In the Spotlight : Shira Savada

I know, I know . . . she sounds intimidating, like some fabulous international purveyor of something you don’t yet own but are really going to want. As the Real Weddings Editor of Martha Stewart Weddings, she is kiiiinda a big deal. But the reality? She is also super humble, very talented, warm, funny, and genuine . . . a good Maryland-girl-gone-to-Manhattan, who remembers her roots and can also hoof it in the Big Apple. Thought you’d love some more goss on her . . .

I’m most at home when I’m . . .

SS: in sweatpants and a hoodie (must have pockets, and probably come from J.Crew or Gap), hanging out with my friends.

What’s one name that if it came across your Inbox, you’d wig out?

SS: George Clooney. I love that man. He’s intelligent, talented, a humanitarian, and not to mention a gorgeous, gorgeous gent. That little squinty smiley thing he does makes me melt. Not sure why he’d be emailing me, but a message from him is welcome in my inbox anytime.

What’s one of your favorite blogs, or what interesting blog is in your RSS feed?

SS: I have far too many blog subscriptions in my RSS feed. Guessing the exact number would be like trying to figure out how many jellybeans are in a jar. One of my recent favorites is Letterheady, which focuses exclusively on notable old letterhead. I love typography, handwritten letters (though typewritten ones come in a close second), and particularly vintage papery so this blog is right up my alley. It’s so easy to spend an entire day perusing the archives of amazing old letterheads. And of course, it’s great inspiration for wedding invitations!

What do you think about the styling trend in the wedding industry . . . the mock shoots, the faux weddings, the propped-out gigs that mimic wedding magazine editorials?

SS: For the most part, I think it’s a great way for vendors to showcase their talent. Particularly in the off-season, or if they’ve got great ideas that just don’t fit into the weddings they’re working on. But they should definitely serve a purpose. Last year on The Bride’s Guide , I introduced a special series that ties into the color palette of each issue. It initially started as a handful of projects (like a custom headpiece or invitation) but now it includes some styled shoots. It’s a great way to tie into the story in the magazine and share amazing ideas and the talent within our industry.

Teach us one random bit of industry jargon from publishing world.

SS: As a magazine journalism major, I’ve got a lot of good ones up my sleeve. I’ll give you a good pair! “FOB” is short for front-of-book, and that’s the front of the magazine where the stories tend to be a bit shorter and there are ads in between. On the flipside, there’s “the well”, which is the string of back-to-back stories later on in the magazine that is 100% original content (no ads in between) and typically full-page images.

Hollywood calls and they’re going to make a movie of your life. What’s your opening musical score (or the top hit on the soundtrack?)

SS: Oy, this is the hardest question! Some of my favorite albums are soundtracks. A definite must would be Adele’s version of “Make You Feel My Love” because I listen to it all the time and it’s easily one of my favorites. Though I’d pepper in some fun tracks too, like something by Republic of Loose (a crazy Irish band I’ve been following for a few years), Vampire Weekend (a magic ingredient to any soundtrack), and maybe an original song by Ben Folds or John Legend.

You’re up against your next issue’s deadline, and you’re pulling all-nighter. What’s your vice or fix?

SS: Cherry Coke Zero and an awesome playlist on the iPod is pretty much all I’ll need.

What’s one (fun/weird/crazy) thing we wouldn’t know about you?

SS: I’m still obsessed with and actively involved in the summer camp I’ve been going to since I was 7-years-old. I take a week of vacation from the office to run a program for 6- to 9-year-olds each summer, and go upstate a couple of weekends to help out if I can. I haven’t missed one summer (though I obviously can’t go for the full two months anymore) 20 years—and counting! It’s totally my Neverland, where I go so I don’t have to grow up.

What is one un-glam thing about what you do . . .

SS: Definitely having to tell brides that we won’t be able to feature their wedding. It’s my least favorite part of the job. Always will be. In fact, I’d rather do my expense reports and that is totally un-glam!

What’s the most rewarding thing about your business?

SS: Being able to help brides. Since I handle the real wedding submissions, many times I’m talking to brides looking for that one special touch or with no idea where to even start looking. It’s great when I can suggest a vendor to work with, a website to check out (like Etsy seems to come up a lot), or an item that might fit the bill.

Five of your top favorite images from 2010?

Though I’m tempted to include a photo from The Zach Galifianakis Swimsuit Calendar that ran in November’s issue of Vanity Fair, I’m going to go in a different direction. And since there’s no way I can choose my fave wedding images of the year—wanna pick a favorite child? Thought not–here are five non-wedding snapshots.

Frank Ockenfels’s portrait of the Mad Men cast. I’ve been smitten with the show since the first episode. I love how true to the era it plays and the entire aesthetic. In this pic, I love the minimal set and furniture, the composition of the actors, and the lighting.

{Laurie Cinotto}

I have come to terms with the fact that one day I very well may be a crazy cat lady. I only have one now, so still sane. But in the meantime I’m an avid follower of The Itty Bitty Kitty Committee. The blog shows the daily doings of Laurie’s various litters of foster kitties. In 2010, the kittens helped out with the annual fundraiser (nearly $40,000) to benefit the local Humane Society. Every photo on the site tugs at my strings, but I love this kitty, ready to “answer” phones for the faux-telethon.

I am completely captivated by the images in IKEA’s new cookbook, shot by Carl Kleiner and styled by Evalina Bratell. And i’m completely crushed that it’s only available in Sweden. But the images—with the ingredients geometrically arranged and shot beautifully on simple backgrounds of solid colors–are a welcome departure from the normal cookbook. I couldn’t choose just one, so here’s a quad of my four favorites.

{via Decor8}

Purple’s my favorite color. And when I saw this photo I was instantly drawn to it. I love the work-in-progress and creativity is showcases.

I freely admit this is not a great photo. I took it. In a bathroom. On my phone. But it makes me laugh every time I see it and it puts me in a good mood. Yes, it’s a paper towel dispenser. But it’s smiling! Just a reminder to smile and be happy as much as possible.


  1. Alison Hotchkiss

    Shira, you are awesome! Nice work Calder you got the true essence out of miss Shira

    • Calder Clark Designs

      Thanks a bunch! She’s rad with a capital R.

  2. bev larowe

    I am so glad people are finding out about you what I always knew. You are the best.

  3. Gayle Brooker

    Shira that is such a great photo of the paper towel dispenser!! Seriously made me laugh out loud! Thanks for sharing.

  4. sobrina

    what a cool interview — thanks for sharing! I love the image she chose of the ikea cookbook!