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Don't Let Pinterest Take Over Wedding Planning

Don't Let Pinterest Take Over Wedding Planning

The Knot’s Real Weddings Study found that the national average cost of a wedding in 2016 was $35,329. The Knot reports that couples are “splurging on total personalization” and trying to create “the ultimate guest experience.” In order to achieve this end, over 40 million people each year turn to Pinterest to guide their wedding planning, according to the DeepFocus research firm. 

Pinterest is a website with a stream of images which link to websites. Pinterest users (“Pinners”) can create Pinterest boards to store and organize items of interest—think bookmarking but on a whole different level. Pinners conduct 378 million wedding-related searches and save nearly 900 million pins about weddings per year. 

Is all this information helpful or harmful when trying to plan a wedding? And is extravagant spending really necessary in order for a wedding to be memorable? We should approach wedding planning with clarity in terms of our goals, values, and financial health, using Pinterest as a resource but not necessarily a guide.

Using Pinterest as a guide could lead you down an endless path of advice, spending, and comparison. Remember that articles like “Wedding Rules You Should Actually Follow” provide one person’s opinion and should not be given more credence than your own. Determine what you want your wedding to look and feel like before you turn to Pinterest. Romantic images of mason jars wrapped in twine, hair with cascading curls, and perfect background sunsets may sweep you away into trying to achieve something different from what you and your spouse-to-be really want or need. 

Plus, so much inspiration can become overwhelming very quickly. The DeepFocus research firm found that Pinners are more involved wedding planners than non-Pinners, and are also more likely to plan for their wedding several times a day. Use Pinterest as a resource but don’t obsess. Search for specific ideas, such as DIY decorations that can save you money. Jesus said, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions” (Luke 12:15). If you find yourself lusting for material things, remember the purpose of the celebration. Your love and commitment is not proven by your table décor.

Consider your values and how you can incorporate your faith into your wedding ceremony. A majority of weddings include Scripture readings and prayers, but I’ve also seen couples perform symbolic feet washing, braid unity cords with one strand representing God, and have wedding guests sing hymns of praise. It is also important to weigh tradition with one-of-a-kind wedding venues. 

If I were married in my church’s sanctuary, it would be the same location where my parents said their vows, as well as many other extended family members and church friends. I would be a part of something larger, and there’s beauty in that as well. A wedding does not have to be held in a sanctuary to be Christ-centered, but take time to consider how you can honor God on your special day. “Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). 

Another huge consideration should be you and your spouse’s financial health. Pinterest photos can provide couples with unrealistic expectations. Photos of wedding receptions with extravagant lights, flower arrangements, and décor do not often include price tags. Prioritize your spending and do not get swept away by carefully staged photos. Determine a realistic budget and stay within your means. Consider how far your money would go if you spent it in other ways. Four thousand dollars spent on a reception band could be a significant portion of a down payment on a house. 

Keep in mind that prices are inflated in the wedding industry and just because other people spend a certain amount on things doesn’t mean you have to. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2). 

Another thing to consider: the “average” amount reported by The Knot may not paint the most accurate portrait of wedding spending. The Knot polled 13,000 brides and grooms who married in 2016, and most likely used their website to help them plan. This creates a bias, since couples with more modest aspirations may not be using the site at all. Compared to The Knot’s findings of $35,329 as the average wedding cost, a specialized data firm called The Wedding Report cited the national average at $26,720. 

Forbes writer Richard Sine suggests, however, that we shouldn’t even be looking at the average cost. In his article, The Cost of Today's Wedding Trends: Five Takeaways from The Knot's Real Weddings Survey, Sine asserts that the median wedding cost is actually a better indicator of wedding spending, since only 11 percent of weddings actually cost more than $30,000; these high numbers can drastically affect the average. The median wedding cost was only $14,399 in 2016, according to The Wedding Report. 

Ignore the pressure to spend excessively; rather spend in ways that make you feel comfortable, knowing that money and spending is not the reason for the celebration. “Keep you lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’” (Hebrews 13:5).

Pinterest checklists and guides may trick you into believing there is a “right” way to do a wedding, but this is not the case. Do not measure your wedding against a standard set by someone else. Create a unified vision with your partner, and consider your goals, values, and financial health prudently. Pinterest can be a wonderful resource for inspiration and ideas, but it should not be your guide. Let Christ be your guide. 

Please pray with me:

Dear God, Help me focus on what is important. Whenever my attention strays, remind me that I should not strive to be of this world. Help me turn from competition, materialism, and comparison, instead finding ways to honor you. Please be with me every step of this journey. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Maria Cheshire is a third grade teacher who enjoys running, writing, and playing with her dog Lilly. You can check out her personal blog here: 

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