Rise of the Generic Wedding

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Generic WeddingIn a previous blog post I wrote about the impact of technology on weddings.  The availability of technologies like iphone apps, social media sites, and the internet in general has definitely streamlined the wedding industry, and makes planning a lot easier.  But it also means that everybody now has access to the same information.  Sure, everybody has distinct tastes and preferences, but as social beings we are genetically predisposed to “go with the crowd.”  And this brings me to the main downside of the technology as it relates to getting married – the increasingly generic wedding scene.

In my opinion, the pace of this “generic wedding” trend has accelerated in recent years with the exploding popularity of Pinterest.  Yes Pinterest offers loads of inspiration from a visual standpoint, but if you look at enough Pinterest wedding boards, you will quickly start to see that sooner or later they all sort of look the same.  Basically, most of these boards are likely created by wedding websites looking to drive incremental traffic, and as such there may be something akin to a “formula” when throwing them up.  Unfortunately, the general public is not aware of this formula, so web surfers are increasingly seeing the same visuals over and over.

And it’s not just the end consumer who seems to be under the Pinterest spell – wedding planners and other vendors regularly visit wedding pin boards to keep up with the current trends.  The fact that Pinterest is now a reference point for pretty much everyone in the entire industry basically negates its value as a driver of creativity and innovation.

What this boils down to is that images that rank high within Pinterest and/or search engines in general are fast becoming the leading influencers to the average wedding consumer and vendor.  Before Pinterest, almost nobody thought that mason jars, paper lanterns, and chalkboards were trendy.  But guess what, now they are trendy – to the point of almost being cliché – thanks to the ever-expanding reach of Pinterest.

Of course, I am picking on Pinterest here because of its rapidly-expanding center of influence, but other visually-centered social media sites are also contributing to this trend.  Facebook, MySpace (yes it’s still around!), Google Plus, and dozens of others are increasingly regurgitating the same “wedding inspiration” as everyone else.  The result is akin to a “Pavlov’s Dog” scenario where we become trained to want our wedding to look a certain way because that look has been subconsciously burned into our brains.

Ok, so I’m sorry to be such a Debbie Downer on this, but at some point creativity and ingenuity must emanate from within.  Does that mean that the average bride-to-be, groom-to-be, mother of the bride or even grandmother of the bride should avoid Pinterest and similar social media sites at all costs when trying to come up with ideas for a wedding?  Well, no, but instead of using these websites for inspiration, perhaps a philosophical shift should occur in which we now browse these sites in order to understand what everybody else is doing so we can truly do something different and unique.  Otherwise, the rise of the generic wedding will continue for the foreseeable future.

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