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How to really use Pinterest to plan your wedding

Remember when the way we saved recipes we thought looked interesting and decorating ideas that we loved was to clip magazine articles and save them in a box with handwritten heirloom recipes from friends and neighbors?  Well I'm afraid those days are becoming outnumbered. Today's instant, online community has the ability to access thousands and thousands of ideas anytime, anywhere. Pinterest really is an amazing collection of ideas, tutorials, recipes and DIY projects.

However, sometimes a wealth of knowledge such as this can be overwhelming, a rabbit hole, if you will.  Each newly pinned item leads to a related idea board which then sparks a whole new set of thoughts and ideas and a collection of pins for the next home improvement weekend. When is enough, really enough?  Do 90% of us really go back and tackle those distressing projects that we pinned 20 inspiration pictures of?  I'm all for dreaming - really, but as a professional Wedding Coordinator, here's where I tend to take issue: while Pinterest is an incredible sharing resource it also sets up unrealistic expectations.  So here are my 7 tips on how to make the most out of Pinterest when planning your wedding!

1. Keep your expectations in check

Pinterest is a collection of images that will inspire you once you start using it for your wedding. But keep in mind that photos you see may be from highly styled editorial shoots. If they're from real weddings, they are most likely the few very best photographs from around the 1000 shots usually taken during the course of the wedding day. 

Be aware that Pinterest is not necessarily a reflection of reality and in many instances might not align with the resources and means you have at hand. Weddings are costly, and your budget may not allow you to achieve the same affects that you see online. That doesn't mean that you can't use them as inspiration and as a starting point, but try to stay realistic.

2. Don't forget YOU!

Don't let Pinterest (magazine, blog or anyone for that matter) dictate how your wedding should be. DIY craft projects are huge in the wedding scene right now and you'll probably come across tutorial after tutorial, but if DIY-ing isn't your thing, don't do it. The same thing goes for the rustic-chic style, still trending on Pinterest...if you never liked burlap and bunting, don't incorporate it into your wedding. 

A wedding should be a reflection of the style and interests of the couple. Don't just repin. Leave room for your own ideas. Make sure that you're remembering you can be inspired by a storefront display on a walk downtown or by a flower in the neighbor's garden. 

3. Use secret boards

Pinterest was designed as a social network and its whole point is for users to follow each other and see everyone else's pins. But how many times last December did you see that same Cookies and Cream Hot Chocolate recipe come up? 

If you prefer to use it as a private bookmarking tool, use the secret boards. You can share them with your fiancé and your wedding coordinator, but then they're not accessible to the general public. This is also useful if you have a lot of friends getting married during the same 2-year period and you want to make sure that your decisions stand out from the rest. 

4. Search and pin non-wedding related photos

Remember above when we talked about finding inspiration on a walk? Don't just focus on "weddings" as a topic while on Pinterest. Pin from interior design magazines, fashion blogs and travel photographers. These fields can be equally inspiring and might even help you to define your own, unique vision, rather than just copying current wedding trends. 

If you feel like you just can't seem to make decisions, look at the common themes that you've pinned. Do you tend to pin more photos that are more journalistic in nature? Maybe you've just discovered what kind of a photographer you're looking to hire. 

Having boards that are not just wedding specific is also a great thing to show your wedding designer and coordinator. We can help you tie the story together.

5. Don't forget real life

This ties into numbers 2 & 4: Don't just rely on Pinterest as the source of your inspiration. Trust us, you don't want a Pinterest Wedding, you want a wedding that's uniquely you. So look for inspiration offline. Take into consideration things like the architecture of your venue, the season you're getting married in, and the traditions of the town or destination. We just recently wrote a post on location - setting your location first, and then letting it help guide the rest of the decisions is a common piece of advice we tell our clients.  

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6. Narrow it down

We've already established that Pinterest can be a never-ending wormhole of images. When you're in the beginning phases of your planning, you're going to go on a bit of a pinning spree - and that's OK. But once you begin to approach the half-way point, start editing and yes, I'm going to say it, deleting pins. Narrow it down to the photos and ideas you really like. In the end, you will want a board that reflects exactly the style, feel and colors of your celebration, even if its "only" a handful of images. This is going to help you with the next tip.

7. Stick to your decisions and stop looking

As a wedding coordinator, this is probably the one thing that I say on repeat the most. Once you have decided on a look, style, and several key elements - stop looking for more. I know that making decisions is hard, but there comes a point in time when you have to stop adding to what you've already planned. 

Now, this doesn't mean that you have to get off Pinterest cold turkey. Turn your pinning activity toward a honeymoon inspiration board, or if you and your fiancé are moving in to a new home together, start gathering inspiration for your home to add to your registry!

Pinterest is a wonderful resource. And as a Wedding Coordinator we are so grateful that it is accessible to our clients to that they can begin envisioning what they wedding day could look like. Using the above tips, will allow you to mazimize its benefits during your planning process.