Nicole Johnson had the perfect cake in mind when she planned her wedding. There was just one problem. None of the bakeries she knew made frosting in the color the BYU senior wanted.
What was the source of this mystery color?
“I used Pinterest a lot,” Johnson said.
Johnson is not alone. Brides around the nation rely on social media to make their big day bigger than ever. They increasingly use online sites like Spotify to select their perfect wedding playlist, apps like Zola to create a digital registry and personalized wedding hashtags to share the event.
Seventy percent of brides-to-be admit to having wedding-themed Pinterest boards before they are even engaged, according to a survey this year by Mashable and The Knot.
Engaged women scroll past picture after picture of extravagant receptions, magazine-worthy engagement photos and designer dresses. And they want their weddings to imitate what they see online.
The problem is that Pinterest portrays perfection.
“It definitely gave me unrealistic expectations,” said Lauren Snow, a senior at BYU who was married last year. “A lot of pictures on Pinterest are so ideal and elaborate, but not everyone has the same resources and budget.”
A stumbling block to social media wedding planning lies in the sheer number of options. Brides have access to so much content that it can be overwhelming. It’s easy to get carried away with so many ideas at a bride’s fingertips.
For example, The Knot’s Real Weddings Study revealed the national average cost of a wedding reached an all-time high last year of $29,858. And that doesn’t include the honeymoon.
“Because we have access to the Internet and so many places to look for ideas, it definitely increases the amount being spent,” said Susan Williams, who runs Idaho Classic Catering. “Social media is helpful to me as a wedding caterer, but it can be harmful to the bride, particularly her budget.”
Social media can also lead to feelings of jealousy as women compare their weddings to others’. What should be the best day of a couple’s life can become a wild competition to see who has the “best” wedding.
“There is definitely this pressure for weddings to be at a certain level,” said Emma Wood, a BYU graduate student who married earlier this year. “People think that if your hair doesn’t look like one of the 5 or 10 or 20 styles that you’ve pinned, then you’ve somehow missed something.”
Some students feel that social media is more helpful than harmful. Wood said Pinterest was useful for finding and organizing her ideas.
“You can keep everything in one place,” Wood said. “I didn’t have a lot of specific ideas while planning my wedding, but it helped expedite the process.”
Weddings have become a digital event for many brides-to-be. This may change or complicate the experience, but the things that matter most about a wedding seem to stay the same.
Johnson might not have had that “Pinterest Perfect” color for her wedding cake. But she doesn’t seem to mind.
“My wedding was exactly what I wanted,” Johnson said. “Everything that was really important to me that day didn’t come from Pinterest.”