Ditch the wedding propaganda: tv shows, magazines, and (gasp!) even Pinterest

November 12 | Guest post by Goose

We've talked about taking a wedding talk vacation, but what about implementing a complete wedding media ban?

Ditch these bitches. (Photo by: notnef)
Step away from the magazine rack! (Photo by: notnef)
I have sworn off all wedding-related things. Or, at least, things not related directly to my wedding. This includes TV shows, magazines, The Knot, and any other website that makes me have unrealistic expectations of my nuptials. I'm even starting to think about giving up Pinterest (gasp!). I love the pins, but reality is that I get overwhelmed in the wanting of things I simply cannot have. I'm giving up wedding media that makes me feel like my wedding is incomplete without the perfect quirkiness, or subtle vintage touches, or the perfect amount of bling! (You have to have bling! But not too much or it's just gaudy and no one wants that! *rolls eyes*)

This "wedding propaganda," as I have so lovingly been calling it, has only overwhelmed me, smothered my own voice inside my head, and made me feel inadequate in the planning and execution of my own wedding. This is unacceptable.

These shows and magazines make me second guess my lovely dress, and tempt me with perfect $2,000 dresses I could never even dream to afford. They make me feel less worthy, less beautiful, and just overall LESS. And that is not okay.

I need to stop letting the media dictate how I feel at any given moment.

Tomorrow I am gathering up the magazines to donate to a friend who would like them, and clearing my DVR of "Say Yes to the Dress," and all the David Tutera shows. (Boy, I love me some David Tutera though.)

It's going to be hard, not picking up the magazine and looking at all the new cool things. In the long run, though, this will be better. Better for my budget, my frazzled and deployed fiancé, and my self-esteem.

What about you? What did you do that was better for you in the end, even if it went against the wedding planning mindset?

If this idea intrigues you, you might also want to check out our post "When to stop looking at wedding porn."

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  1. This is SOOO true! I get so worked up about the small details about what would be fun, and what would "make it perfect" even though it's already going to be perfect without all of the other crap! I don't know if I could get rid of pinterest (I mean the recipes, etc) but I like the idea of deleting the wedding board and any other wedding boards I've followed.

    2 agree
  2. I have never really used those resources because they seem too overwhelming and expensive. Never my taste. I want simple and something that is us.

    However, I can't give up Pinterest. I use it as a resource to collect all of my website research since we are having a wedding over 1000 miles away from where we are living for college, in a place where my fiancé's family is in upstate NY.

    I guess I feel like places like Pinterest give great resources for planning and bookmarking, especially to share with distant friends and family who want to be in the loop with your ideas.

    As for the magazines, shows, and such… It's just not everyone's thing but I can definitely see how it can be consuming.

    3 agree
  3. This was one of the great things about our short 3-month engagement. I didn't have time to pour over magazines or websites. I had to make decisions very quickly and once I decided on something, I didn't really have time to look at the alternatives that would make me regret what I'd chosen. I picked my dress the week after we were engaged and never looked at another one. There wasn't time to look at a new wedding magazine and think "I should have gotten that dress, it would have been so much better!"

    For people with longer engagements, it might be good to set a time limit for looking at media. You've got a year before getting married? You only get the first 4 months to look for ideas and make notes. After that, you just need to spend time fleshing out what you really want – no looking back at temptation to start over your entire design scheme because the one you saw on Pinterest yesterday would be perfect!

    11 agree
  4. Wedding porn, as they like to call it, gives me something to do. I literally don't have much of a life right now. No kids and he's busy with work and until we have some more money for me to take a photoshop class (which is what I would like to do in my free time) I don't see the harm in looking, besides sometimes they do offer advice on ways to snip your budget that you'd never have thought of a midst all the "your-wedding-isn't-good-enough" stuff. I could see where some people would have trouble. I do sometimes. But I know my budget isn't endless and I'm not going to die if I can't have a certain thing, ultimately I'm marrying the man I love, not the wedding.

    2 agree
    • As a purveyor of wedding porn, I just want to say that if it's not stressing you out, there's NO harm in looking! In fact by all mean: please! Keep looking! It's what keeps our lights on. 🙂

      8 agree
  5. Oooof, do I feel this. Though my addiction is in the throes of "YOU WILL TAKE PINTEREST FROM MY COLD DEAD HANDS" at the moment, I definitely recognize that it (and TV shows, non-OBB blogs, etc) is extremely unhealthy for me and how we should be thinking about our wedding. I mean, the other day I was actually thinking, "Wow, maybe I really do need to move things around so I can spend at least $3k on flowers"…when less than 2 months ago, I was like, "Yeah, I want some flowers but they are the thing I care least about." Dangerous.

    3 agree
  6. This is exactly what I did! Partly due to unrealistic expectations, but also because many of those media did not live up to what we wanted for our big shindig. I found a book online, and used OffBeat Bride for most of my main research. There were a few things that I Googled to find since they weren't exactly a modern or American tradition.

    Maybe I just don't get Pintrest. Once in a while there may be an item that looks cool; however, you have to look through pages and pages of random posts and pictures from maybe one or several people that you know or probably don't know just to find that one thing! I don't have time for all that! I get an idea of what I want, I go find it, and then I make it happen. I don't need to do all that crazy research on Pintrest! I'm really weird about Social Media I guess!

    There are so many things that you can do on your own with ideas from your friends and family and through research! Even finding a site such as OffBeat Bride to back up the idea that not all weddings follow the idea of the traditional blah blah blah… It was great to be able to see what other OffBeat weddings looked like! I loved gathering ideas for our big shindig and altering them to fit us.

    Good luck with your planning!

    1 agrees
  7. AMEN!!

    Just this past Sunday I put away my bridal magazines and decided that I'm going to try not to let wedding planning rule my life. It's only led to stress, arguments with my fiancé (who is too sweet to argue with over stupid things like DJs) and make me dread having a wedding. I'm over media, friends and family influencing my choices and how I feel my wedding should be. The only thing that matters on your wedding day are the vows that you commit to with the person you love. Screw the beautiful couture gown, floral arrangements and over-priced wedding cake. I'm over it.

    5 agree
  8. I actually like the wedding shows (Say Yes to the Dress, Four Weddings, etc) because they make me feel better about the decisions I have made (and the kind of bride I at least hope I am). When I see brides on these shows bossing around their friends and family or buying hideously over the top dresses, I feel like I have this whole thing under control, if that makes any sort of sense. I agree with the time limit on things like bridal magazines. I'm gifting mine this weekend to a girlfriend who just got engaged (we've been engaged for 6 months now and I don't feel like I need them anymore – they're great for when you're getting started but after that they are dangerous). Also, side note, the only magazine that I found really useful with good advice and not just a million pages of glossy ads, was Real Simple. Best money I spent on wedding planning (and it came with a year subscription to the regular magazine).

    And I am of the "you will take pinterest from cold dead hands" camp. It's been invaluable not just for finding ideas but for keeping them in one place where I can find them later (and where my MOH can see them). I even used it to pin invitation inspiration so my graphic designer cousins could all go look at it and use these samples to design our invites.

    5 agree
  9. I have been consuming wedding propaganda for many years, since I was a kid. I think it's actually de-mystified the wedding for me. When I got engaged, my fiancé was shocked when I asked if we could elope-"But you're always watching wedding shows!" – "I know, and planning weddings is an expensive stress mess!" My fiancé convinced me of the wedding, and I've found that having watched a million shows and pinned a million pins has made me really realize what's doable, what's important, tricks on getting deals, and more importantly, what I want. My wedding planning has been very easy and fun.
    I've never been easily swayed by media, though.

    1 agrees
  10. When we first got engaged, I flipped through bridal magazines at the book store, but didn't buy any because I felt two things: I don't see what I want, and…it's making me wonder if I should do things the conventional way because anything else would be perceived as too bizarre…oh- and by the way, I can't afford this stuff!! LOL!

    So I created my own secret Pinterest board, found all kinds of independent bride related things there to use as inspiration and assist with online shopping, and found my way to OffBeatBride.com. That's it. I gave up on the TheKnot, DavidsBridal, etc websites. The to-do lists they have alone were enough to make me have a mini panic attack. I have second guessed a few of my decisions along the way, but I think that self-doubt would be worse if I were pouring over the magazines- buying them, subscribing to them, etc. And contrary to the advice of well-meaning acquaintances- I have NOT watched any bridal reality shows. (I did all that stuff for my previous wedding in 2002. It led to a well-organized beautiful day, but it was very stressful getting there…and…that relationship didn't last anyway.)

    There is no need for me to second-guess any of my 'betrothal day' decisions. We're doing what we want and guests are already excited about our upcoming event.

    1 agrees
  11. When I first started using Pinterest for wedding planning, I thought it was very useful. I could link to a whole bunch of stuff I wanted to bookmark, without having to bookmark it! Plus, I didn't have to worry about looking at a link, thinking, "What was this again?" I could just see the picture, read the caption I'd added, and know what it was. I was basically using it like a pin board (how innovative of me). I've mostly stopped using it, since we're really not too intense about things like decor or paper goods, or "fun wedding ideas you have to try!"

    One thing I both love and dislike about Pinterest, though, is that it gives me something to tell vendors. We're meeting with photographers, and I find that Pinterest lets me explain the kinds of photos we're looking for. I can just say, "I'm not into the photos you see on Pinterest, with the dress hanging up in the window, the rings on the shoes, the bride and groom in the distance while the best man and maid of honor hold up an empty frame all cutesy."

    Pinterest-detox also kind of helps me with my own vision of the day. Our wedding won't be the anti-Pinterest, but we're definitely questioning a lot of the wedding images we see (not just on Pinterest, but the whole internet). We ask ourselves, "Why was this photo taken? Is this a natural pose?"

    1 agrees
  12. About halfway through the wedding planning blitz I went this route. I got rid of every magazine, stopped reading any wedding site except this one (and honestly I slowed down my pace here quite a bit as well, even though it's awesome it's still wedding junk), and stopped following all the wedding pinners on pinterest.

    I kept using pinterest, but in a very different way than before. I was no longer trolling the wedding category for ideas, I was using it just to hold the ones I was sorting out. And I started deleting things like a mad woman. I made boards for each project (invites, cake, dress, flowers, etc) and once decisions had been made on something I deleted the entire board. It felt amazing each and every time I deleted a board. I also periodically sifted through the general wedding board and deleted the things I'd decided not to go with or knew we couldn't pull off. It helped a lot. A whole lot. Now that we've had our wedding, I've deleted all the wedding things boards from pinterest (after sorting a few things into various other boards like food and crafts).

    4 agree
  13. My solution was to get married, not have the wedding or marriage go well, and get divorced. Now that I'm thinking about the possibility of a second wedding, I'm jaded enough that I'm ready to throw out all of the details!

    Kidding aside, this time I'm all about "Let's feed people good food and have a ton of fun with our friends and family!" and nothing else really seems that important anymore.

    4 agree
    • I am also planning my second wedding and people have such a hard time understanding that, for me, not spending a lot of money isn't about saving money, it's an ethical decision.

      1 agrees
  14. The magazines are the worst for me, but luckily my very first issue scared me away. They were talking about this laid back, small destination wedding and showcased a $11,000 gown for the laid back bride. I about choked, then closed the book with a loud "nope". Magazines depress me. Pinterest is fun, I like looking at things that could be reincorporated into stuff for the home.
    But I will never give up my wedding shows, never ever. Applying any of that to my own life doesn't even cross my mind because it stretches so far out there into reality TV/fairytale land. The laughs ease the stress, actually.

    Yes, if you're stressed about wedding stuff, stop! If it's still fun for you, keep doing it until it becomes unfun. 🙂

    1 agrees
  15. Now we have a year to go and have pretty much everything planned, I'm slowly weaning myself off the magazines!! I still use pinterest as there's little details that are always handy to add, but it's surprising how much I don't miss the magazines – and I'm saving anywhere up to £20 a month towards the wedding!! 😛

  16. Here's how I made Pinterest an effective tool for our wedding:
    1) I never browsed the wedding category
    2) I followed lots of brides from the Offbeat Bride Tribe, and of course Offbeat Bride
    3) I used it primarily as a pin board, NOT for inspiration (except occasionally by looking at pins from the folks I was following)
    It worked for me… but really, for me, only because I was using it to store pictures, not to find inspiration.

  17. To be completely honest, I would extend it even to OBB, though for different reasons. Now that my dress has been found, invites out, centerpieces ordered, I am feeling less inclined to pop on for inspiration. Sort of like off my checklist, out of my mind. Got other stuff to figure out!

  18. i still look at pintrest though its more of brief glances really. I have yet to actualy yet to buy a wedding magizine the only reason being price, aka $14.00 canadian and i dont have cable so i dont watch tv so no wedding shows for me unless i download them

  19. I am currently planning my wedding for august next year and I'm aiming to put together the whole she-bang for about $3,000. You don't need to spend 20k (which is supposedly the "average" wedding cost? are you kidding me? @_@) on what those magazines and TV shows claim you need in order to have "the perfect wedding". It just takes hard work and a lot of research. Save that kind of money for the honeymoon or to put a down payment on a car/house!

    1 agrees
  20. certainly well said — i am thankful for pinterest in that it has given me ideas for some things that i AM using in my wedding that i would have never thought of, but my 'Wedding Bells' board is FULL of hundreds of other things that I would never in a million years be able to pull off or incorporate — thankfully I have been FULLY embracing my super-budget wedding and actually getting excited at how little i am spending 😛

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