“Brides use strange words to describe their weddings—think ‘shabby chic’ and ‘sophisticated country,’” says Sarah Danaher, the DC-based photographer behind wedding-focused Ampersand Photography. Of brides’ reactions when they see their theme onscreen for the first time, depicted in a mood board of Pinterest photos, Danaher says, “They just go kind of crazy.” The site, filled with shared images, is a scrapbook of their theme come to life. And the strong reaction is quite common for social media's new darling; Pinterest is, after all, the fastest-growing social media site of all time.
“I never expected to plan my wedding on Pinterest; it just kind of happened,” says newlywed Vanessa Collins, who hired Danaher for her Indiana wedding in the fall of 2011. She says the site helped transform her vision into reality, 1,700 pins later.
Collins says she wasn't as obsessed as some—“just 15 minutes here, 15 minutes there, maybe two to three hours a week”—but she does call the site her “reference bible.” She recommends brides create multiple boards—one for flowers, one for appetizers, one for jewelry, and so on—in order to make finding content a bit easier.
And Pinterest isn’t just to for brides. Danaher saves go-to poses in a "pose book" for her couples, as well as ideas for themed or stylized wedding shoots. Her inspiration boards for wedding clients have included themes like “aqua and blush,” “maps and light blue,” and even “berry,” inspired as much by the fruit as by the color. A separate “real weddings” board serves as a sort of supplemental portfolio of work she has already completed.
Margo Fischer, the DC-based wedding planner behind The Bright Occasions, gets a bit more granular. Her 1,200-plus pins range from inspiration boards for specific couples to general ideas like “chuppah,” “candy table,” and “tables and place settings.”
Michelle Matricardi, a time-challenged Arlington bride planning a July wedding in Paradise Island, Bahamas, credits the site with helping her turn vague concepts into inspiring images, sidestepping the seemingly endless attempts at verbalizing idea that is much better expressed via a photograph. “It really helps brides who have no idea what they want, or have nothing envisioned beforehand, or are too lazy to buy wedding magazines,” says Matricardi of Pinterest's multiple uses. “It’s great for brides who are not organized about the wedding and have little free time—a.k.a. me.” Matricardi’s bridesmaids have even created pinboards to help with the planning process and to collaborate on ideas for their dresses.
Certain bridal brands and wedding-focused businesses have also taken to Pinterest, using the site to market wedding venues, gowns, flowers, stationery, and other associated wares.
But most of all, Pinterest is an inspiration, a giant venue for idea sharing among friends who are, when it comes down to it, all looking for the same thing: the perfect wedding day. “Searching on the site has given me hope,” says Washington-area bride Toni Rae Brotons, who admits budget is of paramount concern. Thankfully, in the land of Pinterest, DIY isn’t a dirty word, and brides have had plenty of success copying high-dollar ideas on the cheap. “[Pinterest has shown me that] I can do things that are fun, personal and inexpensive,” says Brotons. With or without using words like “shabby chic country sophistication” in the theme.