The 3 stages of planning a wedding with Pinterest

Guest post by Isadora Martin-Dye
Pinterest blackhole card by Etsy seller PaperPlatesPress
Pinterest blackhole card by Etsy seller PaperPlatesPress

Putting Pinterest into the hands of a confused and overwhelmed bride or groom is like putting alcohol into the hands of someone who's never had a drink and not warning them about having too much. I know that seems dramatic, and yes it is, BUT it’s not far from the truth.

There are three main feelings Pinterest can evoke, each of which can tip you over the edge. I'm hoping that this will serve as “The Talk” and help you navigate what can be an amazing aid to a great night or the biggest hangover.

1. The overwhelming panic as you discover the rabbit hole of weddings on Pinterest for the first time

You enter a search query in Google, say “wedding décor ideas,” and almost the first thing that appears is a link to Pinterest. You click, and up comes a variety of amazing pictures. You've been engaged two minutes, and already you're thinking about seating arrangements, photo booths, and cute little animal cut outs personalized with each guest’s name. Ouch, you haven’t even found a venue yet.

At this point, you have two choices: Log off quickly or go down the rabbit hole clicking one thing, pinning another. Before long, your innocuously named “Wedding Ideas” board has accumulated four thousand pins, and you feel like you'll never be able to figure out YOUR vision, because every vision you've seen is perfect, and you are just not that person, you could never be one of those perfect people.

Which brings us to…

2. The inferiority complex

This feeling will surface twice in the Pinterest world.

The first time is fairly early on, when you put together your budget and meet with vendors. Each person is lovely, wants to help, and will do anything to make your vision come true BUT, they explain as nicely as possible (I hope), that unless your budget is the size of a Kardashian's, those tables filled with designer roses that you pinned so hopefully, or the ceremony space with two hundred mismatched antique chairs, is just not doable.

The second time is closer to the wedding when, having diverted the budget dilemma by opting to DIY, you decide to make… something, anything yourself. And no matter how careful you are or how hard you try, you are lucky if anything comes out how it did on the pin — let alone identically perfect a hundred times over for place cards.

3. The second-guessing

This is something I warn everyone about all the time. Once you've made a decision on a wedding element, STOP looking. You can make yourself crazy, waste a ton of money, and drive friends, vendors, and fiancées crazy if you change your mind every few days. This advice, to be fair is not Pinterest-based, or even solely wedding-based, but a pretty good life lesson overall.

Original photo by Mike Mozart, remixed by CC license.
Original photo by Mike Mozart, remixed by CC license.

So what is an overwhelmed, confused, and inferior-feeling person to do?

Before you fall down the rabbit hole, answer these questions with a traditional pen and paper:

  1. How do you want the wedding to feel?
  2. Do you have an element (a necklace, flower, etc.) that is vital for you to include? Then write down the first two things you would say to describe it.
  3. What do you want to say about you as a couple?
  4. Do you have any colors that you love?

Suddenly you have some key words to start with! Take a selection of them and start your search. You're still falling down a hole, but at least now you have a few things to cling to.

Next, delete the “Wedding Idea” board and instead be specific

Set up boards for each element: “Wedding Flowers,” “Wedding Table Plans,” etc. Yes, each of these boards may end up with only a dozen or so pins, but this method has two big bonuses:

  1. When you pick a vendor, you can add them to the board. They'll know exactly what inspires you (and not be confused by inspiration overload).
  2. You can also help with the second-guessing issue. Once you've picked a wedding dress, don't open the “Wedding Dress” board again. That way, you won't have to scroll through hundreds of wedding dresses you didn’t choose as you continue to plan the rest of your wedding.

Now for the most heartbreaking feeling: inferiority

There's no quick fix for feeling budget inferiority, but there are some key thing to remember. Many of the images you've pinned of weddings are not REAL weddings — they're staged by vendors to show what they could create, given no budget, no time limits, and total creative freedom. They're also styled by a professional wedding stylist. This is a job, you can hire them, and they will make your wedding pin-able. They do this day in and day out. Asking the average bride to create a “pinable” wedding is a little like asking the same bride to do open heart surgery.

DIY inferiority can be solved by a reality check, or by a helpful handy relative

It's very easy get lost in the fact that something wasn’t entirely square or that two sheets of paper are slightly different shapes. But even machines make mistakes, and no one ever posts mistakes on Pinterest. Once these small elements are added into the big picture, what once seemed like such a huge problem isn't noticeable. I promise.

All of this advice boils down to something that I tell everyone: No one knows what's in your head, so no one can know if it’s not exactly as you envisioned. Once you put on that dress or that suit and walk down the aisle, it's a wedding. You don’t have to try. It just is. All the pictures in the world can’t scratch the emotion of that moment, or ruin it.

Dang girl, did you get sucked into a Pinterest black hole too? If so, how did you claw your way out?

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Comments on The 3 stages of planning a wedding with Pinterest

  1. I do have a general wedding board on pinterest, but I also know that I am not a DIY bride. This helps me from getting overwhelmed as I recoil from wedding crafts and have no desire to save them to that board. I also delete things regularly once more decisions have been made!

  2. I started using Pinterest for the first time when I was planning my wedding. Rather than mining it for ideas, though, I mostly used it mostly as a way of organizing stuff I found elsewhere on the net (usually through Google image search). I had boards for dresses, bouquets, centerpieces, shoes, makeup, hair, cakes, favors, place cards, invitations, jewelry, guest books, and wedding bands. I used some of these more than others. Where they came in REALLY handy was when I was talking to vendors or potential vendors about what I wanted. Being able to SHOW them rather than just tell them was very helpful to me, and it seemed to be helpful to them as well.

  3. I am a DIY bride. Luckily, our wedding is a rustic/natural wedding and nothing has to be perfect. I knew early on that I was not going to get caught up in the minute details. It didn’t matter, what mattered was that we were there together and had a good time. As the day approaches, I find myself thinking “If I run out of time and can’t do X, it’s still a wedding. We have enough stuff that it will still be a wedding and it will still be great.”

    I will admit, when we got engaged I was totally overwhelmed by Pinterest. I actually avoided it for a while until I understood more clearly what we wanted. That probably saved me more than 1 headache.

    • Sometimes running out of time and not being able to do X is a blessing in disguise. Everyone pressured me to make ceremony program fans for my wedding because historically the weather where and when I was getting married was hot and dry. Two weeks out, they still weren’t done, in fact they weren’t even begun and the supplies weren’t even bought, but two weeks out we learned that the weather for the day would actually be cold and rainy. And it was indeed still a wedding!

  4. Yes to compartmentalizing your wedding Pinterest boards. Yes to stopping your search once you’ve made a decision. In fact, delete those compartmentalized Pinterest boards once you’ve made the decision. You’ll probably have a moment of “aww, I wish I had done that,” but it’s really better for you than keeping the board. Out of sight, out of mind.

    Also, if you ARE naturally artistic and/or DIY-minded, don’t let people/ your perceptions from Pinterest and wedding blogs pressure you into making EVERYTHING for your wedding in the name of “authenticity.” Sometimes “DIY” means “describe it yourself” to a professional who knows what they’re doing. I can sew, but I wasn’t going to sew my own wedding dress, so that left me the resources and energy to sculpt the fuck out of our cake topper and draw the hell out of the drawings I used on our invitations. (If you’re sewing your own wedding dress, more power to you. Meanwhile, I will sculpt the fuck out of your cake topper and draw the hell out of the illustrations going on your invitations.)

  5. Ugh, totally feel the overload here. I try to stay away from too much Pinterest/Google for wedding ideas since I start looking and then shortly feel awful. I have trouble with the internet because it can make things that are exciting and new or special to you seem commonplace, cliche, or like a million people have done that so it’s not unique anymore even if it was your idea. The whole WIC can feel like that sometimes- like your wedding could be anyone’s, a million people use the lovely location you found, and your wedding won’t be any different from any of theirs.

    I understand that this is irrational, because just because someone else has done something you’re also doing doesn’t diminish its value. My fiance has been really great talking me off that particular psycho ledge and asking me why it’s so all-fired important that the wedding be completely unique and original if it makes me happy. Like what if you like mason jars, but the internet says they’re already overdone and cliche and trying too hard? It’s hard to keep perspective like that. After all, it doesn’t have to be “perfect”, remember? So yes, this post. Helps to know I’m not alone in this :).

    • One important thing to remember is that most of those “overdone wedding elements” articles are written by bloggers or wedding planners who are in the industry. So of course they see those trends all the time when they live, eat, and breathe weddings. And sometimes their snark comes from a place of concern that couples are using trendy elements simply because they’re trendy, not because the elements actually mean anything to the couple. While you shouldn’t chase Pinterest perfection, you also shouldn’t scrap your longtime dream of a photobooth or candy bar or what have you because some stranger on the Internet told you they were “overdone.” Your wedding planner may scoff, but your guests may not have yet been to a wedding with a photobooth and be super-excited to use it!

      • One important thing to remember is that most of those “overdone wedding elements” articles are written by bloggers or wedding planners who are in the industry

        OMG SO MUCH THIS. Those of us who are wedding vendors or work in wedding media have such a different perspective on trends, to the point where it’s really not even worth our perspectives mattering.

        Yes, we should be the ones who are always introducing new ideas (because it’s our freaking jobs to bring new ideas), but there’s no need to ever talk about things being “overdone.” If it brings the people getting married joy, then it doesn’t fucking matter who else has done it! You don’t throw your wedding for bloggers — you throw it for yourself and guests.

  6. Another useful way to use Pinterest boards is creating one to share with your mother/sisters/friends to keep them from bombarding you with whatever “cute,” “neat,” idea they came across via email or text messages. Creating a board to share with my mother gave her a place to put all the ideas she had where I could glance at them every once in a while, and has made my planning experience infinitely less stressful because I’m not spending every five minutes of my day fielding every wedding-related thought she has.

    I agree with others that going through and deleting things as they get checked off, or as things change is also a great idea. Pinterest is a great tool, but sometimes you can be so bogged down everything if you don’t curate it a bit every once in a while.

      • It made the most sense, since most of the time the stuff my mother would send me was something she found on Pinterest. So I told her to create a board and share it with me so I could see it and get notifications when she pinned something. She ended up titling it “Wedding Stuff You Can Ignore,” but it gave her an outlet where she could be excited and toss ideas at me without completely burying me.

  7. As a wedding vendor, I want to send this article to all of my couples who are currently planning weddings. The one thing I would advise against is deleting a board – sometimes I’m looking at my clients’ inspiration photos right up through the time that I’m setting up flowers on-site. Maybe instead of deleting, curate down to the final inspiration photos and then just don’t open the board again? I find clients’ pinterest boards incredibly useful, and if a board disappeared before a wedding was over I’d be more than a little confused!

  8. I did a lot of Pinterest DIYs for my wedding. 6 months before the wedding I decided on exactly what I wanted to DIY and what I wanted to pass on (either by not doing it or having a pro handle it). I made a specific timeline and a specific budget. After this time I did not add any new DIYs and I stuck to the timeline and the budget. I did continue to refine the style of my DIY projects by looking on Pinterest but I did not add any new DIYs. This really helped me from getting overwhelmed and helped me create very nice replications of what I saw online. Quality over quantity.

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