Bridal magazines were once so lucrative that Condé Nast placed a big bet on the category in 2002 when it bought a similar publication, Modern Bride, from Primedia for $52 million; its sibling company at the time, Fairchild Publications, acquired another competitor, Elegant Bride, from Pace Communications in 2003. In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crash, Condé Nast shut down both titles.
Brides, the oldest bridal magazine in the United States, started in 1934 as a publication mailed free of charge to women whose wedding announcements appeared in newspaper society pages, according to “One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding,” by Rebecca Mead. Its original title was So You’re Going to Be Married.
Condé Nast acquired the magazine’s former publisher, Brides House, shortly before Samuel I. Newhouse Sr. bought a controlling interest in the company in 1959. Then titled The Bride’s Magazine, the publication fit in snugly among Vogue, Glamour and House & Garden. The name of the magazine was eventually shortened to Bride’s, and the apostrophe fell off in 2005.
The magazine ran its first article on same-sex ceremonies in 2003. Three years later, it went online. In 2012, it became the first Condé Nast publication to be led by an African American, when Keija Minor was named editor in chief.
Under Ms. Minor, who stepped down in 2017, and her successor, Ms. Gooder, Brides expanded its digital presence. Brides.com had 3.6 million unique visitors in March, more than double the number in 2015, according to comScore.
The magazine’s new owner, Dotdash, was a repository of answers to online queries like “how to beer-batter chicken” in its previous incarnation, About.com. Started in the late 1990s, About.com was bought by The New York Times in 2005. It was sold to IAC, whose chairman is the billionaire media mogul Barry Diller, in 2012.