Every bride-to-be knows exactly what would make her wedding “perfect” but there’s almost always a difference between what a bride wants - and what she can afford. It’s called the “bridal gap.” 

It’s becoming a bigger deal than ever, and not just with brides on a shoestring budget. Even women who spend tens of thousands of dollars on their big day aren’t completely satisfied with their way their wedding turns out. 

And image-sharing websites like Pinterest have a lot to do with it. Anja Winnika is the director of the wedding website: TheKnot.com. And she says that’s because browsing picture-perfect websites is the equivalent of shopping in stores with no price tags. Which means, a lot of brides who would’ve been thrilled with a lower¬-end gown are bummed because the dresses they’ve seen – and loved - cost $10,000 and up. Still, if you’re careful, Pinterest can be an important wedding planning tool:

  • Start by: Thinking of Pinterest as a means of communication. It’s a great way to compare color schemes, decorations, and invitations side by side, and to ask your friends and family for feedback. 

  • Another way to make Pinterest more practical: For every outrageous “pin” you save, look for one reasonable alternative. Meg Keene is the author of A Practical Wedding. And she says balancing, say, Kate Middleton’s cascading bouquet of lily of the valley - with a plain bouquet of roses from a casual backyard wedding will keep you grounded while allowing you to think creatively. 

  • Finally: Remember the bottom line. Your wedding day is important, but it’s just one day. And if you invested the cost of the average wedding – which is nearly $30,000 - you’d have three-quarters of a million dollars in your retirement account in 50 years. How’s that for a GOLDEN anniversary?