Are We Having Expensive Weddings To Compete With Instagram, Or Our Friends?

It’s no secret that weddings have gotten out of control. Just ask any 29-year-old who’s spent hours every Sunday this summer performing the ritual wedding hashtag stalk. It’s also no secret that the number of millennials currently in debt thanks to their wedding—or worse, other people’s weddings—is not zero. 

Asked why, the obvious answer is that people are motivated to do it for the ‘gram. According to Wedding Wire’s Newlyweds Report, 28 percent of couples cited “succumbing to Instagram pressure” as a reason for their increased wedding costs. I mean…that photo of the donut wall cake-cutting that never seems to f*cking leave my explore page may be pretty, but I’d rather not make interest payments on it, and I feel like most people would agree. So can Instagram really be the main reason for increased wedding costs when the average bride has like 500 followers and 10 photos on their hashtag page? (I completely made that statistic up.)

This is the donut wall Instagram that’s everywhere:


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Who needs wedding cake when you have a donut wall ??? . . Follow [email protected] Follow [email protected] Follow [email protected] . . . . //Photo by @lukeandmallory //Dress @bellalilybridal //Bride @allyscalf //Groom @ryanscalf •⠀ •⠀ •⠀ • ⠀ #soloverly #weddings #bride #bridetobe #truelove #thebest #pursuepretty #weddingfun #iloveyou #weddinginspiration #instawedding #blushgown #weddingideas #weddingphoto #weddingtime #instabride #gettingmarried #weddingblog #valentino #michaelkors #marriage #perfect #weddingcake #dessert #relationshipgoals #donuts #cuteideas

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We spoke to Jamie Lipman, the founder of the event-planning company absolute. Wedding & Event Planning to get her take on what she sees as brides’ main motivations for spending more money, and the answer was a tale as old as time: brides are actually spending to compete with their close friends.

Credit: Alain Martinez Photography

According to Lipman, “As a planner, we’re privy to getting super intimate with our clients, and it’s kind of like therapy. They can just flat-out say, ‘my friend got married last week, it’s gotta be bigger and better.’” And as it goes with friend groups, when one gets engaged, there are usually more to follow. The result is that brides are going to numerous weddings around the time they’re getting married, which creates opportunity for comparison. “I had a girl who was kind of like 27 Dresses—went to a wedding every weekend—so every weekend was something incredibly extravagant. The place card wall was floor to ceiling, they had fire-based entertainment, neon LED lights—she compiled all this stuff and gave me a list of everything she’s seen lately and that she has to do more and have a bigger wow factor. She hit every single possible thing of miscellaneous entertainment that we do in our industry. What she neglected to do was focus on the details.”

“The things people try to one-up are the dresses, outfit changes, the gifts they’re giving their bridesmaids, even the way they thank their vendors on Instagram. Honestly, I see a lot of resemblance in photos after.”

Credit: Adi Adinayev

There seems to be no aspect of the wedding—no matter how sentimental or meaningful—that is exempt from competition. “I have had brides who demand to read speeches and toasts ahead of time and critique them because they know how well their best friend’s father did reciting his speech and now she is demanding her dad ‘be more sentimental’ about her,” Lipman says.

Apparently this pattern encompasses more than the wedding itself, and includes pretty much every event a bride could conceive of to celebrate herself, from engagement to honeymoon. “There is an element of status that goes along with the bachelorette,” Lipman explains. “Where are you traveling? How many girls? To see a lot of girls on a trip in your honor makes a statement. So it becomes so much about what will the attire be, as in ‘what will look the best in photos.’ It all looks better in their mind because the actuality of it is that no matter how much you love each other, no girl wants to travel with so many other girls. Intimate environments are what it’s all about.” 

Credit: Cheryl & Jay

At the same time, there’s pressure to do things differently from one’s closest friends, basically for the sake of being different. “We also get brides who don’t want something because their friend had it. I’ve definitely had friends or sisters also tell someone that they can’t have something. Especially if it’s the same venue. Sometimes a bride will want to do something, but their friend got married first and took the idea so now they won’t or feel like they can’t.” She even says, “I’ve definitely heard brides say their friends can’t use the same dress designer.”

Lipman says the real way to stand out is through personalization. “There’s nothing more exciting than the subtle references and details that are specific to the bride and groom, that usually have some humor to it, that make people go ‘wait what? This is great.’” But it’s important to keep it subtle. “Over personalization is something that, when not done right, copied off of social media, or not guided in the right direction by a planner, can be tacky and obnoxious. For example, monograms are pretty basic. I don’t know how important it is to put names of the couples on a logo at the top of the wedding menu anymore. Everyone knows who they came to see.” So make it just a little more interesting.

Credit: Emily Harris Photography

When it comes to Instagram, she thinks brides use it more for inspiration than for competition. “People gather information from Instagram, but it usually stems from a good place because they don’t know the person whose wedding they’re looking at. It’s usually an influencer and you don’t have a direct connection to them. So you can still appreciate it. None of the other human emotions—jealousy, competitiveness—get in the way. The bride can still take from their idea and truly feel that it is their own because they don’t have friends or family in common with this social media stranger. It won’t trace back in her own world, so she gets to hear ‘wow…that was so creative, I can’t believe you did that.’” 

We asked her how stressful this must be to deal with and she assures us that, “it’s not always so catty. I think everybody prides themselves on at least trying to be original.” You know what that means: say no to neon signs and donut walls in 2020.

Images: Alasdair Elmes / Unsplash

Our Top Wedding Trend Predictions For 2019

Another year, another parade of invitations, registries, and all the bullsh*t that goes with weddings. Weddings are super fun, don’t get me wrong. But when you’re super #popular and get invited to more than one per month, they quickly become exhausting. The good news, though, is that we’ve gotten super amazing at spotting trends. We’re like J.Lo in The Wedding Planner, minus the crippling loneliness and love-match with Matthew McConaughey.

Here’s to hoping 2019 is the year that mason jars and burlap finally eat sh*t and die as acceptable wedding decor. Fingers crossed that boots with wedding dresses becomes a fashion offense so serious it stays on your permanent record. These are the wedding trends that you’ll probably see this year, like them or not.


Less blush and pastel, more maroon, emerald, and black. 2019 weddings will be more edgy in terms of color than previous years, when we saw light and feminine color overkill. This is 100% grool with us, considering black is all we own and working it into a wedding just feels right. There are tasteful ways to incorporate dark, mature colors without turning it into a goth wedding, and we’ll be seeing a lot of this.

“Cheese” Cakes

This one goes out to all the brides, grooms, and wedding guests that couldn’t give two sh*ts about wedding cakes. No one eats them, they’re crazy expensive, and they very often don’t live up to expectations. Those reasons and others could be why we’re expecting to see an uptick in “cheese” cakes at weddings this year. We don’t mean a multi-tiered NY Style Cheesecake from cousin Vinny’s mom. We’re talking about a literal tower of cheeses like brie, gouda, and/or gruyere arranged to give off cake vibes. Europeans have been offering cheese courses as dessert for like, ever, and we all know they’re better at everything anyway.

Smoke Bombs

Yikes. We’ve been waiting for, like, a while for something to dethrone sparkler exits at weddings. Word on the street and Internet is that colored smoke bombs will become the go-to for flashy goodbyes at 2019’s weddings. Think gender reveal, but more elaborate. I’m literally dying to see the “wedding smoke bomb fails” compilation on YouTube in approximately five months.

Banquet Tables

Banquet tables make guest feel like they’re more involved in the reception and wedding action, and they’re making a comeback this year. Instead of individual dinner tables that require you to VERY carefully choose who’s sitting next to who, banquet tables allow for everyone to be a part of the cool kids’ table even if they are, in fact, v lame.


Yassss. Velvet has been creeping it’s way back from the 80’s slowly and surely over the last two years, and 2019 may finally be the time it makes its mark on the wedding industry. Look for velvet smoking jackets on grooms (really), velvet two piece dresses for bridesmaids, velvet ribbons on flowers, and even velvet table runners. If you’re the bride, though, be sure to work with specialty linen companies to nail this trend as it can look v tacky when it’s done wrong.


Eucalyptus, ferns, and roses will never stop being a go-to for flower arches or decor. But in 2019, we’ll start to see soft, wild grasses like wheat and pampas utilized more frequently. It goes with the whole trend of bringing neutral, natural beauty to nuptials without a) adding in several thousand for flowers and b) having to get matchy-matchy with your wedding party attire. If it’s done right, I’m totally into this.

Natural Beauty

Well, Meghan Markle did something right. Turns out the actress’ penchant for very natural makeup on her wedding day has translated pretty well to us common folk. In 2019, there’ll be less dark lipstick, crazy stage makeup, and overly intense highlighter adorning brides. Think more soft, pink, and natural-hued lips paired with light smoky eyes for this year.

Obviously, weddings are super personal, and everyone has their own taste, but we all have access to the same sh*t on Pinterest. How are we feeling about these trends? Honestly, I might be excited to start going to weddings again.

Images: Nathan Dumlao / Unsplash; The HK Photo Company / Unsplash; Giphy (2)

Instagram-Worthy Wedding Decor That Will Get Double-Digit Likes

With the exception of Mean Girls 2, nothing is a greater waste of time and money than a wedding that is not highly Instagrammable. If you’re going to ask 150 people to wear bras and/or real pants in your honor, you better at least give them a decent Instagram opportunity. For some sick reason, tons of people decide to blow their wedding budget on tacky shit like monogrammed beer koozies when they should be spending it on making the most Instagram-worthy wedding of all time. Here are a few ways to make your wedding as Instagram-worthy as a Kardashian baby shower. And no, this list does not include fake Polaroid cut-outs, words made out of gold balloons, or photo booths with props. Obviously.

1. Greenery Walls

From juice bars to wellness shops (whatever the hell those are), every super Instagram-y spot has greenery walls right now, and you should totally get one for your Instagram-worthy wedding. Although greenery walls are really trendy, they have a super timeless look, so they won’t look as dated as a step and repeat with your wedding hashtag when you look back at photos in 15 years.

It was all a dream… so then I built it. And it turned out more magical than I’d imagined! ???????????????????? Our new customizable boxwood hedge wall made magic at @districtwinery last night for the @mlweddingswashington @dcmagazine Evening of Bridal Luxury. Lush live greenery, stunning silk florals and our 6’ “it was all a dream” LED neon sign came together and slayed. So excited for all the possibilities this new wall holds! Shoot us a note for details. #greenery #brighthearteddetails

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2. Neon Signs

Admit it. You’re like, a million times more likely to attend an event if there’s a neon sign you can take a photo of. I go to a nail salon that’s like, way out of my way just because they have a neon sign on the wall. Anyway, neon signs are now such a thing that you can easily get a custom one that says whatever you want.

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'Till Death Do Us Part ❤️ SLAY your wedding signage with a #NEON #weddingsign from @echoneonstudio | Photography by @laurenscotti #wedding #weddingday #weddingplanning #weddingdecor #neonweddingsign #tilldeathdouspart #justmarried #weddingvibes #weddingchicks #wcechoneonstudio #ad

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3. Unexpected Florals

Getting a dope florist is actually one thing I recommend investing in while you’re planning your wedding. Fresh flowers will enhance the overall feel of your wedding, and they’ll look great in pictures, too. Trusting your florist to pick arrangements that will be freshest during your wedding season is one way to avoid getting the same peonies and white roses that everyone tends to get, but if you really want to pull in a decent amount of double taps on your reception pics, go a step further and look for unexpected florals. Air plants, succulents, and other live growing shit that isn’t a traditional flower will definitely set your wedding apart.

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These favors pulled double duty. Attendees were guided to their tables with help from potted @balconifloral succulents, which served as both escort cards and favors. #marthaweddings ?: @blushwedphotos | ✒️: @foxandflourish

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4. Hand Calligraphy

You know you’re a boring adult when you spend more time lurking hand calligraphy accounts on Instagram than drinking. Whatever. At least this shit doesn’t cause hangovers or require actually getting dressed. Anyway, calligraphers will basically turn anything you want into a beautiful custom masterpiece. Hand calligraphy—whether it’s printed on personalized leather jackets for your bridesmaids or place settings made of amethyst slice agate geodes—will take your Instagram-worthy wedding to double digit likes. (Honestly, I was going to pretend that I’m fancy enough to know what order the words “amethyst slice agate geodes” go in, but I have no fucking clue. Just throw that keyword into Pinterest and see where it takes you.)

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???? this bride is amazing.

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5. Acrylic Shit

Acrylic is one of the coolest trends in the wedding industry right now. Whether you’re using it for your invitations, dinner menus, or day-of signage, everything looks way cooler when it’s on acrylic. But please, for the record, let it be known that I am not giving you the green light for bad acrylic nails.

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How stunning is this idea for an escort card display? ✨ Gorgeous floral arrangements were encased in modern acrylic structures which displayed guests’ names and table numbers. #marthaweddings ?: @gritandgraceinc | ?: @sweetrootvillage | ?: @theideaemporium

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6. Balloon Installations

Okay, I know I said that everyone needs to cool it with bad balloons, but balloon installations are amazing. Like, obviously not in a “prom committee dropped the ball on the decorations fund so we’re going to tie a bunch of balloons to this pole” way, but in a cool, artsy way.

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Say goodbye to past visions of your cheesy high school prom balloon arches! And say hello to garlands, confetti, tassels, and filled balloon goodness! Balloons are getting a totally chic makeover in the wedding world right now, and we're loving it! For couples looking for a playful or eclectic aesthetic for their wedding days, these inflated details could be just what you're dreaming about! Curated from Etsy and from our fellow wedding editors, we gathered up the most stylish ideas to inspire any bride or any groom who is all about the fun when it comes to hosting a celebration with their closest loved ones. ? [See the ultimate roundup on the website. Link in profile.] // Photo: @alexamariephotography | Styling & DIY Balloon Garland Kit: @jollityandco | Cake: @whippedupbymimi // #tidewaterandtullevendorfam #thatsdarling #pursuepretty #flashesofdelight #livecolorfully #hrva #weddingphotographer #weddingideas #weddingday #engaged #bridetobe #weddingplanning #weddinginspo #gettingmarried #loveislove #virginiaisforlovers #virginiawedding #hamptonroads #loveva #hrvaweddings #weddingcake #geometricwedding #modernwedding #weddingballoons #balloongarland #balloondecor #ultraviolet #pantone2018

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7. Custom Dance Floors

Ugh country clubs with ugly carpets and weird dance floors are such eyesores in wedding photos. Don’t even get me started on outdoor weddings. (Have you seen that Tide commercial for the girl with a nasty wedding dress after her barn reception? I still have nightmares about it.) Custom dance floors will elevate the entire look of your wedding and will show up in every single Snapchat of your drunk cousin who thinks the Dougie is still a thing, so they’re totally worth the investment.

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Not everything is black and white. This love was. Check out this dance floor. Cue the music!! . . #bride #groom #love #bridalinspo #inspired #quotes #black #white #everything #letsdance #glam #beach #wedding #blackandwhite #modern #fun #gorgeous #bold #planner #designer #stylist #jerseyshore #newjersey #weddinginspo #custom #color

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Images: brightlyeverafter, weddingchicks, martha_weddings (2), hey.halle, tidewatertulle, viburnumdesigns / Instagram