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The Pros and Cons of Pinterest to Plan Your Wedding

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Pinterest can be a helpful and powerful tool to a bride, but it can also be dangerous. Learn about the pros and cons of using Pinterest to plan your wedding!

using pinterest to plan your wedding
Jennifer Stevens

My sister-in-law was married several years ago and when I started planning our wedding, I remember her telling me how badly she wished that Pinterest existed when she was planning their wedding. (It may have existed, but it wasn’t something people really used much or talked about just yet.)

So what exactly is Pinterest?

Pinterest. It’s a Budget Savvy Bride’s crutch. It’s a fantastic way to get great crafty ideas, find articles, look at photos and get great ideas that stand out to you.

“Pinterest is a web and mobile application company that offers a visual discovery, collection, sharing, and storage tool. Users create and share the collections of visual bookmarks (boards). Boards are created through a user selecting an item, page, website, etc. and pinning it to an existing or newly created board. Users save and share pins from multiple resources onto boards based on a plethora of criteria, e.g., similar characteristics, a theme, birthday parties, planning a vacation, writing a book, interior decorating, holidays. Boards can develop projects, organize events, or save pictures and data together.” –Wikipedia; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinterest

Pinterest is a great source for recipes, DIY projects, decorating, etc. It is also a great place to browse and discover numerous wedding ideas, themes and styles. As soon as I got engaged I made sure to create a Pinterest Board specifically geared towards my wedding….well let’s be real, I already had a board created well before I was engaged with dream wedding ideas, but I made sure to tweak it a little once I actually was engaged!

It’s also addictive.

Pinterest: Bride’s Best Friend…or Worst Enemy?!

I think most of us nod our heads in agreement when it comes to thinking about our Pinterest-surfing and the increased frequency once the ring went on our finger. I know mine certainly did. And I think we can all agree there are pros and cons of using Pinterest while planning your wedding.

Inspiration and idea after idea in the palm of your hand on your smartphone. One DIY project after another to replicate a piece from a high-end vendor or pricey wedding planner or rental location to cut costs and add that special touch to your wedding day.

The world of Pinterest, however, doesn’t come without it’s cons. It’s addictiveness, of course, but the concept that my hubby coined as Pinterest-Kill”. A concept I felt warranted a warning for all of my fellow budget savvy brides with a bag of crafting materials and motivation to do-it-all-yourself.

Why Pinterest is great for wedding planning

Now don’t get me wrong, there are tons of ways that Pinterest can be beneficial, especially to the DIY bride! Pinterest is a great resource for obtaining ideas on DIY centerpieces and décor that can help cut down on huge expenses. Pinterest is also a great resource for you to collaborate with your vendors. In fact I have added my florist and baker as guest pinners on my wedding board so that they are able to see the different styled cakes and flowers that I am interested in that way when we meet they have a better idea of my vision.

Why Pinterest can be harmful during wedding planning

Pinterest can be an awesome tool for inspiration, but it can also be a bit deceiving. What many brides do not realize about a lot of the weddings they come across on Pinterest is that they aren’t actually weddings but styled shoots. A styled shoot usually consists of one mock guest table setup as well as a cake table that many vendors collaborate on with photographers to have featured on blogs and in magazines. Many of these setups are unrealistic and extremely expensive if used for actual weddings of 100+ guests. I can’t tell you how many times I have had to break it to brides that the ideas they have pinned won’t fit within their budget.

Looking back at the setup, the work, the materials… the complete chaos that took over my entire living room as materials for at least 10 projects engulfed everything. I think I made it my personal goal to make EVERYTHING on my Pinterest board. In fact, I’m pretty sure that I came close to doing exactly that. So many awesome ideas, I got a tiny bit carried away. While we still came in under budget, spending under $6k, I spent a lot of time on DIY and all because I was determined to get that Pinterest idea I fell in love with incorporated into our wedding day.

Source: http://www.digitaltrends.com/social-media/pinterest-drives-more-traffic-to-sites-than-100-million-google-users/
Source: http://www.digitaltrends.com/social-media/pinterest-drives-more-traffic-to-sites-than-100-million-google-users/

This can backfire, ladies. It’s stressful to have your “to-do” list rely solely on your own fingers to make the magic happen with a glue gun, paint, saw, wooden frames … whatever crazy awesome concoction you’ve discovered and are determined to incorporate into your big day.

Pick your Pinterest Battles wisely.

If you’re anything like me, you see it, you love it, you rationalize that it’s quick and fairly easy and you take it on with no fear. Until you’re sitting in a room with tulle draping from the ceiling and you can’t find the phone that’s ringing let alone your cat who has come up missing for the past two days … (true story.)

Change anything? Not necessarily. Looking back on our wedding day, I love everything about our day. Could I have scaled back on some of the details that weren’t necessary? Yea …. Probably. As a wedding photographer, I have been to my fair share of weddings – and I have seen tons of gorgeous weddings where less was certainly more. A few DIYs from a Pinterest board I recognized that stood out, subtle touches here and there, but overall, absolutely beautiful.

Decide what’s essential and what’s excessive

I didn’t need the 50+ mason jars to hang from trees – they were a cool ambiance but 12 of them or more never even made it into the trees so I certainly could have scaled back on that. I probably didn’t need the 30 purple-pom-poms in the trees either – the lanterns would have been enough and it was a lot of extra work and to be honest … I don’t remember much about what was in the trees myself. And the LED lights we put into the lanterns? Weren’t even bright enough to be that noticeable by the end of the night. That’s probably about $200 or more that I could have shaved out of our budget right there.

I didn’t need as many candy dishes or as much of a candy spread. I didn’t need to make two more wreaths that ended up taking me an entire day to make 50 burlap flowers by hand for – it’s now torn apart and the flowers I gave to a friend’s daughter for her wedding. I didn’t need as many chalkboards for signs as I ended up making and I didn’t need to make MORE balls of burlap/crepe paper flowers …. Which is a good thing I didn’t do those because they were never used. Instead, those 15 foam balls are going to become a fun Christmas decoration project. Another $200 easily I could have shaved off our budget. That’s $400 in DIY projects that I could have done without … but I got Pinterest-Happy … and ended up with a Pinterest-Kill.

Beware of the Pinterest effect

Pinterest can suck you in and take you down the rabbit hole of ideas leave you spinning in circles with ideas and can even leave you feeling overwhelmed. You type in one idea that you’re looking for (i.e. wedding chalkboards) and you are instantly flooded with ideas.

And so many of these ideas, as awesome as they are, continually are replicated and becoming the new generic at a wedding. So when you find that pinned piece on a board that you just love, think two things: 1) Is this really something I need and want to put all that work into putting into my wedding (and how much work will it actually take), and 2) How can I make this my OWN?

Yes, Pinterest is the virtual land of ideas that gives at an unconditional pace but remember to pin with caution. The best advice I can offer is this: Pin all the things that catch your eye into one board. Make a second board for things that you know you really want. Make a third board of things that are cool, but only possibilities.

As you go through the planning process, go into that board and delete things when you see them and feel it in your gut that you know it’s not something that you can take on or isn’t feasible. Eliminate the disappointment and stress. Trust me on this one – when the week of your big day arrives and you have four carloads of projects/decorations and over 100 things to hang up in trees and over 400 yards of tulle, all needing to be “installed” and decorated before you walk down the aisle, it’s going to be really hard to relax.

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Start now, wherever you are in your planning process, on “de-cluttering” your planning list and focus on the important pieces of your day and the aspects that will mean the most to you. If the ambiance of lights in trees is what your heart desires, then do it. But evaluate each idea you pin to determine your wants versus your needs for your wedding day.

Tips for Using Pinterest to Plan your Wedding:

  • Create separate boards for all different aspects of the wedding. Make boards for wedding floral inspiration, wedding decor, diy projects, wedding color scheme options, wedding hairstyles, or any other area you need to gather ideas and inspiration for.
  • Curate images and lists of things you love. Go crazy pinning away! Install the ‘Pin it’ bookmarklet to your browser so you can pin images from your favorite blogs and websites.
  • Don’t just follow your friends, follow your favorite wedding blogs on Pinterest- they pin lots of great inspiration, too!!
  • Use your new inspiration boards to help narrow down your vision for your big day.
  • Within 2-3 months of the big day, stop adding new ideas!! Step away from the computer! Don’t keep adding ideas to your to-do list.

Your beautiful wedding will be just that – your beautiful wedding, no matter what DIY project you choose or how much or how little you spend.

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Jennifer Stevens

is a Professional Photographer & Federal Employee living in Kalamazoo, Michigan. She got married in 2013 - read her wedding planning posts here.