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

October: Breast Cancer Awareness Month & A Dream Vow Renewal

Britta and Chris Vow Renewal

From pink sports gear on the NFL field to the pink ribbon displayed around town, it’s hard to miss the fact that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. And for Celebrations of Love, this month includes a very special Dream Vow Renewal for a lucky couple of mine.

On a cold day in January, after sharing a coffee and explaining my dream for them, we marked down October 17, 2015 as the big day for Britta and Chris’s Dream Vow Renewal.

This couple has been through so much. Over 15 years ago, during their engagement, Britta found out that she had breast cancer. This news is definitely not what a newly engaged couple wants to face during their wedding planning process. Even in the midst of scheduling meetings with venues and vendors around chemo treatments, Britta and Chris grew stronger and closer through their engagement and the chemotherapy. They were married on October 2000.

Britta is a fighter and made it through her battle with flying colors and with Chris supporting her every step of the way. Then, about five years ago, I moved in across the sidewalk from Britta and Chris and learned of their story—of how their engagement was hit with cancer and how they forged through the difficult time together, no matter what was thrown their way. My heart started to melt and it made me think about how I could create something really special for them with the help of my friends in the Kansas City wedding industry.

When I heard that their 15-year anniversary was coming up, I hopped into gear, dreaming up ideas to share with them on how to make this day extraordinary for them. Unfortunately, I got a call in the middle of my planning that Britta was going through chemo again and taking the option of a double mastectomy. Not only that, but the couple was going through a hard time with insurance companies and job loss.

I felt a mixture of sadness and confusion. But after a lot of prayers, I met Britta for coffee and shared my new plan: I wanted to gather my wedding friends together and have them donate what they could to make Britta and Chris’s 15-year anniversary celebration so, so amazing. About that same time, Britta found out that she was in remission and my heart began to jump for joy. We started putting all of the plans into full force!!!

Through all of these ups and downs, Britta and Chris are a true example of how it takes three to be a marriage—you, your spouse and God. There is no doubt that God is truly present and living through them to show other people what His love looks like.

I’m thrilled to share a few pictures from the planning journey and acknowledge all of the incredible wedding friends who donated their time, energy and love to Britta and Chris. A huge, heartfelt THANK YOU to each of you!

Britta and Chris's Vow Renewal

Jason Domingues Photography – Couple's “Engagement” Session

Jolie Artistry – Britta's Couple “Engagement” Session Make-up

Little Yellow Leaf – Full Tailored Collection Invitations Suite

Jacob's Well – Ceremony Venue

Wilderness Clubhouse – Reception Venue

Icing on the Cake – Wedding Cake

Elite Sounds Entertainment – GOBO Light

Top Shelf – Two bartenders

Poppy and Clover – Reception Floral arrangements and Britta’s bridal bouquet/Chris's boutonniere/Bridal party Personals

Spencer Studios Photography – October 17th Vow Renewal Photography

One Block South Catering – Reception Food/Appetizers

Friend of Britta and Chris's – DJ/Emceeing

Amy Castro with Overland Park Ballroom – Couple Dance Lessons


Wedding décor turned First Home décor

Wedding Planning Tips

A lot of people out there will say, “Your wedding is only one day of your life!” and that’s true—your wedding day is only one 24-hour period of time. But you CAN bring items from your wedding day into your new home so that your memories become a part of the space you two share AFTER the big day!

Here are some examples of how I incorporated a few of our wedding items into our home:

1. A standard shadow box can show off several items, creating a pretty presentation or “snapshot” of the overall wedding. To start, it’s a great space to display your invitation and save the date. You can also add some dried flowers from your bouquet or your groom’s boutonniere, your and your husband’s place cards from the reception dinner, fabric from your bridesmaids’ dresses, personalized napkins, the cake topper, and the rehearsal dinner invitation.

The frame of the shadow box I used measures 16 x 20 inches. You can usually find them on sale at Hobby Lobby and Michael’s (or use a coupon!). And while you’re picking up the shadow box frame, be sure to grab a package of pearl-tipped pins because the box typically only includes four.

2. You can incorporate your guest book into the décor of your guest bedroom or even your family room. Our guest book is not actually a book; it’s more of a piece of art that’s hung on a wall. But even if you used a physical book, place it in a space that’s visible to visitors and friends so it becomes a conversation piece. They’ll be able to reminisce on the words they shared in it, or if they are new friends, they’ll enjoy reading through the names and well wishes from your wedding guests.

3. During your wedding cocktail hour or the reception itself, guests may like to take a look at some of your family wedding photos. After all, a number of your guests could have also attended your parents’ weddings! This type of photo display takes people down memory lane and sparks the retelling of fun stories.

If you do decide to share pictures of your families’ weddings on your own big day, purchase frames that you and your fiancé would also like for your home and have the pictures inserted into those frames. Then, all you have to do when you’re unwrapping items after the reception is pop those beautiful framed photos onto a wall or dresser.

4. This is definitely the nerdy “I LOVE WEDDINGS” part of me… but let’s talk about table numbers. These paper pieces typically get tossed after the big day, but that doesn’t have to be the case! When you’re working on your table numbers, make sure to have all of the numbers that make up your wedding date.

For example, if your wedding date is September 5, 2015, then you’d want to have the numbers 9, 5, 20 and 15. Of course, if you only need 10 tables at the reception, you don’t have to place the 15 and 20 on tables; just be sure to hold onto them for after the wedding. That way, you can put them together with the 5 and 9 from the reception and display the date of your wedding in a unique way in your home.

These are just a few ideas to get you thinking! Definitely print and frame some photos of you and your husband, and display your wedding album in an area where you and your guests can flip through it often. Although it’s only one day, your wedding is full of so many moments that truly last a lifetime!


Christine M. Darden

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