On Pinterest, ideas for the most-perfect, best-ever wedding seem endless.
Let's face it: It can't be that glamorous to get married in a barn, but on Pinterest, it looks gorgeous. Brides don't use Pinterest to book appointments, pay catering bills or order invitations: They use the social image-sharing site to imagine their dream wedding, from cocktails to cakes and everything in between. It's the 20-something generation's version of the giant wedding binder Monica had on Friends, but instead of lugging around a five-pound book, ideas are stored on a smartphone or tablet.
If you're a young woman on Pinterest, chances are that you or someone you know has a wedding board (think electronic bulletin board) where photos are "repinned" and "liked" and then tucked away for that future special day. We're talking boatloads of inspiration, in the form of an endless barrage of why-didn't-I-think-of-that images.
an organizing tool
Brittany Zion, 27, a writer for the Tampa Bay Lightning and avid Pinner, got engaged in December 2011 and started planning her wedding immediately. She's getting married Aug. 23 in Columbus, Ohio, where she and her fiance met while in college.
So far, she's used Pinterest as her primary source for organizing all things matrimonial, pinning every day to multiple wedding boards under the categories Must-Have Wedding Day Photos, Bridesmaid Ideas, Ceremony, Bridal Shower Inspiration. She tries to balance repinning wedding ideas she sees with uploading photos she finds herself on wedding blogs. "I feel like I'm taking everyone's ideas if I just repin. The point of Pinterest is to use it for inspiration."
And there's plenty of that to be found.
Search "wedding" on the site and you'll see everything from invitations to engagement photos to fondant-covered cakes. "Tampa Bay weddings" brings images of Tampa Bay Rays cake toppers, tropical colors and sunset shots of beach venues.
Some of Zion's favorite ideas she's pinned are dainty vintage handkerchiefs for "happy tears" at the ceremony, and reception table numbers with photos from different years in the bride and groom's lives.
"One bride did this and now a million of us are going to steal her ideas. ... I never would have thought to do that. Pinterest is amazing for the details."
Blair Moore, who is planning a May 2014 wedding at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Tampa, agrees that Pinterest is ideal for stumbling upon "ideas that you never would have thought of before." She said she developed her wedding's theme, a collection of blush colors, cream and black she's calling "blush romance," through Pinterest.
Moore started her wedding board about a year before she became engaged and now uses it for just about everything, including engagement photo ideas, cocktail-hour food and bridesmaids dresses, on five different wedding boards.
"I like that you can see what the celebrity florist for someone like the Kardashians did, take that floral arrangement and pin it, and take it to a florist and say, 'That's what I want,' " she said.
But what happens when every young bride is using Pinterest for inspiration?
Anyone who's spent a few minutes looking at wedding pins will notice recurring ideas: rustic outdoor ceremonies, decor dominated by burlap and lace, mason jars used for all sorts of things.
Zion said she's trying to do her own thing, but there's only so many ways you can change some of these ideas. Based on how many pins she's seen that look similar ("I've pinned 50 centerpieces that look exactly the same," she said), she knows other brides are bound to have the same ideas for their ceremonies.
not just for brides
Pinterest wedding boards don't just attract brides. Jennifer Bosse, 24, of Orlando created a wedding board about four months ago after seeing a ton of wedding pins on the site. She's not planning a wedding. She doesn't have a boyfriend. But on Pinterest, that doesn't matter.
"I was a little hesitant at first because I'm not at the point in my life where I'm planning a wedding, but I love weddings and I think they're such a happy and special occasion and I want to celebrate them," she said. "Also, I'm at an age where a lot of my friends are starting to get engaged and plan their weddings, so it's fun to keep up on trends and see what everyone else is doing."
Like most young women who pin without a ring, she's saving things she likes for the day she does start planning.
"I imagine if Pinterest is still around when I get engaged, I'll definitely reference my board for ideas," she said.
In that way, Pinterest has changed the way brides approach their weddings. Moore went to four weddings last year, and all four incorporated some sort of idea from Pinterest. And Zion said her best friend, who got married before Pinterest took off, can't look at the site now.
"It makes her upset," Zion said. "She just had to Google stuff for her wedding."
In lieu of a wedding planner, "(Pinterest) has given me all of the tools to do it myself," Moore said. "Everything you could ever ask for is on there."
Michelle Stark can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.