This year's hottest wedding trend: fighting back against "Pinterest-perfection"

Updated Jun 28 2018
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Photo by Jelger and Tanja Photography

Once a week or so, I'll get an interview request from a journalist — and inevitably one of the questions they want to ask is "What are your wedding trend predictions for next year?" I usually hedge these questions with a positive spin like, "Hopefully, a reduction in fear-based marketing" or "Less body-shaming directed at brides under the guise of beauty," but this year I have a bigger prediction:

Couples are going to start fighting back against the idea of "Pinterest-perfect" weddings.

Don't misunderstand me here: I don't think people are going to stop using Pinterest. This isn't actually about Pinterest at all, which is a wonderful tool for visually collecting inspiration. Pinterest is great! I don't think we're going to be seeing a reaction against Pinterest itself, but rather a reaction against the kind of visual uniformity that Pinterest has unwittingly enabled.

This issue absolutely pre-dates Pinterest. I've been writing posts since way back in 2009 about how couples need to know when to stop looking at wedding porn. There's a time for gathering inspiration, and then there's a time for being confident in the vision you've got, and moving forward with it.

This was true before the internet, when people were just gorging on overpriced wedding magazines and making collages with scissors and glue. This was true five years ago, when people were doing things like saving image files to their hard drives. (I once got an email from an Offbeat Bride Tribe member informing that she had over 10,000 images cataloged on her hard drive, and was there a way for me to host this massive image database for her? Needless to say, the answer was no — and I am endlessly thankful that Pinterest solved that problem.)

The power of Pinterest is that it makes it really easy to see the ubiquity of certain wedding trends. When it's page after page of visual tiles, it's super easy to spot the patterns, and then also super easy to get fatigued by them. I'm not just talking about more "mainstream" accessible wedding trends like rustic chic barn weddings, burlap, succulents, or photo booths — I'm also talking about more Offbeat trends like steampunk influences, Doctor Who references, and ring-warming ceremonies. All these things are FUCKING AWESOME, but when you're on Pinterest scrolling through page after page after page of them, it's understandably all-too-easy to start noticing the trends, and then start feeling fatigued.

Again: I love Pinterest, and really this isn't especially about Pinterest. It's about the internet making it easy to see and share and binge on visual inspiration… and then find yourself bent over the toilet bowl of your own patience. Your stomach is basically like, "I cannot digest any more cute and creative authentic expressions of anyone's love — HORK." You hold back your hair, and hope that the glitter and burlap threads don't splash back into your face.

I sympathize with all sides here. I'm a wedding blogger and if I didn't love looking at weddings, I wouldn't still be doing this after eight years. But I also have a deep sympathy with the wedding inspiration exhaustion that Pinterest can accelerate.

That's why I foresee that this may be the year that couples start finding ways to reestablish their own sense of what matters to them, separate from the pages of tiles of adorable spray painted animals and glitter-encrusted escort cards.

I'm not totally sure what this reaction will look like — will wedding photographers go minimal? Will more couples decide to go for cake and punch receptions? Will "retro weddings" start to mean "getting married in a church basement like it's 1978" instead of "create a photo-realistic replica of an alternate rockabilly reality?" Will it mean more people saying "DIY is too exhausting; I want the simplest wedding factory wedding I can get?"

I honestly have no idea. I don't actually have a crystal ball to know how this shift will look, but based on what I hear about Pinterest fatigue, a shift is coming.

  1. Thank you so much for writing this Ariel!! ๐Ÿ™‚ We're thrilled you picked our photo to go with this article, as it's something close to our heart… We truely hope more and more people start to use pinterest as a "last resort" kinda thing. ๐Ÿ˜‰ We live in Vancouver, where's there's tons of hotel weddings that go like this: copy last wedding + insert bride and groom's name here. It makes us sad how people forget they could do whatever they want… Create more meaning…
    For us, we changed our brand at the end of 2014, realizing we have to focus more on couples that follow their gut and step outside of the box. ๐Ÿ™‚ 2015 will be a year of celebrating spontaneous couples and their unconventional weddings. xxx

  2. I was in 4 weddings this past year, and I noticed the surefire way to make any wedding vendor deflate was to start with "I was on Pinterest and…". Not saying that I didn't use the hell out of Pinterest to gather my ideas together. I totally did. But some of my friends that got married this year would use it as a benchmark. They HAD to have that tiny photo or better. When you are standing in a crowded beach in the middle of the summer, holding up a reflector for the bride – in her underwear and veil only – and the other bridesmaids are stuck policing people away from the shot just to get that perfect re-creation of something the bride saw earlier, it's time to give it up.

  3. I was at a comedy show a few weeks ago, and the comedian was chatting with folks in the audience. He asked a recently married couple to describe their wedding and the bride said "Pinterest perfect" and the comedian turned to the groom and said "I'm so sorry dude"

    I thought it was so bizarre that anyone would use that phrase to describe a wedding. It doesn't really say anything about the wedding itself.

    I guess it says that you think it was perfect by a standard that you adopted based on the general vibe of what you picked up from Pinterest? But that still feels very hollow to me.

    • I think "Pinterest perfect" means "my goal was that people can understand the entire event, and our entire relationship via one perfect photo on social media." It's an unattainable, pretty frustrating goal.

      • Our wedding photos are on Pinterest (a whole saga can be devoted to how). I find it weird as fuck to see people "pinning" our wedding photos. One I did see had a comment about how dreamy the photo looked holding hands in the direction of the venue; the reality was me trying to calm my Aspergers husband who was really starting to freak out that he wasn't able to be on a organised time table. It wasn't perfect and it wasn't a true balance of our relationship but to whoever pinned the photo it was dream.

  4. I read a quote that said something along the lines of "I stopped reading those magazines when I realized the only time I saw girls who looked like me were in the 'before shots'".
    It resonated.
    Let's be human; flawed and wonderful.
    Doesn't mean not playing with make-up, doesn't mean not wearing heels, doesn't mean not dressing up for one's friends or partner, just means that life doesn't and shouldn't have to fit in the frame of a four by six print every moment of every day.

    • This is why I'm on the fence about having someone else do my makeup. I want to look like me, not some magazine editor's idea of Bride, which is what I always see on wedding shows and in the magazines.

  5. Love, love, this post and comments. I used to work in hotels planning the weddings and could feel myself sinking back during appointments when couples would say "What do people usually do?" when I asked them about their vision for the day.

    • I definitely see what you're saying, but at the same time, I don't think it's a bad thing either. With the pressure to be "Pinterest perfect" (see above) as an absolute perfect representation of who you and your partner are as a perfect couple, I think it can be freeing to say, "Okay, what's the basic version of XYZ?" I found it very fatiguing to have people ask about certain details that we just didn't care about, and it is nice to just have a default for some of those choices. We are no more or less married because of it.

      • This is the truth! Some things I cared about a LOT… other things that weren't important to me I was so very happy to go with the status quo, or figure out if there was something important to my family, and roll with it.

  6. I have always resisted Pinterest, knowing I would fall down the rabbit-hole of "not good enough"… that is until I found out that I actually was enjoying the wedding planning process. I've never been hugely into the wedding fantasy, and found that the site was the easiest way to bookmark and see all the things I was liking, with the plus that it provided a jumping off point if I was clueless. BUT, this article totally resonates for me – our venue is beautiful on its own, that's why my fiance and I love it. Pinterest would have me believe that I need to spend $$$ and/or hours of my time to make it "perfect". So frustrating! But also a little satisfying to be able to put it down.

    • I've never been hugely into the wedding fantasy, and found that the site was the easiest way to bookmark and see all the things I was liking

      Yeah, you bring up a HUGELY valuable distinction which is using Pinterest as a bookmarking tool to collect ideas you find on the web VS. browsing Pinterest as your source for ideas. The former is awesome. Pinterest is an amazing visual bookmarking tool and hugely useful. The latter can be challenging… especially if you're just browsing Pinterest's "Wedding" section. In essence, when you use Pinterest that way, you're browsing other people's bookmarked ideas…. instead of assembling your own ideas. It can be useful to use Pinterest that way, of course… but I don't see people burn out on using Pinterest as a bookmarking tool. I DO see them burn out on BROWSING Pinterest for inspiration.

      PS: …but of course everyone should follow Offbeat Bride on Pinterest because hypocracy! ๐Ÿ˜›

  7. I wasn't on Pinterest when I was planning my wedding, and I'm glad. I started using Pinterest after the wedding and made a wedding board with some of my favorite pictures of my wedding and links to purchases we made like dresses, shoes, favors, etc. I mostly did it to help advertise my photographer who was new at the time. I was surprised that some of my pictures ended up being repinned. Not a ton, but more than any of my other pictures. I found it interesting that I didn't plan my wedding with this "Pinterest-perfect" goal in mind, but pieces of it were being repinned as people's idea of the perfect wedding. Just remember that the photos you're collecting might look so amazing to you because the couple did exactly what they wanted and didn't over think it. Researching when you're stuck for ideas can be useful but at a certain point you just have to go with your gut and do what's right for you. Who knows, your own unique ideas might be inspiration for someone else.

  8. I make wedding cakes, and I'm one of the vendors who will see a photo of the same cake off of pinterest in three out of five wedding consults in one day. I'm not kidding, I have client after client bring the same photo in, and I have to act like it's the first time I've ever seen it each time.

    I try to customize cakes so that there's SOMETHING personal about each one. I think pinterest is fine for getting ideas, but it also gets to the point where people are so confused by so much information they just give up, choose one photo and hand it to me saying "this is what I want." It's like they've surrendered to planning overload. ๐Ÿ™

  9. I definitely feel this! I absolutely love this site, but the more I think about how much WORK goes into the wonderful, unique weddings that are featured here, the more I feel like just throwing in the towel and purchasing the most all-inclusive package I can find for my own. :/

  10. Thank you for this!! I thought I was going out of my mind! I'm generally obsessed with pinterest, but I have been really focused on trying to make our wedding unique and personal, and all about who we are! I've been using pinterest as a jumping off point for lots of ideas, but its definitely wearing me down! I hate seeing the same images over and over. I hate myself for looking at someone else's beautiful DIY and thinking about how unoriginal it was to me, since I'd already seen it a hundred times scrolling through pinterest. I took a much needed break from the site over the holidays, and am currently feeling the struggle between "I just want to drink a glass of wine by the fire and be stimulated by ideas" and "if I see another chalkboard sign saying 'choose a seat not a side', I will actually throw up". (Apologies to anyone out there who's already using this idea..! It's charming! Really!)
    So glad I'm not alone in this struggle..!

  11. What most brides (including myself a few years ago) forget is that just because you have seen the same cake, sign, dress, hairstyle, etc. 10,000+ times because you are on Pinterest 24-7 does not mean that any of your guests have. And even the ones that have will still think it's fine.

  12. I LIVE for Pinterest. If you think wedding pinning is bad trying being a Disney addict pinning her vacation! But I completely agree. My fiance and I had the backlash. We backlashed so hard we moved our May wedding to February in an attempt to elope. When our families started supporting us like crazy and our elopement failed we had to dream big and small at the same time (if that makes sense). Now it wasn't about what's on Pinterest or in wedding mags but what we REALLY wanted. It turns out we wanted a simple wedding with some personal touches. That's all. And when it came down to it Pinterest didn't have what we needed and what we will end up with. We had to figure out on our own.

  13. Thank you! For us, we have a pretty clear list of the things that matter more and things that matter less. Our priorities are having enough space, NOT having cake (the FH cannot stand cake), and the playlist. The venue is pretty, but it's just a golf course (and it's one that one of our friends used before, so we know it can handle the people), the menu is pretty standard, and the dress was a $399 special from David's Bridal. One of my bridesmaids is a pinterest fanatic, so she's taking over cute favors duty. But as much as I see some of the weddings on here and I think how much I love what they've done, it's just not for us. We don't have that kind of follow-through. If it's a choice between hand-cutting programs or binge-watching, sorry programs, you lose.

  14. I am in the wedding business and to be quite honest once you see the same thing at nearly every wedding, it's not so cute and unique anymore, for instance I think I am over the fingerprint tree, it's not original or unique after seeing it again and again… plus people all dressed up don't really want ink on their hands ๐Ÿ™‚ hey and that's just one example, there are SO many more and it's like I see the same stuff at nearly every wedding now, people do need to start coming up with their own ideas that are more about WHO they are and what they like and forget about what everyone else posted on pinterest.

  15. Oh my goodness, here's hoping! I too love pinterest but also recognize its limitations. The word "perfection" gives me the creeps. And, even more so when it's attached to the word "pinterest." ๐Ÿ™‚ I love seeing couples really being themselves in their weddings. I think it's cool to borrow some ideas from other weddings, and did so in my own – and found some of those ideas on pinterest (maybe eben the "Choose a seat, not a side" sign b/c I could not think of a cuter way to express that suggestion). But, you gotta keep the *you* in your wedding!
    Thanks for posting!

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