I’m not ready to come right out and say that I hate Pinterest, because it just feels a bit extreme. It feels harsh to turn on a friend that I spent so long admiring, who has given me years of inspiration, ideas and pretty things to look at. However, now that I’m engaged and deep in the throws of planning a wedding, I’m starting to realize that this old, inspiring friend might not be as faithful as I once thought.

When I got engaged, I had two goals for the wedding planning process:

  1. I wanted the wedding to reflect who we are as a couple.
  2. I wanted to get through the wedding planning process with smiles on our faces—refusing to believe the perpetuated idea that being engaged is about as fun as getting a cavity filled.

I wanted our wedding to be our wedding, and I wasn’t going to let a beautiful, sacred season in our lives be tainted by stress about flowers and seating charts. Yet, as my fiance and I began to dream about our big day, I realized that I had no clue what I wanted. I didn’t have a secret wedding board on Pinterest (seriously!) and I hadn’t spent much time picturing the day in detail. So, with the excitement of a kiddo on Christmas morning, I started that wedding Pinterest board and got to work.

At first, it was fun. I was pinning and pinning, researching, scouring, and finding beautiful photos that in some small way reflected the day as I wanted it to be. It was even more fun as we worked on our budget and I realized that we actually might be able to have the things I was pinning! When does that ever happen?

I reached out to photographers of my favorite pinned photos and other vendors behind the magic. I couldn’t wait to hear back, but when I did that’s when the fun ended. As they sent me their price sheets, I realized that hiring just one of them would stretch our budget to the breaking point. The simple centerpiece that I had pinned would cost 100 dollars each — which were pennies compared to the rest of my newly concocted dream. I started to fight for the things that I saw in photos, prepared to give up a whole litany of things that were really important for the sake of perfection, because that’s what I thought I wanted: perfection.

I started to fight for the things that I saw in photos, prepared to give up a whole litany of things that were really important for the sake of perfection, because that’s what I thought I wanted…

All the while, my insides wound tighter and tighter until just looking at our budget made me want to cry. This dream wedding that I had begun to craft in my mind sagged like a week old balloon. I hadn’t imagined that a Pinterest-picked wedding would be so hard to plan, so expensive or so impossible.

Oh but it was, and I was mad. I was disappointed.

So, one night I went home, took a few deep breaths, and began to make a list. What’s actually important to me? What actually reflects us as a couple? That was the first time in a long time I’d asked those questions. In the process of perusing and pinning perfection, I’d forgotten what my definition of perfect actually was.

  1. Does it reflect who we are?  
  2. Are we still smiling?

The answer to both of those questions was no.

Yes, the wedding on my wedding board may have been perfect, but we never said we were looking for perfect. A perfect wedding wouldn’t reflect us. We wanted a day that looked like us. One that was filled with warmth and celebration and family. We wanted our dear ones to feel special and a part of things—surrounding us with their love as we took our first steps into the future. We wanted to enjoy our time of being engaged, using it as a time to grow closer and to dream about our future. We didn’t want to spend the next six months being stressed out party planners, bickering our way through a web of decisions.

I’d lost sight of all of that. I’d lost sight of the “I do,” and the things that were actually important to us in the collage of perfection pinned up on a board in my mind.

So, in one swift, decisive moment—with our list of priorities in hand—I called all of the expensive vendors. I told them “thank you, but no thank you,” breathing a sigh of relief with each call.  Only then did we began to dream again—not of the perfect wedding, but of our wedding.

With that, I began to smile again.

Are you engaged or recently married? Was Pinterest a friend or foe during the planning process? 

Image via Morgan Ashley Photography

10 comments

  1. I’m a month into being engaged, I am finding pinterest to be a tool for putting ideas into a place. My fiancé and I are in the process of wanting to hike (10 miles in) to our ceremony spot with the minimum required attendance the state allows.
    I find that Pinterest is a terrible place to find ideas, but an excellent place to organize the ones you find on your own. I am able to share the board with my fiancé who also pins his findings in one place, and as we agree on an idea, the rest get removed.
    We are using it as an interactive wedding planning ‘book’ but not using it to tell us what our wedding should look like.
    We’ve used Pinterest while out on vacation to find the best coffee spots, actively searching for what we are looking for as we are there, not pinning the trip as we think it should be before leaving. So far we’ve found amazing breakfast spots on our kindle/phones as we are driving.
    Thank you for the post, it is definitely a good reminder to remember what your goals are through the process.

  2. I got married (almost) 2 years ago. Unlike other women, I had NEVER visualized or dreamed about what my wedding day would look like. Our goals were similar to yours: That our wedding reflected who we were, that the Gospel was shared (and exemplified!) in our ceremony and reception, and that we wouldn’t go in to any debt or put anything on a card. My husband and I agreed we wanted a quick engagement – 6months max. I used Pinterest for “inspiration” and tweaked some of the ideas to fit what I wanted. The most beautiful part? There were so many friends and family who were willing to help collaborate and make our day really special! My dad, a Marine, LEARNED HOW TO MAKE TISSUE PAPER FLOWERS! And then hand crafted and dyed each flower – over 400 in total! – so we could save on fresh flowers for centerpieces. That was SO incredibly special to me. A friend of ours made our cake & our food (granted, she’s pretty much a professional) and it was stunning and delicious. I LOOOVE breakfast foods, so even though we got married in the late afternoon, it was brunch themed! One of my youth group students did all my bridesmaids’ hair. My brother-in-law was our DJ, my father-in-law married us, other youth group kids were “bartenders” at our Italian Soda bar – and it was SO us! People tell us that all the time 🙂 And it’s the greatest compliment. More damaging than Pinterest for us was trying to match what people “expected” from our wedding day. At the end of the day, you’re married! And the wedding day, while still so very wonderful, is far from the most important day of your life, imo.

  3. I am engaged-getting married in May. Pinterest has definitely been a friend. I put together several boards, pulling together images of what I wanted our wedding day to look like. But, I agree that Pinterest can be dangerous!! I also ran into the reality that certain things I pinned would be out of the budget and I did allow myself to get overwhelmed and frustrated because the things I thought that I must have were drifting off into the distance. What I did do was find vendors that could provide the things that are important to us. And, I also found ways to reimagine those pinned images so that it would be more cost effective and unique to us. My main goal was to try to create a wedding that is unique and a true reflection of us as a couple -and not something that someone else has done.

    Really at the end of the day you do have to remember that the purpose is that you’re joining your life with the one that you love. All the frills don’t matter at the end of the day.

  4. So happy to have read this article. Even as a vendor I completely agree. Pinterest is great for ideas and inspiration but I believe it should start and primarily come from the bride and grooms relationship. I tell all my brides that ask questions like “what are you supposed to do..” or “what’s normal?” Your not supposed to do anything. It is the day that you get to showcase you and your fiance’s love, style and personalities combined to all your friends and family. You should do what feels right, not what others have done in the past. As a vendor I love to create organic ideas with my brides as opposed to mimicking a picture from pintererst. Finding a vendor you trust and like is the best way to create an event that fits who you and your fiance are and your budget. It’s easy to get lost in the planning process but what is important to remember it is YOUR wedding, and YOUR money.

  5. Pinterest has been an excellent tool of comparison, and I made sure to put in my wedding planning schedule, about 5 months out, “Stop Following Pinterest Wedding Boards.” I used Pinterest to keep track of things I thought I would use or to bookmark color schemes or vendors I was interested in, but I definitely had to distance myself from the perfect weddings so I could be happy with MY perfect wedding.

  6. My wedding is coming up in June, I totally relate to this article. Even more frustrating to me than the perfection of it all while looking at pinterest/blogs was the overwhelming lack of unique ideas! Soon after starting, I quickly changed my planning to be only ideas I could think of on my own inspired directly from my relationship, trying to keep in mind that the old saying is ‘OUR special day’. I try to only look to the internet when attempting to figure out how to make something in particular or how certain things look together (like flowers). As convenient as it is to use the internet as a tool for creativitity, the convenience of it all has also caused everyone to be privy to the same great idea.

  7. Love this post! I went through the exact same thing! About two months into my engagement I turned off Pintrest altogether. It was way too difficult and boring to be honest, to keep up with the Pintrest perfect wedding. And my wedding ended up being FANTASTIC. My husband picked the colors, we had a cake contest where guests contributed bake goods instead of a million dollar cake and it was perfect (for us!).

  8. I’ve yet to be engaged, but I definitely dread the thought of falling into this exact dilemma. Being a visual person, being a Pinterest lover, it’s so easy to fall into this false sense of a perfect reality. But after having worked in the wedding world (through event design and cake design), I quickly got sick of it all. Everything began to look the same and feel the same because you’re right – those perfect images are not what you want. They are shoots styled to project an ideal and they are not anyone in particular. I am so glad that you have the awareness to recognize that planning a wedding is not important; planning a life with the one you love is way more significant.

  9. Excellent article! My husband and I were married back in November in a little Las Vegas chapel surrounded by 25 of our close friends and family. Pinterest was a convenient organizing tool for me as I figured out welcome bags for our guests and picked out colors, but it really was a dangerous place and could quickly become a blackhole. My husband was great about being involved in the planning process and honest with me when I was getting too wrapped up in the “stuff”. We had such a wonderful 6 month engagement because of that.

    Now that I look back, I have no regrets about our simple and easy wedding. I love that we were able to enjoy a weekend celebration with our guests instead of worrying about photographers, cake, and the perfect centerpieces. Overdoing it is the one lament I consistently hear from other brides. I’d encourage any bride to be cautious of that pitfall – those decorations will be a fading memory. Instead make this an unforgettable time with your fiance. Soak up those moments with him, with your family, with your closest friends.

  10. The timing on this blog post could not be any timelier for me. I am going through so much stress and anxiety over planning my wedding and as hard as I tried not to let it happen, I’ve gotten so sucked into all of those crazy bridal expectations. I finally had my MOH span me back to reality last night. I don’t want to do what I’m “expected” to do, I want to do what reflects John and me.

    My MOH last night suggested that I get a rubber band with John’s name on it and snap it whenever I get overwhelmed with all of the planning and our lacking finances to remind me that I’ve got the most important part of the whole wedding already: I am marrying the man I’ve been praying for since I was a child. The rest is just fluff.

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