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How Instagram and social media are affecting wedding trends

With couples having more access to wedding ideas and options on social media, tying the knot has never been bolder, fancier, and luxurious than it is now. Celebrities and influencers are dictating trends, making a big impact on the way we buy engagement rings.

From Paris Hilton’s $2 million teardrop diamond ring to Kim Kardashian’s 15-carat diamond ring that reportedly costs Kanye West $8 million—people have officially gone crazy over these ravishing stones! Everyone’s so hooked that modern couples are willing to spend more to buy engagement rings that will shine and make it to hundreds (if not thousands) of likes on social media.

How social media impacts the way we buy engagement rings

There’s no denying that social media has changed the way we live. What we see on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter has influenced us in many ways. Instagram, in particular, made people (even middle-income earners) travel more and spend more on all things trendy, fashionable, and as they call it; Instagrammable.

So, it’s not surprising that social media has dominated the world of wedding planning and preparation as well. The pressure for soon-to-be-wed couples for an Instagrammable occasion is sky-high. Even if that will cost them several thousand dollars.

In 2020, US couples spent an average of $31,000 on weddings. We might wonder how these people could spend that much in a single day. But that’s the way weddings are now, at least if you look on social media. Aside from giving couples a chance to flaunt their valuable rings as celebrities do, Instagram and social media are dramatically changing the way we shop for engagement rings.

Instagram Q&A helps to make a choice

Social media popularised the idea of crowdsourcing. Just post your question on IG and you will have the answers you need, almost instantly. These answers can be from anyone, from your neighbour to your highschool classmate. Expect to get suggestions from strange people too.

Instagram makes communicating with vendors quick and easy

Instagram lets customers contact a store directly. Instead of visiting these shops directly, customers can just inquire and see photos of the actual rings. They can also read other people’s opinions and feedback about specific products. Additionally, many couples are taking advantage of Instagram’s Questions feature to get ideas before they buy engagement rings. The IG Question Feature was introduced in 2018 and is available through IG stories.

The pursuit of perfection on social media

Instagram has over 1 billion active users per month. With somebody posting about their honeymoon at The Maldives or their marriage proposal on a helicopter, and others flaunting their gleaming diamond engagement ring, others are pressured to do just the same (or even go beyond).

The pursuit of perfection on social media is real, and sadly, unhealthy sometimes. With influencers and celebrities showcasing their Alexander McQueen dress, ordinary people strive to show only the best. This trend forces consumers to spend more on luxury items they can’t afford in the first place.

The pressure to find the perfect engagement ring is real. And that’s not the end. After the proposal comes the wedding and more items need to be perfect—cakes, wedding rings, gowns—the list goes on.

Luckily, social media is also a place for people looking to buy engagement rings at affordable prices. Before Instagram, only a few names of jewellers and designers stood out. These were million-dollar designers only the rich and the famous could afford.

However, Instagram and other social media platforms like Facebook have given modern designers opportunities to showcase their creations to the world. From classic styles with a modern twist to unique rings with personal details, emeralds, and yellow gold, expect a whole new breed of engagement rings on social media, thanks to these designers. Even more exciting is that most of these pieces have price tags that usually won’t break the bank.

The competition for Instagrammable moments

The platform has become a major search tool for shoppers. Couples seeking for unique engagement rings can find so much information, ideas, and inspiration from it. The quest for the perfect ring starts with a simple hashtag search. Type #engagementring and you’ll find 5.6 million posts. Many are from actual couples, some are from models, jewellers, designers, influencers, and celebrities.

The evolution of wedding planning

Wedding planning has significantly changed over the years. Soon-to-be-weds are chasing more unique and creative approaches to tie the knot. Today, over 50 per cent of couples choose to plan their wedding around a theme. From fairytale to rustic weddings, vintage, and destination weddings, there’s always a theme that suits a couple’s taste.

More and more couples also choose to hire wedding planners for their big day. Intimate weddings are popular too, especially during the pandemic. For those who want to DIY their event, wedding planning apps are a big hit. These apps offer an interactive way to style and plan a wedding, giving users access to wedding ideas, checklist, budgeting tools, and many other helpful features.

The rising cost of weddings

As couples strive for perfect Instagrammable moments, it is not surprising that the cost of weddings has dramatically increased. Research shows that couples spend nearly double on their wedding today than couples did 10 years ago.

With efforts to make a unique wedding experience, many couples opt for designer dresses, high-value wedding rings, and top-notch receptions, even if that means shelling out their entire savings.

Social media transformed the way we buy engagement rings in both good and bad ways. On the positive side, social media platforms make shopping for affordable engagement rings easy. With a quick hashtag search, shoppers can access thousands if not millions of inspiration and ideas.

On the other hand, the pressure to be Instagram-worthy increases day by day, making it unhealthy. It’s always important to remind ourselves to strive for beautiful memory and meaning, instead of perfection.

What are plantfluencers? Here’s everything you need to know about their rise to stardom

All of us have indulged in new hobbies over the past year. From knitting and crocheting becoming gen Z’s new obsession to making sourdough bread from scratch, we have tried nailing our search for the perfect lockdown antidote. But what if the solace we are seeking includes getting down and dirty to satiate our green thumbs?

What are plantfluencers?

Plant influencers (shortened ‘plantfluencers’) refer to the predominantly millennial masses who have dedicated their life to plants and self-care. These ‘plant gurus’ share their beautiful gardens on social media and encourage followers to create their own with an extensive set of guidelines. Fostering a global community, these influencers reinforce their belief in self-care with plants, also termed as ‘shelf-care’.  From landing book deals to sponsors, these ‘plant parents’ currently boast some of the highest engagement rates across multiple platforms.

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A post shared by Black Girls With Gardens (@blackgirlswithgardens)

When did they peak in popularity?

Plantfluencers are one of the many pandemic-accelerated phenomena. With a boom in Google search interest for keywords such as ‘gardening’ and ‘interior decor’, consumers increasingly refocused their efforts on making their homes more pleasant during the lockdown. These plantfluencers started creating urban jungles within the confines of their own homes as an attempt to reconnect with nature in city life. Trapped in a rapid-paced digital life, others followed suit.

Considering plants as more than just a prop, plantfluencers have constantly found ways to incorporate gardening as a form of self-care. They eventually peaked among rising anxieties as gardening—to simply buying plants—kept followers occupied for the greater good.

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A post shared by Nick Cutsumpas (@farmernicknyc)

How have they influenced their followers?

The Economist comments that millennials are more likely to save up for houseplants than the house itself. Over the COVID-induced lockdowns, plantfluencers have seized this opportunity to target millennials’ and now increasingly Gen Z’s obsession with houseplants. Activities like plant swaps, drives, and podcasts help these influencers connect with their followers as they generate some of the most popular posts under tags such as #houseplantsofinstagram and #urbanjungle.

According to a study by Garden Research, nearly a quarter of houseplant sales were made by those between the ages of 18 to 34 in 2020. Certain houseplants like the cactus have even achieved the title of “the most Instagrammable houseplant” with an extraordinary 23 million posts dedicated to the spiny plant. This goes on to show the traction this phenomenon has gathered. Plantfluencers are huge advocates of mental health too as they battle rising anxiety with curated positivity—a message that had already been adopted by millennials and gen Zers, only to be reinforced as the pandemic came along.

Top 5 plantfluencers to follow

1. Darryl Cheng (@houseplantjournal)

Darryl Cheng is the creator of House Plant Journal, a blog that initially started out on Tumblr. As a business analyst, engineer, photographer, and home gardener, Cheng actively answers questions about plant care to encourage responsible plant parenting. He is also the author of The New Plant Parent, an essential guide to indoor gardening.

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2. Hilton Carter (@hiltoncarter)

Hilton Carter is a plant and interior stylist. Titled the ‘plant doctor’ of Apartment Therapy, he is the author of Wild Creations, Wild At Home, and Wild Interiors. He preaches bonding with houseplants and shares tips on how to position and style them in homes with his impressive following.

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A post shared by Hilton Carter (@hiltoncarter)

3. Jamie Song (@jamies_jungle)

Jamie Song is a London-based online vintage retailer at the Bureau of Interior Affairs. Harboring an interest in houseplants, Song doubles his home into an art gallery, workspace, and warehouse. On his Instagram feed, he shares his ‘plant parenthood journey’ along with weekly care routines.

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A post shared by 🌴Jamie’s Jungle🌴by Jamie Song🌴 (@jamies_jungle)

4. Jasmine Jefferson (@blackgirlswithgardens)

Jasmine Jefferson is the founder of Black Girls With Gardens, a collective dedicated to women of colour interested in gardening. Jefferson prides on running the entire community by herself and frequently updates blog posts regarding the basics of gardening. Her Instagram account features regular shoutouts and recommendations to other members of the horticulture community.

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A post shared by Black Girls With Gardens (@blackgirlswithgardens)

5. Alice Vincent (@noughticulture)

Alice Vincent is a features editor at Penguin Books who also likes sharing her adventures in urban gardening through her Instagram account, which doubles as a newsletter. Her first book, How To Grow Stuff was published in 2017. Since then, she has written Rootbound and was featured on Gardens Illustrated.

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A post shared by Alice Vincent (@noughticulture)

Next stop: Planstagram!