The Pinterest Effect

Have you ever started a sentence with, “So I saw this thing on Pinterest….” ?

Have you ever failed at a DIY Pinterest craft project?

Have you ever seen something on Pinterest and wondered- “HOW DOES SHE HAVE TIME TO EVEN DO THAT”

Yeeeep. Me too.

For those not familiar with what Pinterest is exactly (and if you’re not- it’s time to travel to the year 2013, already!)- it’s basically a smorgasbord of recipes, immaculately decorated homes, craft projects, and “fitspiration” images that you can “pin” to your virtual pinboard.

Somehow they are supposed to motivate us to be a sort of a neo- Martha Stewart. A woman who always has the perfect recipe on the table every night, the most immaculate sense of style, a new craft project every week , and the perfect make-up.  With a perfect 6-pack and sculpted arms. And 3 perfectly behaved children. In other words- she’s got it together.

With every pin we devise our perfect little boards of our idealized versions of ourselves, our home, our bodies, and our dream weddings. Which brings me to my next point-

What happens when magazine-ready versions of a picture-perfect life become the new normal? What if we start becoming unhappy and unappreciative with what is actually presented to us?

1x1.trans in A DIY Dessert Table Backdrop and diy projects blog

It’s somewhat of a Pinterest rite-of-passage, if you will to plan out your dream wedding. I mean, I’d say 50% of the total pins are snazzy clippings from The Knot, Style Me Pretty, and tons of bloggers documenting their big day and it’s IMPOSSIBLE to browse Pinterest without seeing them.

Mason Jars! Buntings! Cakes! Dresses! Floral Arrangements! Perfectly coiffed hairstyles! Color Palettes!

It’s a guilty pleasure for most. I’d never really been the type to obsess over weddings, but even I had one of these before I was engaged. (Or, even in any sort of relationship!) And it actually doesn’t make me crazy because every single girl in the whole world has one of these.

And guys- if you think your girlfriend, sister, friend, roommate, etc. DOESN’T have one of these- you’re horribly mistaken.

You see, there’s just something about the elaborate nature of a wedding that makes girls go in a sort of tizzy. It’s easy to spend hours Pinning, Re-pinning, and “Liking” photos evoking someone’s happiest day of their life. Because hey, we want that too! And, simply, we just like pretty things. (see gorgeous dessert display above. If that’s not swoonworthy, I don’t know what is!)

LOVE THIS! When girls say they want a 'modest, simple' ring they are lying. Don't make me feel bad for wanting a rock!

When Pinning gets Ugly.

Now, the photo to the left is one of the most popular pins on Pinterest- having been repinned 1055 times. (For those that don’t know, Pinterest is essentially the breeding grounds for wedding-mania these days.)

The caption under the photo says “LOVE THIS! When girls say they want a ‘modest, simple’ ring they are lying. Don’t make me feel bad for wanting a rock!”

But here’s the issue I have with this- with every woman that creates a Pinterest board for “My Dream Engagement Ring!” filled with tons of 3-5 carat Tiffany creations, they create expectations that, well, quite frankly, not every man can fill.

So is it fair to expect your man or your man of the future to throw down 10-20K for an engagement ring? I sure don’t think so. Maybe it’s because I was never the type of woman who cared too much for big, flashy jewelry, anyway.

But what troubles me is a generation of women feeling like they have to “measure up” to everyone else and their ridiculous idealisations. Of measuring up to what seems “normal.”

2012-12-11 09.20.17

See, I think my engagement ring is amazingly beautiful and perfect. (on right) It’s very meaningful because it was picked out 100% by my fiance, and the center diamond was a gift from his mother.

Is it a 4 carat rock? No. Would it get repinned over 1,000 times? I don’t know. But you know, I don’t really care. It’s gorgeous. It’s simple, elegant, and ME. But if I compared it to the massive rocks floating around the internet, it would almost make me feel like it wasn’t good enough. Like I wasn’t good enough. (Obviously that’s not true IN ANY WAY. But I’m sure there are people who actually feel this way, and that is exactly my issue.)

Currently, I’m in the tedious process of planning my wedding. At the beginning I got super excited because HEY, I had my DREAM WEDDING Pinterest board, RIGHT?!

That was until I actually researched how much it costs to have that “Dream Pinterest Wedding.”

My parents graciously offered some financial help to help us, and that’s the budget that we have. Since we’re both starting out in our careers, we don’t have tons of savings to blow or feel like getting a credit card.

Those popular Claire Pettibone and Jenny Packham dresses that are constantly pinned? They cost more than my entire wedding budget. And even though I’m more of an Etsy bride than a Bridals by Lori bride, it can be a tad bit discouraging.

The Price of Pinning

If you try to recreate your Pinterest “Dream Wedding” Board, you’re looking at spending tons of thousands of dollars. But really- is it necessary to have 100 mason jars with flowers and lights hanging from trees, chiavari chairs, the priciest journal/art style photographer around, or the latest designer Vera Wang dress? Not really. Sure they’re nice and if you can afford it, great. But for those on a budget, it’s important to realize what’s really important and not get caught up in the wedding hysteria.

Pinterest (and well, social media in general) makes it so easy to compare every aspect of your life to others. But you know what? It’s YOUR life. Do what you want! Who cares if it isn’t perfect, trendy, featured in the latest bridal magazine, or what have you.

It doesn’t matter.

That being said, l’ll make a confession to you- at the very beginning of my planning I actually had this thought cross my head- “I want my wedding to be featured on a wedding blog! Wouldn’t that be SO COOL?”

Thank God that thought quickly passed. Because why would you even really think about that? Is it worth stressing out over minutia just so people can re-pin my photos?

What is the point here?

All these details like paper stripe straws and little cute nameplates are nice to look at, sure, but they probably are unnecessary to your happiness in the long run.

I just came back from a wedding of one of my dear friends from college and it was absolutely beautiful. Yes, it was in an adorable venue, the food was good, and everyone looked great, but you know what really stuck out to me? The look in the bride’s eyes as she was walking down the aisle. The pure joy felt during the father/daughter dance and groom/mother dance. All the party guests getting down to Gangnam style and completely letting go of all inhibitions. (I’m sure the open bar may have had a little bit to do with that, however 😉 )

I was so glad to attend that wedding because it really opened my eyes to what’s important about them. It’s not the ribbons, the bouquets, the chalkboard art, or anything like that.

It’s about the human connection.

So to anyone reading this who is working on their dream wedding board, engaged, or planning a wedding- don’t let Pinterest make you crazy. Don’t get caught up in the details, worrying about incorporating every trend you’ve ever seen. And yes, I still have my dream wedding board and pin to it! I don’t feel like Pinterest is inherently evil or anything, but I now use it to get inspired for an overall vision, not to create false expectations of what something should or should not be. 

And remember that when your time comes or if it’s already here it’s all about the person you’re spending the rest of your life with, the family ties you’re creating, and the memories.

And those are all the things that just can’t be repinned.

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1 Comment

  • Reply tamyraptor October 22, 2013 at 4:48 am

    THANK YOU!!! I have been in the middle of a wedding-inspired crisis as every one of my friends is getting married at the moment, and the dark side of self-comparison and jealousy was beginning to envelop me… (actually, let’s face it, it already had). Your post was like a beam of golden light telling me to GET OVER IT and appreciate all the wonderful things I’ve got, including my wonderful partner and my family (which, as you said, can’t be pinned!). Wonderfully well put <3

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