The Pinterest Problem

Because I wanted to let my bridesmaids choose their own dresses, Pinterest was a great way to share options  and get feedback from my friends.

Because I wanted to let my bridesmaids choose their own dresses, Pinterest was a great way to share options and get feedback from my friends. Elizabeth Ray Photography/Courtesy Kathleen M. Mitchell

Ahh, Pinterest. It seems tailor-made for wedding planning. It couldn't be easier to curate nuptial images and ideas, either by searching within the site or pinning from an outside website. It's so easy, in fact, it has become a running joke that every female between the ages of 12 and 42 has a wedding board—even if she doesn't have a boyfriend. The idea has spawned a slew of self-deprecating "some ecards" memes featuring single women who have their Pinterest wedding planned to every last detail (except, of course, the groom).

The website truly is a useful tool, much cleaner and simpler than printing everything off to put in a binder or book of inspirational ideas. But, much like spending too much time reading wedding blogs, it can become difficult to keep things in perspective after a while. The sheer amount of ideas—and the sheer price tag it would take to pull them off—is enough to make your head spin. And it's so hard not to compare your own ideas, plans and, most of all, budget to the gorgeous, softly lit photos of elaborate and expensive weddings online.

Here's some advice from someone who survived the Pinterest problem and lived through her wedding to pin another day.

• Be realistic.

This is probably the most helpful thing you can do when using Pinterest to plan a wedding. It's fine to pin "aspirational" images, but if you are pinning the same pair of $3,000 Christian Louboutin stilettos over and over, you may need a reality check. Rather than pin your ultimate if-money-wasn't-an-option dream wedding, mix it up. Pin the Louboutins once, then look for more affordable options that give you the same feeling. The search function is fabulous for letting you see 700 pairs of gold glitter heels at once.

• Be selective.

Instead of following every Facebook friend you have, look for people whose style really works with yours. When you find images you like, see who pinned them and what else they might have on their boards.

• Involve other people.

Create a board of bridesmaid dress options to get feedback from your favorite ladies (trust me, getting a dress they will actually wear again is as big a deal as all the romantic comedies make it out to be). Or you could share a board with your photographer to show him or her other wedding photos you would like to emulate. One great thing about Pinterest is the option to collaborate with others on a board, so that more than one person can pin to the same collection—share a board or two with your mom, maid of honor, photographer or wedding planner.

• Be open to new ideas.

Every once in a while, look through everything you pinned. It might be that you always planned on simple black bridesmaids dresses, but everything you are pinning is suddenly hot pink and saturated orange—if you find yourself drawn to certain colors or images, even if its not what you expected to like, pursue it! You might end up loving it more.

• Make it work for you.

Even if everyone you know is obsessing over giant diamond rings and mermaid-skirt dresses, if you want to pin plaid suits and neon green heels, do it! Create boards and pin the things that truly speak to you, even if it goes against what is popular across the site.

• Don't take on everything.

Pinterest is a veritable DIY goldmine, but understand your limits and only take on what you can reasonably create without going crazy. Trust me, you don't want to get down to the wire and be left needing to design, print and assemble 200 wedding programs in two days. It just won't happen (once again, from someone who has been there).

• Let it go.

It's easy to get sucked in to some over-the-top emotions when wedding planning. From worrying that your dress will seem insignificant to your friends after seeing the 45 couture wedding gowns they have pinned, to feeling like you need those imported European peonies you have photos of (even after you always planned on sourcing local flowers), immediate emotion can take over the planning process if you let it. Take a step back from your Pinterest boards and get some real-world inspiration—or consult your poor groom, who tends to get left out of the wedding planning process to an absurd degree whether Pinterest is involved or not.

And most of all, have fun. Wedding planning is always more stressful than it should be, but if you can remember that at the end of the day, it's all about starting a marriage and making a commitment to the one you love, you'll glow on your wedding day (even without that miracle cream you pinned three months ago).


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