Julie Mayer is the sales director for the “The Roanoker “and “bridebook” magazines published by Leisure Media 360. She not only sells ads but develops the customized marketing program and manages the sales team.
Noah Magnifico is most recognized as a professional photographer.
They essentially met at work at a networking event for local wedding vendors when “bridebook” was in its beginning stages of development. They exchanged business cards. That was in January 2013.
“bridebook” is a unique, regional wedding magazine featuring “wedding love stories” submitted by local couples along with pictures from their wedding day. Editors then write their stories— how they met, the proposal, and details about their wedding. The magazine also includes a guide to local venues and a local vendor directory.
The 2017 edition will feature 45 local wedding stories from couples wed in 2016 in the Roanoke and New River Valleys, Lynchburg, and Central Virginia.
Julie says that while it was not love or even like at first sight with Noah, after the networking event they were soon having lengthy daily telephone conversations which started off as business-related, but soon led to more personal topics. He asked her out to dinner in February 2013, and in the spring they worked on that year’s Vinton Magazine in “The Roanoker.” She handled the ad sales; he did the local photography.
Julie says that in many ways, working on the magazine brought the two of them together. They were married in an intimate beach wedding in May 2016. They now live in Vinton, and Noah has an office in town as well.
Mayer grew up in Falling Creek in Vinton and graduated from William Byrd High School. Her father is Vinton attorney Bruce Mayer; her mother is William Byrd High School librarian Dottie Mayer.
She graduated from Radford University with a degree in Marketing and Merchandising and spent several years in the world of retail, including store management, opening new stores, and training management teams. She took an account executive position with Leisure Media 360 in 2010 and moved up to sales director in January 2013.
“Julie has been nothing short of phenomenal,” says “The Roanoker” publisher and Leisure Media 360 owner Richard Wells, complimenting her “take-ownership approach.”
She has adopted a philosophy of being more of a sales consultant to her clients. Julie says “every business has different goals and challenges, so each client has different advertising needs.”
Noah spent most of his formative years in New Hampshire. He came south to attend Virginia Tech.
He became interested in photography when he was just 9 years old, introduced to the darkroom process by a family friend. He says the following summer he started mowing lawns to earn money for a camera– the best gift he has ever bought himself– and it set the course for his life.
He read every photography book he could get his hands on. Since it was before the day of digital photography when costly film was still in use, he would practice his shots mentally and set the camera without film. Occasionally he would be able to buy a roll of film that he “treated like a bar of gold.”
Magnifico describes himself as a shy child who realized he had the ability to reinvent his life in high school with the assistance of his camera, which broke the ice for him and gave him access to places he couldn’t have otherwise gone.
He enrolled in his first photography class in high school. With an endless supply of paper, film, and equipment, and the blessing of his instructor who was delighted to have such an enthusiastic student, he would shoot four to six rolls of film each week and print most everything he shot.
Magnifico discovered that he saw things differently than most people. While fellow students were taking pictures of nature and buildings, he was taking photos of them. He printed off copies of those personal photos and distributed them to their delighted parents. During his senior year, he produced 90 percent of the photographs in the school yearbook.
Noah describes his style as classic and artistic. Julie says that what separates him from other wedding photographers is that he truly thinks of each couple as unique and then makes them feel that they are through their photographs.
He invests time getting to know each couple to discover why they love each another and manages to elicit those feelings in their wedding photos. He has an uncanny ability for revealing personalities in bridal portraits and in headshot photographs as well.
Julie notes that the photographer spends more time with a couple than their own family does on the actual wedding day. In many instances, Noah spends a year building a relationship with the bride leading up to the wedding.
One of the weddings featured in the 2016 “bridebook” was that of Lindsay Murray.
“Noah is an amazing photographer,” says Murray, W.E. Cundiff Elementary teacher and recent winner of the prestigious Milken Educator Award. “He really takes the time to get to know his couples and is extremely detailed and creative. He captured my special day perfectly.”
Her sister was married that same year and Magnifico created a portrait of the two together in their wedding gowns as a treasured memento for their mother.
Another spectacular bridal portrait was the photo shoot of a bride at sunrise on McAfee’s Knob, a venture that required hiking seven miles to the iconic landmark in the dark before the sun came up.
Mayer says that Magnifico has a talent for corralling families at weddings— a very challenging task. He has saved the day on occasion by squashing arguments and by sewing up a groom’s torn pants.
They both come from military families, which led Magnifico to offer discounts to military couples. He recently overheard a conversation from a family wishing they could afford photographs, which prompted a free family photo event at the Vinton War Memorial with his services donated, along with those of a hairstylist and make-up artist. The families who attended received the digital images he took at no cost.
The Vinton Magazine, first published in 2011, is now a biennial publication with the fourth edition coming out this July. “The Roanoker” is a bi-monthly local lifestyle periodical, celebrating 43 years in print— the longest continuously-running “city” magazine in Virginia.
Julie says the Vinton insert started out when she had the idea to promote the businesses in her hometown of Vinton— the place she knew best— early on with “The Roanoker.” She consulted with the Vinton Area Chamber of Commerce and the idea quickly snowballed into the very popular Vinton Magazine, used extensively in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce and the Town of Vinton.
Angie Chewning, executive director of the VACC, says that Mayer and Magnifico are “amazing alone at their jobs/crafts. Each brings a vibe to the project that is enthusiastic and contagious, but together it is like ‘Bam!’ It comes together with elegance, wit, and perfection. I always look forward to a project with either, or both, of them.”
Editor’s Note: The title of the “bridebook” publication appears in lower case in its masthead.