In the Spotlight : Melissa Bigner


{CS Nelson Photography}

I’m sure y’all already know at least a teensy bit about Melissa Bigner, Charleston’s own disarmingly charming redhead editor/writer/dreamer and general bon vivant. I for one greatly admire her fresh approach to the magazines she’s behind, her effortless way with conversation, and her modern-day gentility. Enjoy more gossip from her below! (Also, I’ve tiled some of her favorite images from the past throughout as a reflection of what she loves).

A few quick sentences about you, your business, your inherent you-ness:
MB: I spend half the year attempting to employ exceptional manners while acting as the dressed-in-white editor of Charleston Weddings Magazine. The other six months, my everyday manners and I slip back into flip-flops while I serve as the roaming senior editor of Charleston Magazine and Charleston Home Magazine. During that time I also take on the fabulous flotsam and jetsam freelance work that comes my way: photo styling homes for shoots, writing who-knows-what, producing and art-directing photo shoots, editing this-and-that … it’s all par for the course. I’ve worked for mags like Southern Living, Southern Accents, Cottage Living, Coastal Living, Budget Travel, and more; and written books for HGTV, TLC, Cooking Light, Better Homes & Gardens, Moon Handbooks, Fodor’s, and on. My latest is a coffee table book, Southern Bouquets.


I’m most at home when I’m  . . .
MB: Outside of myself…meaning usually in jeans and a tee, and either outdoors marveling at something, laughing with friends and family, crafting, reading, running, rowing, playing, or just in everyday awe of some little bit.

{Peter Frank Edwards}

What’s one name that if it came across your Inbox, you’d wig out?
MB: I am honestly horrible with names, so I think my blood pressure is safe. And after J-school, lots of friends found work at cool mags and sites and so on, so a killer address doesn’t tend to rock me too much either. I have to say a note from my niece or nephew or Danish cousins or a long lost pal freaks me because I love hearing from them!

{Peter Frank Edwards}
What’s one of your favorite blogs, or what interesting blog is in your RSS feed?
MB: MAJOR CONFESSION: I am not a blog follower! I am an old-fashioned magazine and book and fresh air addict. So if I am online, I ADORE online mags like nonpareilmag.com or lonnymag.com. (I used to love Mila’s Daydreams Blog before she stopped posting, and I follow my pal Holly’s NothingButBonfires.com blog when we’ve been out of touch for a while.) Otherwise I tend toward offline imagery outside regular wedding fare as it really stirs my imagination. Seriously…the only subscription I have is a “membership” to National Geographic and I pore over the Roost and Anthropologie catalogs as though they are styling porn. And I’d rather take a walk and get fired up over stunning window displays at Worthwhile, Reed Brothers, and Sugar Bakeshop, or visit with Leigh Magar at Magar Hatworks here in Charleston than add more fodder—like another feed—to my inbox.

{Peter Frank Edwards}

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?
MB: Tough question! At Charleston Weddings we love to showcase what photogenic, idea-laden real weddings are out there in the Lowcountry, and we commission reception/event stories that will give readers DIY ideas aplenty utilizing local vendors and local resources. Obviously all these features are styled and picture-perfect. But even so, when I consider showcasing a highly styled real-life wedding, unless there are shots of a sincere couple with real guests and real emotion, it doesn’t fly. Who can relate to the wedding otherwise? The bottom line is a couple’s love story and their two families coming together. Also, when it comes to reality, we staffers do as I hope readers do: we pick and choose the ideas and looks we dig from our mag and other sources, and work within our budgets to replicate what we can. Our inspiration-folder favorites tend to be pretty shots that have some personal touch, some sign of life, and not so “perfect” that I feel smothered. We’re lucky to have so many talented event folks in this area who get that mix of style and sincerity, and it makes me wonder if there’s not some serious Southern grace or gentility—minus the hoopskirts, of course—at work.

{Peter Frank Edwards}

Teach us one random bit of industry jargon from publishing world.
MB: The one that I use that seems to trip people up when I use it is “graf,” as in paragraph. For someone who cringes at “lite” and “nite,” it’s a shortcut word that I use an awful lot!


{Peter Frank Edwards}

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?)
MB: Ha, I spend more time thinking about first dance songs than my current theme song!  I’m going to have to just list a few current favorites that are hitting me right now: “Like a Movie Loves a Screen,” April Smith;  “Video,” India Arie; “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da,” The Beatles;  “The Show,” Lenka; “Kind and Generous,” Natalie Merchant; “Home” Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.

{Terry Kuzniar}

You’re up against your next issues’s deadline, and you’re pulling all-nighter. What’s your vice or fix?
MB: Sugar-free French vanilla cappuccino from the gas station. The biggest one they’ve got. Trumps Starbucks or any other boutique coffee shop every time in my book. Except maybe the coffee at Hope & Union. But they are not open as late as my deadlines run.

{Peter Frank Edwards}

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

MB: Uhhh. Well, I have a new gold tooth. Back molar. But I am tending to show it off a little because it is so bizarre and fabulous. The dentist even presented it to me like an engagement ring in its own fine box. My niece is both mortified and electrified from the conversations I have with strangers about it. I just showed it to the school crossing guard near my house because she’s got a goldie, too. And there was that fellow with the grill the other day…It really spans economic and cultural lines and is quite the icebreaker.


{Peter Frank Edwards}

What is one un-glam thing about what you do . . .
MB: See the previous answer. And know un-glam is more my rule than the exception—it starts each morning as soon as I walk Oscar (Wilde), my pug-Boston mix, and have to bag his “evacuations.”

{Brie Williams}

What’s the most rewarding thing about your business?
MB: Hearing from a reader who fashioned her dream day based on tips (from money-saving ideas to location leads and on) and stories we’ve done. Getting married in the Charleston area is a dream come true for so many people—locals and visitors alike—it’s a delight to facilitate their celebrations here in any capacity.

Chitchat

  1. Calder Clark Designs

    isn’t she the coolest? fun stuffs. thanks C!

  2. Melissa

    Thanks, Calder, for having me over on your blog! Can’t wait to show you the tooth. Best to you, times 100! m

  3. Nicole

    Melissa how have I not heard about this tooth?! I want one! Great feature on a great person!

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