The #WeddingPreneurs Lounge: How do you get inspired?
UPDATED – FEBRUARY 2018
Our job in the wedding planning industry is to always be creative and up-to-date with the latest trends. Some of these trends come and go, some stay for a while. Depending on the type of clients you have, you need to be ready to provide ideas and suggestions when it comes to their vision. It’s not only colors or details that can be incorporated into your clients’ celebrations, but also the latest in technology such as tools and apps that our clients can use during the planning or on the wedding day.
How can we add all this to the mix? How can we get inspired by the latest trends and incorporate all this into our clients’ visions? If you are designing the wedding you need to have creative skills. If you are more on the organizational side and less on the creative side that’s fine, not all of wedding planners are designers. However, it’s always nice to know what’s going on in the industry so that, when you discuss the client’s vision you know what you’re talking about and, maybe, you have some ideas to add or to implement. After all, they come to us to get help for their wedding, don’t they? We are the experts, while they are not familiar with what it takes to plan a wedding.
Today I’ll share ways to get inspired and put your creativity at work when you have to create a vision, and maybe put together a vision board. I know, we have Pinterest that makes things so easy for us: you just collect pins that you like and voila. But it’s also nice to create actual vision boards for your clients that they can take to their meetings and have everything together right in front of their eyes instead of scrolling the screen of their phones while discussing details with their service providers.
You can collect images that describe what your couple wants (mood, color, details, textiles) and other elements that are not necessarily part of the wedding itself but they reflect your client’s personality and style – this could be a bedroom or a living room, or a beautiful garden. After you have all the images you need you will arrange them and you will print the completed file, then mount it on a board. I’m putting together a workshop entirely dedicated to vision boards: I will show you the step-by-step process that I use to create a vision board for my clients. I will have more information very soon.
So – how do you get inspired? What is the best source of inspiration for wedding design?
Inspiration should start with your client. It’s their wedding. Sometimes it’s challenging because they come to you and they don’t really know what they want. Or, they think they don’t know. It’s just that they’re overwhelmed with all the information they find on the web between blogs, directories, Pinterest, plus friends who have just been married and they have their own story to share. The result is, they don’t know how to put everything together in a way that makes sense. Too many colors to match, too many themes to decide from, too many choices.
You are there to identify what their vision is and you will be able to come up with their blueprint. How? Just ask questions, specific questions about colors they like, things that they are fond of, stories they love, places they visit or visited together, flavors or scents that bring them back to a certain time in their life… Try to capture all those little details and put them together like the pieces of a puzzle.
You will create a story for them where different elements will become more or less the starting point and together you will decide what the story will be. You can discuss their style (classic, modern, whimsical), their needs, their dreams. I always ask them to bring pictures to our first meeting so that I can start getting a good idea of what they envision, what they like and what they don’t like.
Something that I do (and it’s very helpful for my design consultations) is a Questionnaire that I send them about a week before our meeting and I ask them to fill it out and return it to me a couple of days before the consultation. It has a lot of questions about them, what they do together, their family, their cultural traditions, their priorities for their wedding day, foods they like, flowers they like, and so on. I talked about this about a year ago in a past Periscope broadcast and you can get the template on this blog post
Here are my other favorite sources of inspiration. Believe it or not, most of them are not related to weddings at all.
ONLINE & SOCIAL MEDIA
As I mentioned earlier, technology brings us closer and brings us trends, ideas and flavors from other countries very easily.
PINTEREST – Create a board to gather all the ideas from Pinterest feed, your past events, the web, and you can also scan images from books or other sources. Pinterest boards are also helpful to collaborate with the couple because you can share the board and save pins together. What I usually do with clients’ boards is make the board secret because I don’t want to share any vision with my followers or the public in general. That way, that particular vision or concept will remain exclusive to the couple and not used by anyone else until after the wedding
INSTAGRAM – Another excellent source when it comes to visual content and inspiration. You can access images of food and fashion / lifestyle, architecture, design, also pets, you name it…
BLOGS – I remember when, back in the day, my favorite blogs were Martha Stewart Weddings and Style Me Pretty. If you’ve been around for a while like me you remember them. Today, there are a gazillion of them and each one has a different style and therefore, a different audience. My suggestion would be, do a research and find the ones that reflect your client’s personalities and taste. We talked about knowing your ideal client and you have to know what they like for their wedding. By finding the right blogs you will also find the right avenues to submit images of real weddings or styled shoots that you do. You want to submit them to blogs that align with your style.
You can access the best ones at Wedding Blogs 100 (this is a collection of the most popular and influential wedding blogs that really inspire each of us in the wedding industry)
Other sources for me are BizBash (website and magazine plus newsletter), Special Events (website and magazine plus newsletter), especially if you plan other types of events (not only weddings).
Other random uses for web browsing: hair styles, nail art, food, cocktails, and so on.
Have you ever noticed that a lot of trends start on the runway and they eventually come to wedding design? This has become very common especially with social media and technology that can give us access to all the most important shows all over the world without leaving our house, basically.
I follow all the fashion weeks (New York, London, Milan, Paris), all the Bridal Weeks (the Spring 2018 is happening right now in New York City) and I get a lot of ideas from the different designers.
ART & ARCHITECTURE & INTERIOR DESIGN
Interior Design and home décor can bring you a lot of inspiration (colors, patterns or textures. These are very important when you need to select linens for a wedding reception, for instance)
The beauty of historical places, homes, buildings, and I find ideas by looking at different elements or details. This could be Victorian homes with their beautiful wood work and colored windows.
Another thing that I love is wallpaper. I browse tons of wallpaper websites just to see what the latest trends in colors and patterns are. For a past wedding I even ordered wallpaper to create a photo booth backdrop that was matching the colors. It was a huge hit because it was very unique.
I also want to mention my favorite source for color. Color is extremely important for me (and it should be for you as well) when I create a vision for my clients. Pantone is the color authority not only for the wedding industry, for any type of industry from interior or graphic design to fashion to automobile industry, and so on. They are best known for the Pantone Matching System which provides the selection and accurate communication of color across a variety of applications from fabric to printing to painting. They sell guides with all of their colors and each one has a code with numbers that you can refer to when you talk with your stationery designer, your florist, your linen provider, so that everybody is on the same page. Your invitations will match the color of the frosting on the cake, and linens can be custom dyed if needed.
Every year Pantone releases the Color of the Year – 2017 was the year of Greenery which I absolutely adore (I wrote a blog post that you can read HERE), and 2018 is the year of Ultra-Violet (HERE’s the most recent blog post). They also work closely with many fashion designers and each season they present the color collection with sketches from major designers. This is extremely helpful to identify the color trends for next year that you can use for your clients’ weddings and events.
Subscribe to their mailing list; they always send valuable information about their new products and they also offer seasonal webinars on color and design.
Think about pictures of food, music (rock ‘n’ roll brides and grooms, anyone?) and how the artists dress, very creative!
Look closely at (or even attend if you can get on their guest list) social events (fundraisers, galas, etc.) that are published on local magazines. There’s a usually a “lifestyle” section that shows all the event reports in your area.
You can be inspired by movie and TV award ceremonies (Oscars, Emmys, Golden Globes, Grammy Awards). These are great resources not only for the dresses (we go back to the trends in fashion) but also for the setting, decor, staging, lighting, etc. Some awards ceremonies happen during a seated dinner so I always love to see how the tables are laid out, the linens used, the centerpieces and so on. The after parties are also an excellent source of inspiration: they often match a specific theme if they are related to a movie, and the production is always fantastic between lighting, furniture, décor, the step and repeat (floral walls, logos, etc.)
MAGAZINES & BOOKS
Yes, I still read wedding-related publications such as Grace Ormonde Wedding Style, Martha Stewart Weddings, The Knot, and local magazines. My favorite one in California is Ceremony.
Also magazines and books about Art, Architecture, History, Travel (especially if the theme is related to a specific city or country), Portraits, Interior Design
Retail stores or online (google it or Pinterest) are an excellent source of inspiration because different materials are used in a very creative way to showcase the mannequins or the products the store is selling. One store that I really like is Anthropologie – Take a look at their window displays and you will be amazed.
I walk in historical neighborhoods, visit local art galleries or museums, go window shopping, spend hours at home décor shops (Z Gallerie, Crate & Barrel, etc.), craft shops (Michaels, Hobby Lobby, etc.), and floral supplies stores. I go to flea markets or antique shops (vintage décor, that’s where I usually buy my supplies for dessert tables such as cake stands and platters), I visit bookstores, local hotels and event spaces (each one has its own character and unique décor pieces, especially lighting fixtures or furniture)
NATURE & TRAVEL
I’m very fortunate to live in an area that has lots of different settings such as beach, garden, farm, mountains, and more. When I’m surrounded by nature I become very creative: the shape of a leaf or of a tree, the smell of a flower, or the color of the ocean really give me an excellent source of inspiration for my clients’ events.
Also, when I travel I take many pictures of buildings or panoramic views and I keep them in a folder that might be useful when I design a new vision. I like to taste new foods and really experience the colors, the flavors, and the people in that particular location. These will all come back when I create something.
WRITING – DRAWING – PAINTING – CRAFTING
Getting inspired while you’re being creative. This makes so much sense! One of my coaching clients gets inspired while she paints. Her specialty is mixed media with glitter and fabrics and she creates the most amazing work. While she creates her canvases she works on her clients’ vision boards in her mind and the results are always incredible.
LISTENING TO MUSIC
Have you ever experienced a huge bout of creativity while listening to your favorite artists? Music promotes higher brain functioning and this can lead to increased creativity. It sure does for me! When I go jogging or when I work on wedding day timelines, listening to music puts me in a very creative and “feel good” mood 🙂
Many planners ignore this but, guys, we live in an era where our planet needs help and we need to do something to protect our environment. Have you ever heard of “carbon footprint”? This is what happens at events and weddings: invitations, flowers, decorations are often thrown away and guests travel miles to join the celebration. This has a huge impact for the environment. How can I incorporate green solutions into the wedding? Plantable invitations? Farm to table ingredients for the reception dinner? Edible favors? Upcycled décor? All this gives me ideas and allows me to be very creative with what we have and what we can do with it. I’m a certified Green Wedding Planner and I always try to do something to help our home, Earth.
And, last but not least…
These can be wedding shows or other types of shows (there’s one in San Diego where I go often which is all about beads), or association meetings, state conferences, trade shows (The Special Event from Special Events or The Makeup Show, for instance). You will mingle and network with other professionals and exchange ideas on trends and practices. You will meet exhibitors with new products and services, you will attend educational sessions. The Special Event has an annual conference in January and I strongly recommend that you attend, they also have a Tabletop Gallery and a gorgeous Wedding Luncheon. These really allow you to stand out in your industry because you get constantly educated and updated on the latest trends.
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~~~ TAKE ACTION ~~~ What are you planning to add to your sources of inspiration? Review your Client Questionnaire and start creating beautiful experiences!
Holistic Life Coach, Brain Fitness Coach, and Life-Work Balance Strategist for busy professionals. I blend well-being principles with neuroscience, biohacking, positive psychology, stress management, and mindfulness techniques to implement effective behavior changes.