I heard about Pinterest at a wedding reception last year and within 24 hours, I was hooked. I had to pin everything: I grabbed every vegan recipe, organizing tip, cute outfit, inspirational quote, and makeup tutorial I could get my freshly ombre-manicured fingers on. Then, a few months later, I got engaged and suddenly it was time to add a new board.
As a proud member of the one percent of Pinterest users who didn’t already have a Dream Wedding board, I started a For Real Wedding board and began to explore the site’s “Weddings and Events” category. Within five minutes, it became apparent to me that I would need to locate a rustic barn surrounded by an endless field of wildflowers. According to Pinterest, that seems to be the only place people are getting married these days.
I began the search for my Rustic Bridal Barn immediately, and was shocked to learn that they aren’t readily available in my area. Or any area outside of Pinterest Land, really. I was even willing to be flexible on the field of wildflowers. Undeterred, I settled on one of the squares in Savannah, Georgia.
Having found a location, it was time to focus on decor. According to Pinterest, brides are combing the shoreline for interesting pieces of driftwood and crafting their own elaborate centerpieces. I headed to the beach confident that some ready-made driftwood centerpieces would be there waiting for me to inscribe with our initials. Once again, shock and disappointment took over. I was going to need a new centerpiece plan.
By this time, my mother had joined Pinterest, and stuff got real. We met up at the fabric store after work to discuss varying shades of burlap, because every Pinterest Wedding is made of burlap. That’s why all Pinterest Wedding candles are contained in a mason jar: to avoid an unfortunate burlap fire. Confident in my mom’s position as Burlap Manager, I turned my attention to flowers.
I met with the florist to order my twee Pinterest Wedding bouquet, showed him no less than 22 bouquets on my pin board, and requested that he artfully combine them. I required exactly eight cabbage roses and 12 peonies and absolutely no baby’s breath. I was undecided about bridesmaid bouquets, as nobody actually pinned photos of bridesmaids with traditional bouquets anymore. Instead, there was a contest among brides to see who could convince their lifelong friends to proudly carry the most ridiculous item down the aisle. I considered giving them each a kitten wearing a jaunty hat, but eventually settled on turquoise paper parasols.
Since all Pinterest Wedding photos are majestic and ethereal, I met with my photographer to discuss how we would make this happen. I planned the time of my ceremony around the sun’s schedule. I had to walk down the aisle at the exact moment when the sun would be in the ideal position to achieve what I now call the Pinterest Wedding Ethereal Lens Flare. Through some extensive Google searching, we determined that 5:00 p.m. would be the perfect time to wed. We scheduled a two-hour block of time prior to the ceremony for photos of my bridesmaids and I happily getting ready, gazing wistfully at ourselves in the mirror, and sipping our mimosas.
It might have seemed like my Pinterest Wedding was coming along nicely, but in reality the anxiety was mounting. Unable to choose between the two, I had an elegant cake surrounded by adorable gluten-free cupcakes. We had a candy buffet with a clever sign proclaiming “Love is Sweet.” You see, every time I planned a small detail, I would see someone do it better, with more whimsy, on Pinterest.
A few weeks before my wedding date, I’d had enough of being out-twee-ed and out whimsy-ed. I developed acute bridal apathy and quit Pinterest in a huff. After going cold turkey, I realized that Pinterest only shows us the good side of weddings. It shows a glowing example of how weddings can look when everything goes as planned. In reality? It rained all day leading up to our ceremony. The rental company didn’t set up our chairs in the park because it was raining. Our getting-ready photo shoot time was spent with my bridesmaids yelling at the rental company and me obsessively checking the weather radar. The chairs arrived 20 minutes after our ceremony was scheduled to begin. The rain stopped, the sun came out for the first time that day, and we started our ceremony 45 minutes late. We walked through the mud, so our hand-painted burlap aisle runner looked like a used coffee filter by the time I got to see it, and the bottom of my dress looked like a tea bag.
But you know what? I was so overcome with joy that I did the ugly cry all the way down the aisle and through half of the ceremony. It was perfectly imperfect, and absolutely beautiful. My Pinterest Wedding turned into a Real Wedding, and it was the most wonderful day of my life.
Jillian Stafford is a yoga teacher and recovering Pinterest addict from Savannah, Georgia. You can find her on Twitter at @jillystaff.