Everyone has their own method of keeping ideas organized for their wedding. Some find their zen at Google Docs while others lug around a big ol' binder o' doom. Some use planning websites while others are keeping track with lipstick on a mirror. All methods are good as long as you don't drive yourself crazy keeping track of all your inspiration sources. That's where Pinterest comes in.
I am a fledgling convert to the "pinning" concept of finding something online and pinning it to "boards," in this case, virtual boards. You may be familiar with it via sites like Delicious or a myriad of others, but a lot of them are niche-specific — ones for designers, fashionistas, or techies. And most of them turn photos into big lists of text links.
What it this thang?
Pinterest is the new hawtness since it's super visual, customizable, and, due to its popularity and viral nature, chock-full of inspiration in all forms. Ideas you like from someone else's board can be "repinned" to your wall for later use. And unlike some similar sites, the boards on which you pin are entirely of your creation. Instead of being stuck in the areas of planning you're "supposed" to have (dresses, flowers, etc.), you can create as many custom categories as you like. You can make a board to match your theme or general concepts: "awesome Labyrinth snow globes," "damask corsets," "wedding favors in mason jars," or "non-dorky photog poses." Seriously, whatever flips your switch.
How do I do it?
Trust me, it's not hard to use. Log in and they will direct you to drag a "Pin It" link to your Bookmarks or Favorites bar. So when you're on any site, hit "Pin It" and the image you choose will be placed on your board of choice. The best part is that the image is always linked back to the source. So if you link an awesome hair tutorial image, it will link right back to the full tutorial, no matter how many times it is repinned. Pinterest and its users are committed to sourcing correctly, too.
And bonus: Offbeat Bride just added a "Pin It" button to the site so you can pin to your heart's content.
The part that will keep you up past your bedtime is the social element. You can browse popular pins, pins based on keywords, and anything else that strikes your fancy. You can also subscribe to boards, which allows you to have inspiration roll in for later perusal (and so you can watch reruns of Buffy now). And when you do start browsing again, it's like when you're watching cats on Youtube and three hours later, you feel like you've hit the end of the internet. Addictive and awesome.
Me likey! What else can it do?
It's great for planning and even better for sharing ideas with others. Photographers and wedding planners can use it to easily share ideas visually with clients. Brides and grooms can share ideas with friends and family, even creating a "DO NOT DO" board if they can't quite verbalize what they can show in pictures.
And don't forget that you can use Pinterest after the wedding to save cool recipes, hobby inspiration, and books to read. Life after the wedding is worth planning for and it will help fight the post-wedding blues.
Oh, and if you like to pin on the run, there's a free iPhone app available and an Android app is in development.
One downside is that registration requires a Twitter or a Facebook account, so if you're not a user of either of these, it can be a bummer. You can always set up a Twitter account for this purpose, though. But that's the price you pay for being an awesome tech-savvy early adopter of cool shit.
So, that's the scoop on Pinterest. There are some other sites like it, but I can see why this one is really catching on. It could be especially handy during that early, free-wheeling brainstorming time.
Connect with Offbeat Bride on Pinterest and share your boards!
Let's see your boards too! Post your Pinterest wedding boards in the comments so we can go a-browsing.