The Pinterest Bride

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Remember that movie The Princess Bride? Well The Pinterest Bride is not quite a fairytale but it is a phenomenon that I’m hearing about more and more often.

First up, please, please don’t get me wrong. I adore Pinterest. I use it in my own business to seek inspiration and promote myself as a wedding photographer. I also actively encourage my couples to send me links to their wedding boards so I can get a sense of their style. I can hardly remember a time when it wasn’t part of the wedding industry and I believe that it can be an amazing tool in both planning a wedding and communicating with your suppliers.

HOWEVER… there is a new breed of bride who maybe takes it a little teeny, tiny, too much to heart. It’s IF I PIN IT, IT WILL HAPPEN, like that is actually enough to make any of this wedding stuff happen!

A prime example is a lovely friend of mine. She is getting married next year and like many people only discovered Pinterest when she started planning her wedding. For months, she has been merrily pinning away and now has a pretty sizable board with plenty of ideas on décor, food, dresses and flowers. She popped the other day to see me and was telling me all about how she’d been having trouble finding ‘the’ dress. She’d decided that it simply didn’t exist so instead she was going to go to a dressmaker to get something especially made to her exact requirements. She told me she wanted a dress that might be backless but corseted, full skirted but sleek, boho but princessy.

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She had pinned several beautiful frocks and was excited for her first appointment with the dressmaker, fully expecting her to be some some kind of fashion diviner who could make all of her wedding dress dreams come true. I guess she thought she could take all these ideas and like some modern day Molly Ringwald from Pretty in Pink, be able to mush them all together into one killer dress. Well, it turns out she couldn’t. The dressmaker told her to first go and try on some other dresses to narrow down her options considerably. It was impossible to create a dress that fit into all her requirements. She had Pinterest Bride Syndrome for sure.

Talk to any supplier involved in weddings right now and I’ll bet that they could tell you plenty of stories about times that they were asked to recreate something that came from a Pin. Most of the time, it’s totally fine but every now and again it just makes no sense.

I have been stood in a cornfield in lashing rain with a wedding couple trying to recreate a shot they loved on Pinterest that included a vintage bicycle with a basket full of flowers on the front. All the while the perfectly rustic, hand drawn ‘just married’ sign was slowly being washed away at the back. The bride was so concerned with getting the one shot ‘just right’ that she failed to notice there was a great big amazing rainbow in the other direction. Luckily I did notice it and we were able to get the most incredible shots of them standing under it.

I’ve attempted to pull off bridal party shots on a seafront so blustery that their giant round balloons almost garrotted a small child.

I’ve been asked to do couple shoots like those beautiful sunset ones you see taken in a desert… except that wedding was in Central London and when I checked the sunset times it would be the middle of speeches and there was no room to manoeuvre in the schedule. My bride looked at me expectantly as if I could actually bend time…

I’m not one to burst anyone’s bubble, and please do keep using Pinterest to help you define your wedding style and come up with ideas. It’s all part of the fun of planning a wedding. However, here are a few suggestions to make sure you don’t get carried away:

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Be realistic

Be realistic about what you can achieve with your venue, the time of year, the surroundings and how much time you will have. Lots of those gorgeous couple shots that you are pinning could be from the US or Australia where it is common practice to do the couple shoot on an entirely different day to the wedding when they can choose the best light and there isn’t the time pressures of a wedding schedule. Use Pinterest for inspiration but be prepared to adapt to your own day or take ideas you see on there in another direction.

Edit your boards

I would suggest separate boards for different elements of your day when you are in the initial stages of gathering ideas. Pin everything you love! But then – and this is the crucial part – after some time, edit those boards right down to the pins that you really, really love. Take out at least 50% and then go back asking yourself, “Which of these can I absolutely NOT do without?” Hopefully you’ll end up with a much more curated, small and achievable board of inspiration.

There are so many strong styles around in weddings right now. Everything from vintage to ultra sleek modern is popular. While it’s perfectly find to be attracted to lots of different styles (I am a bit of a style magpie myself!) you’ll probably notice that once you edit your inspiration down there will be an overarching theme.

Don’t expect a shoot by numbers

As a photographer, I love seeing my clients’ ideas on Pinterest but I do not like when they ask or expect me to exactly reproduce shots from it. You will end up with forced images that have little to do with the actual events and emotions of your day. Trust me. The real magic of looking at your own wedding photographs is seeing those little moments that will naturally happen between you and your new spouse and your guests. These can’t be faked or preplanned. Those images that you have pinned? They are someone else’s moments.

My last bride who I would consider was a Pinterest Bride eventually did end up trusting me on the day. I kept her boards open on my phone in case I was ever stuck for inspiration but in the end it all just flowed and despite that board on ‘Wedding Poses’ they found it the easiest thing in the world to just be close, be with each other and we made some beautiful intimate images.

Before I left she said to me, “I see what you mean now about Pinterest, I almost took it all so seriously that I was going to forget to be in the moment. I’ve seen you capture so many little things that I know will help me remember today forever. We can’t wait to see the images”.

Make it happen

My final piece of advice is that none of it will happen unless YOU make it happen. I think some people literally think pinning something or having the idea for it will make it magically appear. If you want a cascade of ombre pink pom poms hanging over your dancefloor then you’ll need to be making the bleeding things for a good few days and nights beforehand! When you are fluffing your hundredth pom or your whole house is covered in glitter from the gold sparkly jam jars you wanted, the novelty might will soon wear off. But persevere. A good DIY project will add those bits of ‘you’ into your wedding, and isn’t that what all Rock n Roll brides want?

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About the author

Lisa Devlin began shootings weddings in 2000 after working as a music industry photographer for over ten years. Based in Brighton, she travels all over the UK to shoot weddings that are on the more creative side. After winning the first ever British Journal of Photography’s award for wedding photography in 2011, she started to train other photographers and now runs her own school, Photography Farm.

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8 comments

  1. THIS, it’s really easy to get carried away. Your tip about separating and editing boards is a good one – I had a general weddings board that I dumped everything I liked on and then another board where I put selected, realistic stuff that fitted with my style, budget etc.

  2. Great article Lisa & Kat. Have been meaning to write something like this but much better put than I could! I always tell couples to take Pinterest with a pinch of salt, especially with something like tablescapes, it’s editorial – they’ve spent a whole day setting it, shooting it and primping it and at a cost of about £100 per place setting so it’s not easily achievable on a large scale and on a practical level!

  3. I was the ultimate Pinterest Bride up until recently when I deleted almost 60% of my wedding pins because they were a complete mash up of styles, themes and colours. My fiance was so confused when I showed him my ‘vision’ aka wedding Pinterest board and I can totally see why now. I also recently deleted my ‘perfect wedding dress’ board after finding the one, because I kept comparing all the dresses on there to mine. My friend offered the same advice after she got married last year. She’d wasted a lot of money buying things inspired by wedding shoots on Pinterest, and in the end didn’t need any of them because the natural backdrop to her day (an olive grove in southern Italy) was all that was needed.
    Thanks for this article it has been the confirmation I needed to ease up on the Pinterest boards.

  4. oh god…this is SO true. I’m a total pinterest addict, I could lose days on there. Set up a board for our wedding in August and it got totally out of hand. Had to be brutal, culled a lot of stuff..started to see exactly where we were heading. You do have to be realistic – we did a LOT of DIY but some of the amazing ideas are completely unachievable in a village hall in rural Lincolnshire.
    It’s your day..do it how you want but like Lisa said “Those images that you have pinned? They are someone else’s moments”
    Def make your own. They will be so special to you as a couple.
    Great article xx

  5. Helen

    I got engaged 3 weeks ago – you’d be amazed how many people have asked me if I’ve got a board yet! I’ve not used pinterest before at all and I’m already worried that I’m doing too much research too early – the tips above are definitely going to send me in the right direction – perhaps not having a board at all! Thanks for this post.

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