Pinning A Wedding
Gone are the days of traditional wedding planning
By Erin Bell

Natalia Bateman was feeling the pressure. She was engaged in February 2012, but one year later, she still hadn’t made any plans for her June wedding. She felt she was in over her head and didn’t know where to begin. Then she found Pinterest, which may or may not have been a good thing.

“The stalking began,” she says. “I was on day and night. I couldn’t stop. So many ideas, and so little time.”


Natalia Bateman and her guests lit floating Chinese

Bateman is just one of the rising number of brides who rely on social media to help plan their weddings. Bridal blogs and websites like Pinterest, where users can link to or “pin” helpful planning tips and wedding photos, have become the go-to resource for brides looking for ideas.

Her favorite online ideas found their way into her wedding reception. Inspired by beautiful photos she had seen on Pinterest, Bateman had guests go onto the golf course among glowing Chinese lanterns, where they lit sparklers to create a bright beacon in the night.

“Everyone was saying they had never seen a whole party leave the reception area and go out all at once,” says Bateman, who lives in Erial. “It was a lot of fun, and the pictures came out really nice.”

In the end, Bateman was pleased with her wedding, and thinks her guests found it memorable and original. But planning a unique wedding reception, rather than a traditional one, is getting harder as more and more brides share their ideas online.

“I felt a lot of pressure planning my wedding,” says Bateman. “It was extremely overwhelming. I wanted to do something unforgettable.”

Bride Michelle Croge of Pine Hill felt the same web-driven stress. “When I was going through Pinterest, there were so many ideas I wanted to use. I remember I drove my husband crazy about chair covers. I saw so many ideas for them online, and I couldn’t decide if I wanted them or not.”

Wedding planners are starting to notice the toll the influx of ideas is taking on brides. “It seems like more and more couples are stressed out when they come in for tours,” says Samantha Lapp, catering sales manager for the Ocean Club Hotel in Cape May. “They don’t know where to start, because there are so many ideas out there now.”

So what’s a bride to do when she has too many ideas? Don’t panic – too many ideas isn’t necessarily a bad thing, says Katlyn Mogavero, wedding coordinator at The Grand Hotel in Cape May.

“The brides who are bringing in a huge binder of ideas or who send me a Pinterest board with a hundred pins – that’s great!” Mogavero says. “Normally, if they do have that many pins, they are all over the place. So I ask them to highlight their favorites. More often than not, going through and picking their favorites is how they decide on a theme. It’s the ones you go back to, the ones you can’t stop looking at, that you’ll incorporate into your wedding.”

Mogavero says she sees brides who simply copy what they see online, as well as brides who only use elements of what catches their eye.

“I’ve walked into the ballroom, and it looks like a Pinterest board,” Mogavero says. She notes that another rising trend with brides is do-it-yourself decorating. “I must say, throughout the past year I’ve had the craftiest brides I’ve ever seen. They make everything. They do it all.”


The Scaricaciottoli couple at Kohr Bros. in Cape May

One such bride was Abigail Scaricaciottoli, who was married at The Hotel Grand in September.

“I’m not a cookie-cutter person,” Scaricaciottoli explains. “I want to do what I like and what’s special to me.”

Scaricaciottoli planned her wedding using Pinterest and bridal blogs. “I was peeking at work,” she laughs about how often she would research her wedding. She took elements of table centerpieces, cakes and floral arrangements she found online and brought them to her vendors to create a unique reception.

“You have to look beyond the picture to see what you want,” she says. “The picture is someone else’s wedding, but you have to look at the little elements from each pin or picture and bring them together. When I was on Pinterest, I thought to myself, now what if I changed the color of that or switched the kind of flower in this? That’s how I brought together my ideas.”

Scaricaciottoli was committed to creating much of the reception herself – in the 18 months she was engaged, she says she rarely did anything but research her wedding.

“We would plan a weekend just for making stuff for the wedding,” she says. “Our table numbers were in picture frames, so we had a day where all we did was spray paint picture frames in the backyard. It was a lot of work, but I got so much more satisfaction on my wedding day knowing I did this.”


New husband Justin Scaricaciottoli (center) and groomsmen reveal their inner superhero

Scaricaciottoli was able to complete all of her Pinterest ideas with help from her fiancé, family and friends. But she says if brides want to create what they see online themselves, they’ve got to do the research thoroughly and make sure they have enough time to get the job done.

“There were some late nights,” she says. “The night before the wedding we were taking white-out to fix up the white lanterns we had as centerpieces – literally fixing them up with white-out to make them perfect. But we were making it our own, and that was important. And you need to do at least three months of research to find what you want. You have to be dedicated.”

Despite all the ideas you’ll see online, couples who incorporate elements that relate to their life together will create a memorable wedding, says Elaine Long, director of sales and marketing at the Camden County Boathouse.

“Personality plays a big part,” she says. “One couple knew they wanted to have a bench in their home, so instead of a guest book they had guests at their wedding sign the bench and write well wishes. Another couple had recently redone their home and instead of getting rid of the old windows, they used them as a seating chart with the assignments written on the glass panes. It was beautiful.”

Long suggests taking a step back and thinking about what makes you and your fiancé special: it might be your interests, your family history or the way you met.

“And it does not have to be something big if you don’t want it to be. It’s the small things that make a difference,” she says. “I remember one couple had different color inkpads out, and guests left their fingerprints on a paper in the shape of a tree and wrote their names next to their prints. That was just the guestbook, but it was memorable. I had never seen that before.”

For Michelle Croge, planning her wedding was overwhelming – before she realized what was important.

“It plays with your mind, everything you see online,” she says. “All these people have really nice set-ups and it’s beautiful, so you want it. So with the chair covers at my wedding, I couldn’t decide at all for a long time. Finally, I realized – are people really going to care what kind of chair they are sitting on? Pinterest was great, but I wanted to keep it simple.”

Croge knows that there are many things on social media that might catch a bride’s eye, but the most important thing a bride can do when planning is stay true to herself.

“You pin things that you know you’re never going to have in your wedding – the amazing, extravagant flower displays and centerpieces that make people go ‘wow!’” she says. “It’s a battle between the beautiful things you see, and what’s right for you and your wedding.”



Trashing the Dress

trash dressIf you only use the dress once, then why not get a good picture out of it? That’s the idea behind a hot new trend in bridal photography called “trashing the dress.” After the wedding, a photographer will immortalize the moment when a bride dirties her dress, whether she’s splashing in the ocean, crossing a dirty city street or playing with animals on a farm.

“The idea is that you’re going to ruin the dress and never be able to use it again because you’ll never need to,” says Elaine Long, director of sales and marketing at the Camden County Boathouse. Brides signify their commitment to their marriage by destroying the dress – in a photogenic way.

“I see a lot of photographers are including it in their packages now, because it’s a trend that’s rising fast,” says Long.

So what’s the verdict on this strange new trend? Brides and SJ vendors are split.

“It’s cool, but I wouldn’t do it personally,” says Katlyn Mogavero, wedding coordinator at The Grand Hotel in Cape May. “I guess it’s a cool way to utilize the dress for more than one day, and you get some cute pictures out of it.”

Bride Abigail Scaricaciottoli was not interested in ruining her wedding gown.

“My dress is too pretty for that!” she says. “Plus, I want to use it to make a baptism dress for my future daughter or daughters. So I couldn’t ruin it.”

But Long loves the trend.

“I know it sounds scary, the idea that you’re going to ruin the dress and never be able to use it again,” she says. “But I think it’s so creative and original. It can show a different side of your personality. Yes, you can do the formal, posed pictures at your wedding – and you should. But trashing the dress shows your sense of humor and that you can have fun.”

April 2014
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