des moines, iowa and beyond

workflow & systems strategist

Sweet Beginnings: Gathering Inspiration

For Brides

Do you ever see those oh so pretty, put together brand and mood boards floating around the internet? Graphic designers and bloggers use them all the time to draw inspiration from, bring an idea to fruition and communicate their visions. So, it is only natural that we use that logic and process to start designing your wedding day!


{ background image via }

So you have an idea of what you want, size of your guest list, budget and venue. What next? How do you even begin to pull together a cohesive event? Start gathering inspiration and see what you truly like!

Remember when we talked about determining your wedding style? Now we get to start bringing that to life visually. Super exciting, I know!! Really!! There are so many sources of visual inspiration, places and ways to compile them and I’m sure, ideas swirling in your head. This part is so fun, because you aren’t deciding on any details yet, just pulling together what you love. Don’t think about how much or if you can get it here. Think about how it makes you feel, why you love it and just grab it. You can always edit down later (and you should).

There is a difference between an inspiration board and a mood board. Mood boards are more commonly textural, tangible and typically pinned on a bulletin board of sorts. An inspiration board is on screen or just printed images gathered and arranged. The terms are used interchangeably, but that is how I often differentiate. Here’s the thing – there are no rules. In this season of lists and etiquette, that is the best thing about this. It’s time to have fun, let loose and just enjoy the creative side of things.

Start by printing, clipping and sketching things that you are drawn to. If it isn’t wedding related still gather it. Make a note about what you like about it. Do you like the architecture, the color, the emotion it evokes, or some other detail. Does it remind you of something, look like a memory? Collect it all. I often find that a particular image grabs me and makes me stop in my tracks. That is typically the basis for my boards.

inspiration gathering

{via 1 | 2 }

Next, review everything and start to find recurring colors or elements. Organize them into groups by similarity or color palettes that you like together. Don’t forget to have fun. This part can get really overwhelming for us type-A people. This is not permanent or rocket science. Enjoy the journey and just try things. Once you have a few piles, let them sit over night. Come back to everything in the next day or two and edit through your groupings. Start placing images together to balance each other and then select a few colors. I always like to have a textural element, even on screen. That can be glitter, stripes, swiss dots, tulle, silk, water. Something that has movement and dimension.

When I put mine together in Illustrator, I am a novice. You will see my boards change slightly as I learn new tips and tricks, but they really are basic. On the flip side, graphic designers have it going on! (I mean, really, look at the beauty from Angela at Saffron Avenue above!) They always have such beautiful layouts for their inspiration boards. If you aren’t a designer, don’t be afraid to just use Office or print images and tape them together. The idea is to let your mind wander and dream.

If you aren’t someone who even remotely enjoys organizing and creating, just gathering a few magazine clippings and printing some images in a folder or stapled together will be so helpful for your vendors. I love when my couples come to me with a few images and can explain to me what they love about it. Once there is a visual direction, then it’s the job of your planner (read: designer) to help you pull together the elements that you like and interpret them in a way that they will tell your story and be part of your wedding day.

If you are looking for example inspiration boards, don’t forget to look at my Inspired Tuesday series. Each week, I gather whatever is calling me to give you ideas for your design. Don’t be afraid to mix and match what you typically see. You are an amazing and unique couple, do what you love and speaks to your hearts and love story.

xoxo, Jenn

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *