HOW TO CREATE A WEDDING INSPIRATION BOARD THAT WORKS
How does a wedding inspiration board help you on your big day? Are they really necessary?
Ask me and wedding inspiration board is hands down the perfect tool for coordinating your wedding. A good wedding inspiration board uses a mixture of pictures, colours and even quotes to set the ambience of your big day. So if you’ve just recently got engaged (Congrats!) and dived headfirst into the subject of wedding planning, how to make a wedding inspiration board should be high up on your agenda.
Then again, right about now you could be rolling your eyes, thinking ‘how on earth is this flowery-powery jibber-jabber yip-di-yaa pile of codswallop going to help me with my wedding?!’ If this is you, don’t press the red X in the corner of the screen (saw your mouse wandering) – stick around and I’ll reveal exactly why these boards are so affective. Plus, I’ll show you how you can create wedding inspiration boards that really do work.
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- What is a wedding inspiration board?
- What is the difference between an inspiration board and a mood board?
- What size should a vision board be?
- Habits you should avoid (listen up ladies)
- What should be included in a wedding inspiration board?
- Why do I need a wedding inspiration board?
- How do I make a wedding inspiration board?
- Tradition or digital? Which way would I go?
A wedding inspiration board, or vision board as they’re sometimes known, is in essence a collage of images that sum up the overall style and feel that you plan for your wedding.
Traditionally, a wedding vision board was something you’d create physically – this was usually either with a canvas or a scrapbook. However now we’re in the 21st century, how to create a wedding inspiration board couldn’t be simpler. There’s a whole host of free graphic design software out there than can arguably do the job just as good. The one I’d recommend is Canva.
But inspiration boards aren’t just reserved for weddings. A whole host of creative industries rely on boards like these, for creating and pitching their concepts and ideas. I’m thinking of graphic, fashion and interior designers, as well as artists and wedding planners too.
NOTE: Don’t make the mistake of thinking that just because wedding planners know how to make an inspiration board, that you can simply palm yours off onto them. You can’t! As you’ll soon discover, the heart of any inspiration board is you, so don’t throw in the towel.
While an inspiration board (AKA vision board) sounds a lot like it’d be the same as a mood board, it’s not. A mood board is essence what it suggests – it sets the mood. Whereas an inspiration board is more heavily stylised and focuses around a core theme. An inspiration board usually comes from creating a mood board. Therefore as you can imagine, there’s a whole host of key differences that you should be aware of. So before getting started, here’s three to consider…
- Colour – Colours are huge parts of both an inspiration board as well as mood board, however on the subject the two do differ. A mood board will typically have a larger spectrum of colour, unlike an inspiration board which may contain only certain focal colours.
- Stylistic variation – Mood boards will likely be all over the shop when it comes to style. There could be a mix of traditional, retro, ultra mod and even gothic, all on one page. However an inspiration board will usually only depict one – at a max probably two.
- Themes – Your typical inspiration board has very specific theme, so when you compare it to a mood board it can appear incredibly organised. If you’re struggling to find a theme for your wedding, dabbling in a mood board may be a far better starting point.
TIP: Still struggling to understand the difference? Think of like a wardrobe. A mood board is the entire contents – skirts, tops, jeans, you name it. Whereas a wedding inspiration board is your one favourite outfit.
If you opt for the traditional approach, then you can tailor your vision board to whatever size you like. However, I’d urge you not to make it too small. Ideally I’d say you need at least an A2 board, if not bigger. Why is simple. You need the space properly see all your ideas side by side. The last thing you want is to be squinting!
With any type of board, space is essential. This is exactly why I’d encourage you to avoid scrapbooks at all costs. There’s a reason it’s called a vision ‘board’. While it may more convenient squashing you board into an A3 size book, scrapbooks do present an obstacle – they’re called pages. Fill a ream of these with ideas and you’ll never actually get the chance to assess them all side by side. Well, not unless you ripped it to bits, which I imagine is something not many of you are looking to do. All of which makes immersing yourself in your wedding inspiration board, actually quite hard.
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While wedding inspiration boards are ‘the’ tool for the job when it comes transferring your ideas and imagination onto paper, they’re not – I repeat NOT – a shopping list! Do that and you’ll quickly become bamboozled.
Fact is, as you shop around, you’re bound to come across fresh ideas, that’ll cause your board to change. You may incorporate new ideas, remove a couple too or even end up straying far from what you originally thought. But there’s nothing bad about that. Remember, what you imagine something will look like, can be a whole lot different to what it actually looks like. What’s more, there’s a good chance you’ll find some ideas that 1up the ones on your mood board.
Every wedding inspiration board is different, but that’s not to say they don’t have things in common. In fact, the core ingredients of a wedding inspiration board are much the same. It’s how you combine them to create a style that makes the difference.
The sky’s the limit with inspiration boards – they’re all about variety. So you should be sure to include a real mix of images, colours and even text in yours. A few to bear in mind are…
- Venue ideas – Be you after a stately home or a barn wedding, photos of your preferred locations are great ways to ensure your style of decor or colour scheme, doesn’t clash with your venue. For instance, a stately home wedding with a focal colour of neon green could raise some eyebrows.
- Interior design pictures – A large part of wedding planning is to do with interior design and finish, so don’t leave these off your wedding inspiration board. Be it the colour of the napkins, the use of flowers or even some patterned drapes, having an idea of what you want your venue to look like from the inside is paramount. This saw where your venue ideas come in use… know roughly what you’re working with and this becomes a lot easier to plan.
- Rings – Arguably, the rings are the centrepiece of your entire day – well, apart from you of course. So it’s vital you don’t miss them off your wedding inspiration board. Plus, if he’s in two minds about which ring to choose, these pictures act as a handy hint.
- Wedding apparel – If he’s in charge of picking the dress, then can be another one of those handy hints. Equally, at a wedding in particular, coordination is key. So not only does a bit of inspo around your attire go a long way, but it also helps to ensure that everyone from groomsmen and bridesmaids, to even the guests, are coordinated and looking their best. A MUST if you’re after impressive wedding photography!
- Colour palettes – Every wedding needs a focal colour. If you’re yet to decide on what that is, I’d suggest first doing a mood board. Then once you have your colour, factoring that into your inspiration board. Another way to ensure consistency, that also helps you discover new ways to incorporate pops of colour.
- Favours – Ideas for favours are ideal for inspiring your table decor and also serve a worthy reminder not to forget them!
- Cakes & sweet treats – For any foodies, this is one of the best parts of a wedding inspiration board. Although, eyeing up all this food does come with a purpose. Adding examples of cakes and sweet treats can really help when designing your cake. How many tiers are you after? What colours? Any form of delicate decoration?
- Fabrics & patterns – Just as your occasion needs colour, it also needs texture. Including some samples of fabric on your wedding inspiration board can work well if you’re after something to break up the reception area or add a warm homely vibe.
- Texts and fonts – Often underestimated when it comes to design, but texts and fonts are perfect additions to break up any wedding inspiration board. For anyone pernickety, these should ensure that the font across your invitations, placards and even menus all tie into your theme.
- Your wedding photographer – Okay, so this one isn’t required, but if you do include a picture of me I’ll give you brownie points.
Let’s put it bluntly, without a wedding inspiration board you’d be lost. Weddings aren’t exactly the easiest of occasions to plan – why do you think wedding planning is such a popular industry? So, if you’re not going down this route, I’d argue that a wedding inspiration board would be the next best thing.
By gathering your thoughts in once place, you ensure that all no stones are left unturned. Exactly what you want if you’re investing thousands in your big day! But even if you do opt to sit back and leave your wedding in the capable hands of a wedding planner, creating your own inspiration board is still a wise idea. You see, while wedding planners are pros at what they do, they’re just human like us – they’re not mind readers. And besides, words only go so far.
So, by showing them your ideas through your wedding inspiration board, you reduce the risk of any forgotten details or last minute slip ups. It also gives them a chance to get in side your mind and suggest some ideas which may coincide with your style. Another added bonus!
And that’s exactly why you should learn how to make a wedding inspiration board. You see, at the heart of a successful wedding sits two key ingredients – your ideas and communication. Both boxes that a wedding vision board will tick, regardless of whether it’s communicating your ideas to planners and suppliers. Or simply sharing your vision with your family and friends.
What’s more, it’s likely that any time and money you invest in making your board, you’ll actually claw back. How? Consider this.
Make a board and you’ll have a firm idea of what you want right from the start. Your ideas may develop over time but because you’ve somewhat established a style you shouldn’t stray too far from the target. By that I mean you’re far less likely to book the wrong style of venue. Finish up with a clashing colour scheme. End up with the ring you didn’t want. Pick out the wrong dress, in the wrong shade of white with the wrong accessories and…
I could natter for days about why it’s essential that you create a wedding inspiration board, but… I think I’ll stop now. Just trust me on this one, okay?
Right, I’m done.
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So now comes the fun bit. Tearing apart magazines, printing off images, cutting up fabric, playing with Prit sticks… or if you’re doing yours online, the right click, copy and paste. Exciting. But you’re not there just yet. There’s actually a couple of steps I’d advise you go through before actually getting busy with the scissors. So no you’re all geared up, here’s how to make a wedding inspiration board that works…
Step 1 – The Bridal Brainstorm
Remember reading about what should be included in a wedding inspiration board? You’ll need those here. Once you’ve decided on your main topics, you then need to brainstorm ideas for images around them topics. For instance, ‘wedding apparel’ could be types of dresses, suits, ties or even a close up of a flower in a breast pocket. Whereas ‘favours’ may be having a long hard think about what it is you like that’s small, relatively inexpensive and kinda cute. Out of all the favours I’ve come across, I’d say that my favourite was a miniature box of Yorkshire Tea. Small, appealing and comical too.
TIP: Don’t limit yourself to photos with a wedding theme. Mix it up a bit, besides you don’t want your big day to look like its been copy and pasted out of a bridal magazine. You want it to reflect you and your unique taste. Moral of the story: take inspiration from the crowd, but don’t just follow it.
Step 2 – Hunt & Gather
Now you’ve brainstormed what sort of ideas your after, it’s now time to hunt down your images. The more images you get your hands on, the merrier, so don’t set yourself a limit. Some of the best tools for hunting are…
- Social media (preferably Instagram) – I’d recommend checking out Mave Weddings, Grace Ormonde Wedding Style and Wedding Inspiration
- Bridal magazines – grab the scissors and get vandalising.
- Pinterest – save pictures to your own board so they don’t get lost.
- Google images – arguably the widest range of pictures you can get.
- Family photos – Photocopied obviously, but nevertheless perfect if you’re looking to emulate part of a relative’s wedding.
- Direct to designers – if you like a particular designer, check out their latest lines, be it for you or your hubby.
- Wedding blogs – There’s a ton of these out there, so they could be
*If you’re reading this from a bridal magazine, I’m in no way promoting vandalism of your gorgeous magazines, merely suggesting it.
TIP: Be quite loose with qualities like styles or colours for now. You can always refine these later. Plus, you may end up realising that actually the colour you thought would work, actually doesn’t. Or that you don’t really have a style per say – perhaps you’re a mix of two.
Also, take your time. While this is only step 2 of 5, it’s one of the most important.
Step 3 – Whittling Down
So now you’ve gathered and gathered until your heart’s content, you’re practically swimming in ideas for your wedding inspiration board. Only trouble now is you have to whittle them all down. Sort the ‘hell yeah’s’ from the ‘not too bad’s’.
I won’t tell you how to do that because I think that’s pretty self explanatory, but what I will say is that now is the time to become a tad more strict with style and colour. Once you’ve whittled them down, it’s also a good idea to group them into certain categories, that way you know where you’ve heavily focused and where perhaps you need to re-hunt. For instance, if you’ve 30 pictures of wedding dresses, but only two of gentlemen’s attire, then you may benefit from making a few substitutions.
Might seem like a bit of drag, but trust me, it’ll make the next step a whole lot easier.
Step 4 – Curate & Delegate
Gone overboard? You may need to rethink your options, or get a bigger board. Whichever takes your fancy. Nevertheless this is where you’ll decide what stays and what goes… cue the sad songs.
Here’s a few things to consider before saying those last goodbyes…
- Colour scheme – is there an apparent colour scheme, or is everything a bit mush mash? If so, now might be the time to make a selection.
- Style – Is there a clear style running throughout? Vintage? Classical? Minimalism?
- Theme – Is there a consistent theme running through the images? Now is usually a good time to pick one out. If there’s no clear theme whatsoever limit it to two.
TIP: While you should try and cut down on images as best you can, don’t be fixated on numbers. Your board can be as big or as small as you want.
So now, after much deliberation, the pictures for your wedding inspiration board are now all ready to be stuck down. But hold on, there’s more than one way of doing this – in fact, I’d recommend two.
Sub boards – These are smaller boards based on each individual theme. Roughly there’ll be about 9-12 images per board. So for instance, ‘fabrics & patterns’ could be one board and cakes & sweet treats could be another. These are perfect for comparing and contrasting your options for each category. If you’re doing yours digitally, try using powerpoint for these.
One mega board – This is essentially what it says on the tin. One giant board that focuses on just getting all your images inane place. If you don’t fancy upsizing your board then you could just pick your favourites from each sub board. This is why I’d urge you to make copies before jumping to step 5.
All that’s left to do now is roughly arrange them and take a step back.
NOTE: I know a blank canvas may look a bit daunting, but you’ve got to start somewhere.
Step 5 – Your wedding inspiration board is born
The moment you’ve all been waiting for. You’ve found your themes, hunted down your images, whittled them down, positioned them in the correct layout – now all that’s left to do to apply them to your board. If yours is a physical wedding inspiration board then this could involve a Prit stick or maybe even some drawing pins. Whereas if you’re doing it digitally, it could be as simple as a drag and drop.
So there you have it – how to make a wedding inspiration board that works in just 5 easy steps. Only question is now…
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Which side you take in this debate entirely depends on what type of person you are.
For those who are after a wedding inspiration board pretty quickly, digital could well be the way to go. It’s quick, relatively simple and reasonably enjoyable to put together. What’s more thanks to your phone, you can view it and make changes on the move. You can also send it around your friends and family so they can get an idea of what you’re planning. And, as any eco-conscious individual will be eager for me to point out, you not only save on ink but paper too. Plus, you’ll avoid getting yourself tied into any pricy magazine subscriptions or your work of art becoming the latest chew toy for the dog. So quite a lot of plus points here.
Saying that though, physical boards don’t come without a few of those. For starters they’re way more personal. There’s just something about a wedding inspiration board that you can actually hold. You just don’t get ‘that’ with a digital board. If you’re one for collecting, physical boards make a great memory. But that’s not necessarily because of what it is – often it’s because of how you made it.
One thing I don’t think you’ll ever achieve by going digital is that sense of coupleyness that you get by sitting at the kitchen table, cutting up paper and magazines with a pair of blunt scissors. You might think I’m weird for saying this but I’d find it therapeutic, and dare I say it, romantic.
When it comes down to it though, what wedding inspiration board works best for you ultimately depends on what you think with. Use your head and you’ll likely go digital. Use your heart, and you’ll keep it physical.
Hope this blog has opened your eyes to just how much a well-planned wedding inspiration board can help you when planning your big day. Also, that perhaps it’s not the flowery-powery jibber-jabber yip-di-yaa pile of codswallop that you first thought. #EatYourWords
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