beware the pinterest traps

Pinterest seems to be on my mind these days. Every bride, tom and harry is talking about it. And it is a useful too….. BUT… i have a couple PPP’s : pinterest pet peeves…

glow stick orbs

Pinterest mythology

glow stick balloons

pinterest reality

1. Provides misinformation. Prime example – glow sticks used to light up everything from vases to balloons to punchbowls. Real pin example: cool ideas to do with glow sticks for kids shows the picture on the left with the caption  “If you like the glow stick balloon idea, you might want to try letting them float in the pool for an outdoor party.” When in fact the items on the left are floating LED orbs that retail for 75-120.00 each. (or you can rent them from 🙂 )

2. Presents professional ideas as DIY projects

This amazing architectural design inspiration was pinned hundreds of times with variations of the caption: “Believe it or not…these are glow sticks in water balloons tucked in white stockings.” (so i’m bagging on glowstick pins a bit)

light sock installation Miami

over 1500 repinners will be disappointed to discover this is NOT simply glowsticks, balloons and pantyhose

Shockingly, I don’t believe it because it is not true. First of all – what sort of pantyhose stretch to be 12′ tall? I can barely get them to stretch the 36″ needed to cover my legs (fine, you’re right –  30″).

Second and most importantly, this fabu design was created by architecture firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro for the Design Miami show and unveiled at the Swarvorski Crystal Palace. It is an item called a light sock with a UL powered light source in a net bag. The net bag was filled with 40 lbs of crystals. It is about the farthest thing from being a cheap DIY project one can find. But yet through the dissemination of Pinterest, this art installation is essentially plagiarized down to dollar store junk.

cute but completely against firecode and you will probably end up paying for wax damaged linen

cute but completely against firecode and you will probably end up paying for wax damaged linen

3. Presents many options that will not be permitted.

Real pin example: exposed flame candles.

Fire code is adopted nationally + locally and is the law. There are many instances on Pinterest of exposed flame candles. In a person’s home or at a wedding on their property, it will be permitted. BUT, in 95% of the hotels, ballrooms, museums etc – open flame is a big no no. Some towns have gone to banning all flame period, whether it is enclosed or not. And if you are working with a reputable planner/designer – they will not only adhere to the house rules of the facility but also place guest safety as a top priority for you (and them their insurance)

ice wine bucket

where will the water go?

real pin example: ice wine buckets

there is something in all of this that loves this idea. It is perfect, it is charming, it is festive AND it melts. Everytime I see this idea I can only imagine what happens an hour or two into the event if one of these is on each table. Not that it can’t be done, but you would be surprised how many times over the years this has come up and how few people think about how they will actually make it happen. Now, at a dinner party in your home or these placed on the bar works great, but the reality of serving 13 tables of wine in these is probably more of a time and money commitment than most brides want.

(one solution – use them as luminaries outside to guide your guests. If it is cold enough, they won’t melt and even if they do, no fuss!)

burlap runner

What happens when the space is filled with guests? Only the people who see the space empty will notice this.

4. Magnifies small details disproportionately.

Real pinterest example: this burlap runner picture. I saw this at over 60 design consultations in 2013 (for 2014 weddings). I have yet to be at a wedding where people were that concerned about or taking pictures of the ends of the tables.

I do understand that this picture evokes a ‘feeling’ about the event, but I wonder what the rest of it looked like. Was so much attention paid to the small detail work that the lighting wasn’t adequately handled? Or the buffet line was not big enough and half of the guests were finished eating before half had gone through? Or the cake table placement actually ended up being right in the sun and the cake couldn’t be set up ahead of time? These are all actual scenarios we have dealt with when clients have been too consumed with the small stuff and not worried about the event overall.

When I ask clients how they would like to see their event decorated, what sort of feeling they want – I am met with board after board of what I would consider the detail stuff – pictures of chair backs and escort cards and buntings that say Just Married and pictures clothespinned to a string. Not that these aren’t great and fun and important – but they are not the DESIGN. They are the finishing touches.

Think of it like frosting on a cake – delicious and necessary for a cake but you can’t frost the cake first. You need the plan, the structure, the cake, the overall design. Then you can add the rainbow sprinkles.

Phew! So now that we got that off our chest – venture forth young bridelings and explore the vast universe that is pinterest.

(tongue in cheek) and don’t forget to check out our boards at

About designdakotastyle

ideas about event design and function from one little party design firm on the prairie... a glimpse into design with dakota style.
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