Are you single and still planning your wedding? (Photo: Corbis)Take a look at Pinterest and you’ll find plenty of boards dedicated to amazing weddings. The perfect dress. Gorgeous engagement rings. Romantic up-dos. Awe-inspiring do-it-yourself decorations that would put Martha Stewart to shame. But among all of the wedding offerings, certain boards stand out: Ones created by women who are proudly and publicly planning for the big day even though they’re still single.
They’re not pretending otherwise, either. With titles like “How single girls plan their wedding,” “Planning my wedding while single,” and “Single with BIG wedding plans,” the boards are packed with Cinderella dresses, party theme ideas, and pictures of enormous diamond solitaires — playing up the myth of the perfect wedding while ignoring the reality of real-life marriage.
“Finding somebody who wants to be plugged into your life exactly the way it is, and all the choices you’ve made, is not so easy,” Dr. Lisa Morse, a clinical psychologist in Manhattan, told the New York Times. “I think for anybody it’s much easier to plan a wedding than it is to form a meaningful relationship that is going to lead to a fulfilling marriage.”
Blame society for continuing to make marriage the holy grail for women — and for marketing the idea that a pretty wedding makes for a perfect marriage. Forty percent of the 20,000 brides polled by TheKnot.com in 2011 said that they visited the wedding-planning portal even though there wasn’t a groom in sight, the site’s director Anja Winikka told the New York Times. More than 14,000 members of the Weddingbee.com forums identified themselves as not yet engaged. It’s wedding planning as entertainment, complete with with reality shows dedicated to finding the perfect dress, dealing with awful in-laws, and losing weight for the wedding. So is it any wonder that women are prepping for their big day even before they’ve picked a life partner? Pouring hours and energy into planning the perfect wedding so far in advance may be unrealistic, but for many women it’s still plenty of fun.
“Been around for just over a year now, and I have to say I do enjoy this community,” wrote Weddingbee user NehaPrasad92, who has more than 1,300 posts on the site. “Even though I am not waiting, a bride to be or engaged (and not to be for QUITE a while, understandably! Lol), I still enjoy voting on the polls, answering threads, and ogling all the beautiful dresses and rings and whatnot!”
And knowing that you have the perfect wedding all planned out can be a relief to many women — or, at least, a good distraction. “I think for some people this becomes a way of taking away their anxiety or refocusing their anxiety away from their real concern, which is meeting somebody,” Morse suggested.
But all that planning could be doing more harm than good. For one thing, it reinforces the whole center-of-the-universe princess mentality — one wanna-be bride told the New York Times that her future groom’s input wouldn’t matter, and that certainly doesn’t bode well for her future marriage. For another, it also maintains the misconception that the details, rather than the meaning, make the day. And as etiquette expert Anna Post (etiquette icon Emily Post’s great-great-granddaughter) points out, all of that over-the-top someday-my-prince-will-come planning could scare a good guy off.
“That’s a lot of pressure for a guy to see,” she told Your Tango, adding that after three years of being in a serious relationship, she posted an engagement ring on Pinterest but “I still felt kind of weird about it.”