(Late) Wedding Wednesday: Wedding Planning in the Pinterest Age

I’ve had a few already-married friends mention to me that they were jealous that I’m planning my wedding during this heyday of wedding blogs and online inspiration (okay, fine: I’m mostly talking about Pinterest), that they wished they had these sources of ideas and inspiration when they were planning their weddings. And I totally have a lot of thoughts so I figured I’d just tell y’all.

I have found Pinterest and wedding blogs to be both amazingly helpful and inspirational and yet… also aspirational and depressing. If that makes any sense. I’ve gotten tons of amazing and unique ideas that I’m actually using for my real life wedding, but I’ve also laughed heartily at some of the insanely hipster, twee, Martha Stewart-ish, and “glam” stuff out there.

I was always very superstitious about things like wedding blogs and wedding magazines. I never bought a single wedding magazine until I bought a few for my sister right after she got engaged. I definitely didn’t create a Pinterest board for my “one day wedding” (see also: I’d love to pin ideas for future babies but: jinx). So getting engaged was like getting a free membership to a secret and exclusive club I’d wanted to be a part of for years (and okay, it also felt like that because I really, really wanted to be engaged to Dan). I wish I was exaggerating when I say that I bought a new wedding magazine during every trip to Target, a pharmacy, the grocery store, a bookstore during that first month or two (or three). (I have a massive stack of wedding magazines that’s at least knee-high next to the couch. Not lying.) I subscribed to a hearty handful of wedding blogs (My favorites were and still are A Practical Wedding, Offbeat Bride, The Broke-Ass Bride, although I’m still subscribed to at least seven others). And before I could dive into Pinterest too deeply, Jodi had created a group Pinterest board called “elizabeth is getting married” that Cynthia and Irma could also use to gather ideas for me. It was AWESOME.

I pinned like crazy, and carefully pondered each idea Jodi or Cynthia or Irma pinned. I used washi tape to mark pages in the stack of magazines. And slowly but surely, I started to get REALLY overwhelmed. A Practical Wedding refers to the wedding magazine/blogosphere/knot.com monsters as the “Wedding Industrial Complex” (WIC) and they couldn’t be more right. If you look at that stuff too much, it’s so easy to lose your head and with it, track of what you want YOUR wedding to be like because you’re consuming so much “advice” and “must dos” and “helpful tips”.

Because while there are really helpful ideas out there, there’s also a lot of really impressive and amazing stuff that makes my eyes fall out of my head, basically. Pinterest features a LOT of weddings that take place in barns or in meadows or historic lofts in which the bride and groom printed every piece of paper themselves and made their own bouquets or strung 90 strings of lights from the ceiling or collected antique dining chairs for a year leading up to the wedding so they would have that perfectly rustic vintagey feel in that sunny meadow.

And I see beautiful pictures like that and I’m all “but what if it RAINS?!” and “where did you STORE the damn chairs?” and I really start to lose it.

A good example of something I’m particularly stumped about (and have turned to Pinterest for inspiration for) is a backdrop for our ceremony. And I’ve found some really wonderful stuff like this:

And then I have to fight the urge to shout at my computer screen because HONESTLY. Yes, a giant wall filled with pom poms or paper chains or twinkle lights in a variety of sizes looks AMAZING. But who has the time to make that many damn paper chains or pom poms? I sure as hell don’t. I barely have time to remember to rsvp to people’s birthday parties right now.

But look at some of the amazing ideas I’ve stumbled upon:

So I don’t know. I think part of it was that by the time we got about 2 months in, we really knew exactly what we wanted to do, so seeing inspirational ideas wasn’t necessary and only made me doubt what we’d already settled on. And while Pinterest is awesome, it is also really guilty of the braggy sort of Martha Stewart-style inspiration: it’s lovely and impressive but who really has the time to do that kind of crap other than Ms. Stewart herself (or her hired minions)? I had to just stop looking at the wedding corner of the internet for a really solid chunk of the spring because it was overwhelming me and stressing me out to see the amazing and pretty things other people do for their weddings.

So I guess that’s my conclusion about Pinterest and wedding planning: sure, it’s helpful. That “elizabeth is getting married” board has been so fun. Do you really wish you had it? Maybe not.

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