white veil just because it’s your wedding. Consider a headpiece that picks up on whatever shades are in your outfit. Or, if you love the way two contrasting hues look together, go ahead and pair them, but make sure the materials are complementary: If you’re wearing a tweed suit, for instance, opt for a headpiece with leather trim, not gauzy flowers.
Q: How do we decide whom to invite to our engagement party? I’d like to include people who might not be invited to the wedding since that will be a small destination affair.
A: Originally, engagement fêtes were intimate events, hosted by the bride’s parents and meant only for relatives and close friends; it was a no-brainer that everyone who attended would also be at the big day. Now, the etiquette is changing as more couples are hosting their own larger gatherings. It’s still easiest if everyone at the kickoff celebration makes the list later, so no one feels awkward or left out. But, as Martha Stewart Weddings senior editor Julie Vadnal says, “It’s OK to bend this rule if you’re having a tiny wedding. Just be clear that this is the case, or people will be left waiting in vain for their invites.”
Q: My two daughters are marrying seven weeks apart, and they’re each other’s maid of honor. They both live away from home, and the wedding is in our home town. Is it OK to have one joint bridal shower? And can they serve as hosts for each other?
A: Logistically, combining both events into one would make sense. “But the sticky issue here is with the guest list,” warns Vadnal, who points out that having a two-for-one shower works only if everyone who comes is invited to both weddings; otherwise, partygoers will feel compelled to bring presents for a bride whose celebration they’re not attending. In the case of your daughters, they do share family, but their friend groups may not overlap. If that’s true, one way to work around the situation is for you to host a joint, family-only shower in your hometown, so relatives (and the brides) travel for just one party. Then, for those who aren’t going to both nuptials, “Separate low-key celebrations, like fun girls’ dinners or brunches or a day at the beach, can be organized by each maid of honor,” Vadnal suggests. Those, your daughters can absolutely host for each other.
(Reported by Jaime Buerger) Got a question? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Distributed by The New York Times syndicate.