Wedding Planning When You’re Single—Crazy or Ingenious?


Pinterest has become an invaluable tool for those of us who love browsing the Internet and organizing the ideas found there.

I have various boards for things like books and movies, hairstyles, recipes, and party planning.

I also have a board for wedding things—dresses, favors, cakes, color schemes, and flowers.

Am I planning a wedding? No.

Am I engaged? Nope.

Am I single? Most definitely.

I know I am not alone in planning my own wedding with no husband on the horizon. A recent article from the New York Times discusses this trend, describing women who spend hours and years planning their weddings down to every last detail without having any prospective groom.

Lisa Morse, a NYC-based psychologist, worries that some women may obsess so much over their receptions, that “it may present an obstacle in finding and keeping a partner.”

So is planning our wedding too soon a healthy pastime?

Wedding planningMy librarian side says “yes!”—we all come across so many great ideas online. What’s the harm in organizing them all in one place?

My recipes are arranged seasonally and I keep a running list of new books. Of course I’m going to pin a cute bridesmaid dress that fits in with my color scheme! (Yes, I have a color scheme…)

I know that some of the do-it-yourself projects could be used for any party—A hot cocoa table! Programs printed on fans!—not just my imaginary wedding. Surely a potential wedding reception can’t be too well organized?

However, my firmly-grounded realist side does have some problems with my wedding board. These party planning tips are great, but am I just getting my hopes up unnecessarily? If I never get married, what’s the point? Does this make me a bridezilla, even though I’m very much single?

Just as with anything else, moderation is key. I would be very worried for my mental well-being if I spent serious time on my wedding board.

If I come across an interesting concept in my Web journeys, I’ll pin it. If a friend is engaged, I will be more than happy to share some of the great ideas I’ve found.

The way I see it, making a Pinterest board for an imaginary wedding isn’t that much different than the wedding dresses I used to design when I was a little girl.

And I’m pretty sure that if a wonderful man who doesn’t want an Oktoberfest-themed wedding comes into my life—I can adapt.

How do you feel about it? Wedding planning when you are single—crazy or ingenious?



  1. Elvira-925208 October 10, 2015 Reply

    I am a senior and a widow, I’ve never thought I had to relied on dating and searching the Internet for a new husband. It depressed me, but your topic has encouraged me to continue this journey. Please, pray for me. This is very difficult!

  2. Jennifer-728047 October 3, 2015 Reply

    Good topic! I prepare couple after couple, over 60 at this point, for marriage as a Creighton Model Practitioner. Do I feel called to marriage? Absolutely! Do I feel called to motherhood? Heavens yes! I cannot wait to feel the pains of labor! I have had a lot of suffering in my life and I can say that with out it, I would not be intimate with the Lord. There is no growth in comfort. However, I do have my times — not many, since I know I’m doing the work of the Lord and it is NOT ‘about me,’ — where I feel the real ache, depth and heaviness of being single while called to passionately and joyfully serve the engaged and married. It’s an honor, but also a straight look in the face of the vocation which is being fulfilled for the many I serve, but unfilled as the Nurse practitioner to those whom I teach;) As a single, who loves the Mass..loves the Sacraments…loves music, dancing, people, my family, friends, priests and every one in between who has influenced and helped me develop….it’s easy to have planned my wedding. I have everything but the man:) Waiting for him to find and pursue me, is the only thing missing hahaha

  3. Hadley-1246334 September 7, 2015 Reply

    When I was fourteen or so I made a promise to myself that I would never be one of those girls who pre-plans her wedding on pinterest. Honestly? I think it sets yourself up for disappointment. Nothing wrong with pinning a couple cool ideas you come across (I saw a little article about using succulents as favors for a summer wedding/party! How cute!), but I think it’s a little unhealthy to spend hours upon hours planning out something that might not even happen. Especially since I think some people can turn wedding flowers and color schemes into idols. They want their wedding to make themselves look good to other people rather than consider it for the sacrament that it is.

    If I ever get engaged, I will happily browse pinterest for ideas, but I want God to be the main focus.

  4. JuanCarlos-905311 September 6, 2015 Reply

    Wedding is for two. That being said, I think the rest is common sense.

  5. Barbara-1242968 September 2, 2015 Reply

    je pense que pour certaine personne preparer son mariage en etant celibataire est une facon pour eux de Se projeter dans l’avenir.
    Le probleme c’est qu’il se projete sur un aspect absolument materiel du mariage.
    Hors savoir le type de fleur ou de couvert a installer sur les tables n’est pas du tout important.
    Car le maraige c’est bien plus que cela.
    il serai preferable de plutot preparer son mariage selon les instructions de la bible.
    C’est bien plus important.

    • Louis H. September 3, 2015 Reply

      Oui! Tres importante.

  6. Frederick-1225695 September 2, 2015 Reply

    It seems that this person is really seeking a partner, but is confused. For shouldn’t a spouse be involved in this planning? you bet ya.

    • Louis H. September 3, 2015 Reply

      Men really don’t get to be involved in the wedding plans. She was even trying to pick out what the grooms men would wear – or at the very least I needed to choose and run the idea by her. If my ideas had been overdone and extravagant and impractical, she may have wanted to include them. My ideas were for less spending and less extravagance and were not acceptable.

  7. Randolph C. September 2, 2015 Reply

    This is what I think, What I do is my business and if I want certain people to know I will inform them. I am not trying to be rude I am just stating how I feel and to keep the busy bodies at bay or should I say mind yours, that is your own business as I would not interfere. Tell those that you wish to tell or simple state to whom ever you are thinking about starting a frienship with that you prefer to keep quiet for now and wait to see how things will turn out, also be honest about your feelings with the person it will be better for both of you.

  8. Louis H. September 2, 2015 Reply

    Amen here too! I was involved in a relationship with much wedding planning and we were not even engaged. I had given her a promise ring with the intention that we could get engaged when we had solved our problems and were ready. I needed to finish graduate school and get a full time job (I was a full time student working a student internship and a part time church job that paid 12K a year.) She needed to lose weight and manage her diabetes, quit gambling and build her sobriety and pay down her large debt. We both needed to save for our own wedding. We were middle aged and our parents were retired and on fixed incomes.

    Though we were not engaged, she wanted a “date” Which I said (in person and in writing) should be a target date that we keep to ourselves and not to tell others. It was important for me to ask her father before proposing. In no time she had told everyone that we had a date and were certainly getting married on that date. Though we were “promised”, that was not good enough for her. She began collecting catalogs, going to bridal fairs and even bought a dress. It was not just that she was “planning a wedding’ she was OVER PLANNING! She watched youtube videos of wedding parties doing choreographed dance routines, and the bride and groom performing special dance numbers. She had sales people calling her and e mailing her all the time and they were very high pressure. She was enthralled with this one wedding video company because they had sample videos where they had edited everything down and put together an MTV spliced music video with a soundtrack background. Always they had the bridesmaids and then all of the groomsman doing corny orchestrated things (probably over and over again to get just the right shot). She was shocked when I told her i would not be performing at my own wedding and ‘working’ the crowd. That I would not be following directions from a movie director doing take after take to get the right shot. I told her that marriage was a sacrament and that I just wanted to be present in the moment and share the sacred event with our family and friends.

    Though she continued to gamble, declared bankruptcy, lost her house to foreclosure; she always had endless energy for wedding over planning. It was down to the last detail and so overloaded with details, it would have taken months to set up and practice and rehearse. We would have been exhausted by the end of the day and too irritable and spent to consummate the marriage.

    I insisted that we put as much effort into marriage planning as she was putting into wedding planning. I hoped we would talk how we would manage our money, recover, health and build our future together. She rejected all of that and refused to talk about 12 step recovery, weight loss, diabetes, sobriety, paying people back (she owed her family over 20K and had ‘borrowed” my wedding savings and refused to pay it back), saving up for a wedding, etc. Instead, we talked about how she wanted to have children and I didn’t! Though she was 43 and weighed over 300 pounds, that would not have interfered with her fertility in anyway! I talked about how I wanted to be married to a woman who wanted to grow old with me and we could retire and travel. she claimed to be on board with that, but her health would have meant an early death after much suffering. Her gambling and 1/4 million dollar debt would have left us homeless and penniless, unable to ever retire.

    It ended badly. She had pawned all the jewelry I’d given her and not paid back her family or me the money she owed. She went to Gambler’s anonymous meetings, but also went to the casino every payday. She never lost weight and continued to eat large amounts of sugar and to never take her diabetes medicine. It all ended about a month after she arranged to have her best friend (and future matron of honor) to lecture me about how if I really loved her, I would have proposed by now and that I would stop talking about 12 step recovery and get a joint bank account and let my wife gamble since it was harmless entertainment and she had it under control now and had “learned her lesson” . I knew if I laid down the law and said it’s me or the gambling (or me or your best friend) that I would lose. I told her it was time to part ways, since I could not build my life around someone who placed me in 4th place after gambling, her friends and food.

    It is a long story, but you cannot say: “the moral of the story is” unless you have told the whole story. I learned that it is important to plan your individual life, so that you can become marriage material. It is important to plan your marriage so that you can understand what it is like for two lives to become one. In her vision of marriage, there was no room for me at all. My need for a healthy wife who was recovering from gambling was not considered. My ideas of a simple affordable reception were not acceptable. The irony is that if she had begun to take her medication, eat a sugar free diet, lose weight, pay down her debt and never gamble again – we could have married. Poor people marry all the time, and that is what we were. We could have had a potluck wedding reception, served sheet cake and punch. Played CDs on a nice stereo with big speakers and had all our guest make pictures and video with their phones and posted them on a facebook wedding page. I even offered the idea up and said that she would do better to pay her family back and pay down her debt so we could enter marriage without owing her family anything. She wouldn’t hear of it!

    • Ryan-1191814 September 2, 2015 Reply

      That was one hell of a cross to bear….

      Bloody hell…

      • Louis H. September 3, 2015 Reply

        Exactly – bloody hell! I am partly to blame, I was too patient and forgiving and gave the promise ring with no evidence that there would be change on her part. Also kept going along with the demands to announce dates and plan the day. Rather than promise her, we should have broken up at that point. There was no hope for an improved future, but I did not see it at the time. I will no longer date addicts in the hope that my love will inspire them to become completely different from who they were when we met. Change is very, very rare!

  9. Kathy-1118963 September 1, 2015 Reply

    Personally, I am grateful that such a hopeful thought as another wedding in my life is granted to me as a glimmer of a possible married future. I don’t have time for Pinterest, window shopping, magazine browsing, or daydreaming. But I do have time to pray… And if I ever get my second chance, exchanging vows with my beloved as part of a nuptial mass is all I could ever dream of.

  10. Ellen-1104351 September 1, 2015 Reply

    I agree with that to want to plan the perfect wedding when you haven’t even met the groom (or bride!? – although I have yet to come across a man who dreamed of the perfect wedding) is perhaps rather sad.

    But I see it perhaps in slightly different terms, possibly because I’m that much older. I take on board both Tara’s and Rene’s comments. I think when we are young, and it possibly may apply to women more than men, we have a dream of the perfect wedding followed by the perfect romantic honeymoon, followed by the perfect marriage. After all marriages are made in heaven, aren’t they !!!!????

    But as we get older the romantic vision can fade when faced with the reality of living together. I’ve never been married so I can’t speak from experience. There must obviously be a part of me that would still like it or I wouldn’t be subscribing to this website, but I secretly think that it will not be a path my life will ever take. I would like to be wrong but……….

    Marriages may be MADE in Heaven, but they are sustained on earth !!

  11. Rene-1215954 August 31, 2015 Reply

    As a woman who has been married for 7 years now and has a husband divorcing her, I think there is a lot to be learned from this article. I was not ever one to obsess about getting married, however, the wedding became the highlight. I know for a fact that the person I married had no real input into “our” day and instead it was “my” day. All too tragic and now due to other struggles in the marriage, which by the way is MUCH more important than one wedding day, it is all coming to an end.

    I believe it is HIGHLY dangerous for people to plan their lives outside of where they are truly at. We are all called to live in the present and not in the future or the past. This is emotional health to live fully in the present. Pinterest is not dangerous, however, it along with Facebook are HIGHLY addictive. Then those of us who tend to obsess about small things have them blow up in our faces.

    Carrie above is TOTALLY on when she wrote “I think, and this is in no way enforceable, that a couple should do marriage prep before a ring is bought, so there is no artificial investment into a “day” without proper discernment. The focus on the extras just contribute to lacking the freedom to say “no”. If you can’t say no, what does your yes mean?” My husband and I didn’t do but a weekend Engaged Encounter and I know that I settled for a lot of what I didn’t have to settle for. I cannot complain as I have 3 beautiful children.

    I would say the main focus needs to be on the ceremony and the VOWS that are being made. NOT the materialism of the actual wedding day itself that is all to commonplace these days. A $10,000 wedding does not make one’s marriage last for 50 years UNLESS these people are the best of friends and are willing to be there for everything that the Bible states about husbands and wives relating to God and the Church.

    • Ryan-1191814 August 31, 2015 Reply


    • Rosalie-1064900 September 2, 2015 Reply

      I completely agree with everything you said.

    • Louis H. September 2, 2015 Reply

      I have had that experience – sort of. I never got married, but I gave a woman a promise ring once, and she hit the ground running. It was her day, not mine and she spent way more time thinking about it and talking about it than we did talking about our marriage. Had we planned our marriage, we would have probably broken up before even talking about a wedding. In all honesty we were wrong for each other and we would have seen that if we were more focused on our life together and not on “the big day”.

      In the end, common sense prevailed, but by then everyone thought we had cancelled our wedding when we were never really engaged. Even worse, all the talk about having a wedding led many people to believe that we had gotten married and not invited them, since our date had passed. The wedding planning in the end turned into a big embarrassment.

      It was all needless, and we could have moved closer to being married by talking about sharing money, a household, our schedules, our families, and all the other things that marriage is really about. Instead, it was all talk about party planning. The perfect marriage would be one where you talk about spending the rest of your life together and then throw together a reception at the last minute, because you are too busy building your life together to plan a party.

  12. Ryan-1191814 August 30, 2015 Reply

    What would Jesus think?

    Crazily Ingenious? Or Ingeniously Crazy?

    • Tara-916139 August 31, 2015 Reply

      I know I’m probably in the minority and would be said to be taking this concept too seriously, but I find this post very sad. Beyond the post, it seems that even modern Catholics are so invested in the idea of a perfect, dream wedding, and here, even to the point of ogling over details for a future event that may, or may not, be part of God’s plan for them.

      I dream and fantasize like the rest of them (sadly probably more), but as I’m getting older, I’m also learning that Our Lord wants us to trust Him, right here and now, and to not worry about tomorrow (sufficient for a day are its own evils; in his mind a man plans his course, but the Lord directs his steps; do not worry about what you will wear, eat, etc., does not the Lord care for the sparrow, the grass in the field…?).

      Abandonment to Divine Providence by Jean-Pierre de Caussade is a fantastic read, and I think all of us control-freaks of this generation would be better off for reading it and praying for the graces to surrender to God’s plans for our lives. Also realizing that our lives are not about us, and our ‘dream day.’ God knows our longings and dreams, and He is generous and faithful, but He also knows what pulls us away from what is in the best for our eternal well-being. And I can think of few weddings/brides that did not involve much preparatory stress and exorbitant expenses for what is literally a single day of their lives.

      While I dream much of marriage, the wedding I pray to be small, simple, and rich in sacramental love. Far from the modern style, but I pray one that Christ will have Christ as the main event. In short, this is what I meant when I stated: What would Jesus think?

  13. Theresa-993834 August 30, 2015 Reply

    I am guilty of looking at various types of wedding gowns and bridesmaid dresses. A large part of this thought is I almost went to college for design (so I am usually analyzing the design for different things). Do I plan on using these some day for “planning”? Nope.

    Do I keep a board of articles and sites with suggestions and tips on saving money and dealing with tricky family situations for future reference? Heck yes. I have pinned sites that allow bridesmaids to rent their dress versus draining their budget of a few hundred dollars for a dress (accessories/shoes) that they will most likely ever wear once. (Wear it again sounds nice, but if you have close knit friends and family it won’t be worn again due to fact so many people will comment that you are wearing an old bridesmaid dress.)

    I also found these sites that allow renting bridesmaid dresses when I was to be in a friends wedding. Said friend just gave a color and length specifications so that her bridesmaids could find dresses that would be within their budgets. I saved these sites on a board as I knew it could be useful in the future (either as a bridesmaid again in the future or in being kind to future bridesmaids).

  14. Patrick-341178 August 30, 2015 Reply

    Well I suppose the whole women have been “waiting for this their whole lives” is true! I don’t think it is necessarily good or bad but focusing on meeting someone first may be a better use of one’s time… LOL

  15. Carrie-529869 August 30, 2015 Reply

    I’ve played music for about 250 weddings, and I could write a book on the stuff that I’ve seen. I suggest that the fact that weddings need such “planning” in the first place is the problem. Themes, favors, style, colors, bows, etc whether thought about while single or engaged is a huge distraction to what is really important. The wedding industry, in my opinion, has really affected marriage negatively. I know of a couple in marriage prep, that, their last meeting, (of course, being the week before their wedding because they procrastinated), figured out they shouldn’t be marrying each other, yet went ahead of the wedding anyway because of the financial and emotional investment.

    So I’m not misunderstood, I think marriage should be a celebration, and there is nothing wrong with a big party thanking guests for witnessing it. Wanting to look special with a special dress or whatever is nice (and even part of scripture). But it should never be the focus.

    I think, and this is in no way enforceable, that a couple should do marriage prep before a ring is bought, so there is no artificial investment into a “day” without proper discernment. The focus on the extras just contribute to lacking the freedom to say “no”. If you can’t say no, what does your yes mean?

  16. Tara-916139 August 30, 2015 Reply

    It seems the more important question to ask is: What would Jesus think about this?

  17. Pat-5351 August 30, 2015 Reply

    Love this article, and frankly I don’t know how to answer the question, is it crazy or ingenious. It is certainly efficient–once engaged, you are pretty busy, doesn’t it make sense to have “pre-thought” a little of it? I have been a wedding dreamer my whole life, from when Lucy Johnson Nugent got married when her dad was president, I ripped out the drawing of her dress from the newspaper, saved the Life magazine that had awesome pics of the sugar roses on her 10 foot wedding cake, and from that point on, was hooked. My sorority sisters and I would buy Brides magazine (even though most were not engaged), and would sit together and page through, I like that, I want something like that. I have a few Martha Stewart Weddings floating around here, and of course, like many women, have a “dream wedding” board on pinterest, even though my own dream wedding evaporated. I don’t know, I think there is nothing wrong with dreaming. Or hoping. It would be stupid to plan it all out though I guess, because I have learned the hard way that the prince sometimes doesn’t show up, and even when he does, he might yet leave. And there you are, with lovely plans, and wedding boards, and a broken heart. Maybe as Tina above says, there are better ways to spend your time. I think that would be my recommendation, talking from the far other side of the little girl in 1966 who wanted 10 bridesmaids, and to marry at high noon, at the Catholic cathedral, just like Lucy Johnson…..

  18. Tina-1210994 August 30, 2015 Reply

    Although not necessarily a sin, I do not think it helps (and may in fact hinder) a person from focussing on what they should be focussing. I am so far from being a perfect individual, let alone being an ideal partner for marriage, that I find focussing on the materialistic aspects of a marriage to be trivial and a waste of time. So, whilst there is nothing intrinsically wrong with it, we should ask ourselves if we could make a better use of our God-given time.

    • Chris-1014916 August 30, 2015 Reply

      Completely agree, and also, you run the risk of closing yourself off to a good potential spouse who may not fall in line with your pre-conceived plans. It also makes one wonder if the wedding is seen as more important than the actual other person involved. Planning a wedding is best as a shared endeavor between the two spouses-to-be, so that the plans can account for both bride and groom, and their respective families as necessary.

      Also, a stronger distinction needs to be made:

      1) “A recent article from the New York Times discusses this trend, describing women who spend hours and years planning their weddings down to every last detail without having any prospective groom.” This is clearly unhealthy. I hope I don’t need to explain why.

      2) “My librarian side says ‘yes!’—we all come across so many great ideas online. What’s the harm in organizing them all in one place?” This is different, and more reasonable. There’s nothing wrong with thinking about it, creating ideas, wondering what you might like in a wedding or prefer not to have. This isn’t “planning” so much as “conceptualizing” or “mentally preparing”. I’m a guy and even I do this to some extent. The important difference is that one’s mind remains open to other possibilities depending on the needs and desires of the other person.

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