Planning a wedding requires a surprising amount of research and organization. There are a lot of decisions to be made, and having a centralized wedding book is incredibly useful. Wedding organizers retail for about $15, but in addition to being bad for the environment, they are rather impractical in the digital age when a couple has to print or write down URLs in order to store ideas in hard copy. A physical wedding book is also a pain to lug around. With smart phones, a digital binder is a simple and elegant solution. I cannot prove it, but I am pretty sure that Pinterest, the hottest new social media tool, was invented with wedding planning in mind, because it does the job perfectly and for free.
Pinterest is a rapidly growing visual pinboard/social network with over 10 million unique visitors that allows you (and your bridal party) to pin images to visual boards. If you haven't already started using Pinterest, the answers to your Pinning 101 questions can be found on their help page.
It can be tempting to have just one "Wedding" board and start putting everything wedding-related on there with no real organization. However, there is no limit to the number of boards you can create, and there are advantages to making boards for every wedding category you can think of when you start. Alternatively, you can begin with one board and recategorize images as you gather ideas and hone the vision for your wedding.
Pinterest is great for comparing products you might purchase (e.g. invitations or favors) or vendors you might book (e.g. caterers or florists), but it is also useful for crafting inspirational theme boards (e.g. rainbow wedding ideas).
You can "pin" a new item from anywhere on the Internet by adding the URL, or you can search Pinterest's expansive database of images using relevant keywords and see what others have pinned before you. If you find something you like, simply repin it to one of your boards. Much like Facebook, you can also follow your favorite sites or friends and see a feed of what they are pinning and repinning.
Finally, Pinterest is an amazing resource for the DIY bride, with thousands of websites posting step-by-step instructions for everything from favors to hairstyles.
With so many creative ways to use pinboards and no limit to the number of pages or posts you can make, Pinterest is the perfect green wedding planning tool. Just remember to send your wedding planner a link to your Pinterest account before your first meeting, so you can all be on the same (virtual) page.
Here are a few pinboard suggestions to get you started:
Dresses. There is no denying that the wedding dress is one of the most important pieces of a wedding. Okay, it might be the most important. You could use Pinterest to start your wedding dress shopping before you make any bridal shop appointments. You can follow your favorite fashion designers on Pinterest, or do a search to see what other pinners are sharing.
Location. Will you have an outdoor wedding? Are you going to have your ceremony in a synagogue or a chapel? Maybe you'll be a little off-beat and say your vows on a cruise! While you're weighing your wedding location options, you can start pinning content from the websites of your favorite venues to keep them all in one place.
Invitations. There are a lot of factors that go into choosing a wedding invitation. You can use Pinterest to compare different fonts, recycled paper options, and examples of what other creative couples have done with their invitations.
Photos/Photographers. Pinterest makes it really easy for you to find talented photographers because their clients showcase their work on their own boards. You can discover creative ideas for your engagement photos and connect with photographers whose work matches your style.
Get as specific and creative as you want! Pinterest also makes it easier to collaborate with your bridal party because you can give permission to other people to contribute to your boards. You can even send your wedding planner a link to your Pinterest boards before your first meeting so they can see what you're envisioning for your day.
We're not saying you should throw away the Wedding Book you've been putting together since you were a kid. When you're telling your grandchildren about your wedding, it might be that Wedding Book you'll pull off the non-digital bookshelf. It's just that you can make your life a little easier by using this new technology.
However, heed our warning: Pinterest can be a little addictive!