10 tips for navigating Pinterest wedding inspiration

I was recently reflecting on this amazing blush and silver inspirational wedding shoot I worked on this winter. We were so, so lucky to feature a couple that had just recently gotten married, and they were so excited about the looks we had put together for them!

But while we were working on the styled shoot, it hit me square in the face that so many of my clients see these inspiration shoots and think of them as real weddings! EEK!!!!

Styled shoots are beautiful, but they can make it really difficult for brides who are taking inspiration from Pinterest these days. As part of our process, Celebrations of Love’s clients walk through the details of their wedding and I will then find ideas that are realistic within their budget and keep potential vendors in mind. But for a bride that does not have a planner to walk through this process with her, I wanted to share some tips on how to navigate Pinterest.

Do not get me wrong here—Pinterest is a GREAT tool for inspiration after a budget has been established and discussed.

While scrolling through Pinterest, here are a few important things to think about:

1. Be realistic. How many people have you invited? Do you want to set up 250 mini succulent plants with flags in them for an escort table? Do you want to make all of those flags with the corresponding table number and guest name? Maybe you can have a generic one at each place setting. But then what type of container are you going to put it in? If the container has a hole in the bottom, do you want dirt to end up on your table linens? Also, calligraphy on leaves!!! It looks amazing but would be really great on just the head table or parents’ tables instead of at every single guest’s place setting.

2. Think about your location. What climate are these Pins taking place in? If you are getting married in the mountains, there is a higher chance of those unpredictable mountain showers than if you are in the deserts of Arizona. You may see this incredible, elegant outdoor setting with no rain back-up plan in sight, but just keep in mind that it could be in a completely different climate than the one you are in. You have to adapt those pictures to what makes sense for your environment.

3. Know when to stop shopping. Unpin all wedding dresses after you find your wedding dress! ALL wedding dresses!!! I don’t care if it is YOUR dress on a different person. UNPIN it. It will help you from second-guessing yourself.

4. Time it right. You know those cute photos of a bride hanging out with her girls after they’re ALL finished with hair and makeup? Remember that your hair and make-up artists have asked for the time when you all need to be completely ready and they are working off that time. If you want special time for photos, tell your hair and make-up artists and build in an extra 30 minutes to have fun!!!

5. Play the name game. ESCORT BOARDS!!! They should ALWAYS be in alphabetical order, NOT table number order, unless you have less than 60 people. It is so much easier for people to find their names when they’re in ABC order, instead of having to scan through all of the names at different tables. Yes, it is nice for your guests to see who they are sitting with, but they will find out soon enough!

6. Check with your venue. Your selected venue might have restrictions regarding the bar, food, design aspects, etc. Don’t let yourself head down a Pinterest trail and then find out your venue has regulations or rules against your special idea or that they cannot accommodate it! For example, some venues may allow couples to get into the venue three days prior to the wedding day, while others only allow 24 hours—and that makes a huge difference as to how much DIY set-up a couple can do.

7. Balance DIY vs. professional. Some of the DIY ideas you see on Pinterest are actually done by professionals. It is their job to make glitter-dipped feathers, hanging floral monograms, a tiered pie wedding cake or those oh-so-darling table number signs. Take time to watch tutorials and investigate the process before jumping into too many DIY projects. And I always like to have DIY projects wrapped up about one month before your big day!

8. Trust your vendors. Most of the pictures on Pinterest are taken by PROFESSIONAL photographers. If you absolutely LOVE four or five inspirational pictures, then definitely send them over to your photographer. Share them as soon as possible so that they can start scouting out areas if needed. But do not restrain their creativity with a Pinterest board full of dozens of must-have pictures!

9. Consider the behind-the-scenes details. An example: Pizza is an awesome late night snack, but you have to plan a very deliberate delivery schedule for the pizza company so that your servers can get the pizzas out to guests continuously and without delays.

10. Things aren’t always as they appear. Hay bales used as seating for a ceremony are not that comfortable. If you are going to use them, add some padding on top—your guests will thank you! And tree stumps are super heavy. Consider all the logistics of transportation, set-up, and break-down.

I hope these tips help you navigate Pinterest a little better. If you have questions, reach out to the vendors who are tagged in Pins and see if they’d be willing to tell you about their set-up or design. The biggest take-away is to be realistic. Think about the actual execution, cost, and effort—and then decide what’s most important to you!

Venue: The Garment House on Broadway

Photography and Stationary Design: A Day to Adore Photography

Floral and Design: Shana Vaughn Designs

Lighting Photobooth and Sound: Fernando Productions

Hair and Make-up: Hello Lovely

Gowns and Jewelry: Altar Bridal

Tuxedos: Tip Top Tux

Videography: Shawn Gormely Films

Models: Amanda and Jake Weishaar

Cakes: Adorn Cakes

Rentals and Ceiling Install: Ultrapom

How my FOCUS technique can help you save money

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One big question I receive as a planner is: How can I save money on my wedding?

My answer? Focus on the top three most important aspects of your wedding day, which will be personal to you and your fiancé. List them on paper so you both know what they are and you can easily share them with whoever is helping you plan your big day. Think of them as the three FOCUS points of your wedding day.

That’s the hard part… Now comes the money-saving part!

F – Form a budget

Make sure that everyone involved in paying for the wedding is aware of their financial responsibilities and open about how much they can contribute. If they are offering a set monetary amount, discuss which parts of the wedding they would and would not like to use that money for. Then share what you and your fiancé have chosen as your FOCUS points. This will help everyone to know which areas you’d like to prioritize and prevent anyone from splurging in an area that isn’t as much of a priority.

O – Outside the box

For the areas of the wedding that are not as high on your list, think outside the box. There are so many different places to find talented professionals, so many opportunities to DIY (but be mindful of your time, abilities and stress levels here) and so many ways to reduce costs while maintaining quality. Just get creative! For example, if fancy catering isn’t one of your three focus areas, see if a local restaurant—perhaps one that’s known for a specific type of dish—would be able to serve large quantities for your wedding day. (Just remember you’ll need to ask them about providing a group of service staff who’d be able to replenish and clear plates.)

C – Coordinate

Work together with your planner to coordinate your wedding in a way that highlights these three items. For example, if you’re focused on live entertainment, look into venues that have a unique area for your band to be set up in. By coordinating that special venue to match your highlighted area, you will have a built-in focal point for the band and will not have to utilize extra money on décor to turn attention toward them. Or if florals are a priority, consider having your wedding in a garden or an indoor location overlooking a naturally blooming area to add even more of a “wow” factor.

U – Understand

Always understand what you are signing before you sign on the dotted line. This point is very crucial to ensuring that your vendors meet your expectations, especially in the focus areas for your wedding. It will also save you so much money to read through contracts very carefully before signing. The last thing you want is to come to the final weeks of planning and find out you’re missing something that you thought you had covered or paying for something you don’t need, resulting in extra time and money spent.

S – Surprise

By really focusing on your three areas, you may be surprised to find yourself a lot less stressed throughout the process. Your families and vendors will be on the same page about what is important, and you’ll be able to say “That’s not necessarily something we’re focusing on” to any unsolicited advice-givers. And you might even discover that you were so great at focusing on your priorities that you saved enough money to actually make a fun addition to your night… Maybe a food truck? Just saying.


Christine M. Darden