How to Use Pinterest to Design Your Wedding

Ever since Pinterest entered the scene in a big way in 2010, design concepts are more readily available than ever before. It's an incredible tool that puts millions of ideas right in front of your eyes with the simple click of a button. But anytime you're dealing with access to millions of ideas, you're also dealing with the possibility of overwhelm. So let's cut to the chase... here are three tips for how to best use Pinterest to Design Your Wedding: 

1.) Use Pinterest as a Search Engine 

To some this may seem obvious, but to many it will come as a surprise. Pinterest is often thought of as a social media platform, and quite simply as a visually striking experience that can lead down a seemingly infinite number of paths as you stumble upon idea after idea after idea. Here's the thing: Pinterest is an extremely powerful search engine. On the hunt for a particular color palette? Enter it in the search bar. Want to find great wedding photographers? Search for that. Considering different types of flowers? Search for them too. Everything is fair game from fonts to foliage to foie gras recipes. When you start to use it that way and put a little strategy into your searches (instead of getting lost in whatever naturally appears on your feed when you open Pinterest in your browser), you'll quickly see there's a whole new world out there. And guess what? Hashtags are searchable here too. 

2.) Use Pinterest as a Source for Inspiration 

I'm sure you can guess where I'm going with this advice... right? Use Pinterest to be inspired. Do not use it to copy everyone else (read: steal ideas). This might sound extreme, but it's really a problem. This is the reason why so many event designers (myself included) will readily admit that they have a love/hate relationship with this tool. 

It's easy to find a hundred great wedding ideas on Pinterest. Trying to employ all of them together will probably look like a hot mess. Consistency, cohesiveness, and purpose all matter tremendously. As event designers, we're not just thinking about form and function. We're thinking about authenticity of celebration, emotional connection, storytelling, and an overall sensory experience. 

The best way to use Pinterest as an inspiration source for a wedding, in my opinion, is to use it to collect ideas such as color palettes, moods, raw materials, food ingredients, flower types, hardware (think candlesticks, chairs, china, etc.) Don't stick to "wedding" elements as you pin concepts. Broaden your strategy to include environments, textiles, portraits of human expression, fashion, food, beverage, etc. The most helpful Pinterest board a client could possibly show me is one full of images that allow me get to know them and the overall way they want to feel on their wedding day. That's a really different approach than showing me a board full of pins from other people's weddings. 

Nancy Ray Photography

Nancy Ray Photography

One really important tidbit to consider: If you've hired a professional event designer, please know that you're putting them in an incredibly difficult position by asking them to recreate something you found on Pinterest. Not only is it possible that they know the designer who created the original work you're showing them (and you may quite literally be asking them to steal or copy someone's work), but it's also the case that it's likely disruptive to the creative process, and the strength of that process is likely the very reason you hired them in the first place. It's okay to look at photos with your designer and discuss ideas. It's another thing to show a photo and say "I want that exact tabletop/invitation suite/monogram artwork, etc." If you're hiring an artist, give them latitude to create original art for you. Trust me on this: it's worth it. 

3.) Step Away from Pinterest Once Your Design Plan is Done 

I can't reiterate this point strongly enough. In the words of Theodore Roosevelt, "Comparison is the thief of joy". Your wedding is yours, not anyone else's. If it has been thoughtfully and purposefully designed to be true to who you are as a couple, true to the values you cherish, and true to the experience you want to provide for your guests, then your wedding will be incredible. Once you've finalized a design plan, it's time to quit searching for other ideas because that search will likely lead to one (or more!) of the following: (a) you begin to doubt and second guess your decisions, (b) you stumble upon someone else's idea and feel the need to copy it [see #2 above about the fine line between using an idea as inspiration and copying], or (c) you start to worry that your wedding won't live up to the expectations of others. 

Trust when I say this from the depths of my heart: Whoever you are, wherever you are... know that the most authentic celebrations are always the most beautiful.