As a Creative Director turned real bride, it dawned on me pretty early in the process that planning a wedding isn’t so different from the branding work I do every day. In the branding world, we’re trying to ensure that there’s a certain level of visual cohesiveness at every touchpoint - or a visual strategy if you will. Today I'm going to walk you through those same principles and how to apply them when curating your own wedding style!
It All Starts With an Inspiration Board
Don’t worry — I’m not going to deprive you of Pinterest. In fact, consider this your permission slip to go ahead and go wild on the platform. Create a new board, and start pinning anything and everything you love as it relates to your wedding, keeping in mind your personal style and the story that you and your partner want to tell during the big day.
This might show up in a color palette you’re drawn to, a feeling that an image evokes, or a specific styling detail that resonates with you that you’d like to see incorporated. One thing to keep in mind as you’re going through this step is that you don’t need to limit yourself to only pinning wedding-related content. Inspiration can come in many forms, so think about pulling typography samples from a magazine spread that mimics the modern vibe you might be attracted to, color palette inspiration from an interior decor image, and texture references for your tablescape from an outfit detail, for example.
Once I feel like I’ve pinned a decent number of images that represent a wide range of content, I like to go back through the board, reevaluating the pins and making notes on each photo. We want to eliminate any images that don’t feel 100% right, so ask yourself what each image represents for your brand and why you’re drawn to it, eliminating it if it doesn’t make the cut. For the images that remain, we want to make actual notes in the caption of each photo, noting what you like about it and what it represents in relation to your wedding. It’s important in order to capture these thoughts to refer back to and also to communicate them with others who may be involved in some capacity down the line.
Determining Your Wedding Themes + Details
The next stage is one of my favorites, when I actually start to print out my inspiration images, starting to look for themes, similarities in content, and natural groupings that occur. You’ll likely have already started to notice these in the inspiration gathering stage, but now it’s time to pinpoint exactly what they are, giving each grouping a name and also jotting down any other tone words and details that feel relevant and help to bring the theme to life.
The main theme that emerged for me after going through this process was what I’ve started to think of as “enchanted disco forest”. Knowing that our wedding is taking place at our family cottage in an outdoor setting, it’s important to us that we complement the venue instead of fighting it, while still incorporating that dreamy, whimsical style that I love.
I have a longstanding love affair with disco balls, and alongside the silvery hints that I started to notice in my inspiration, it seemed like a natural detail to incorporate. I love contradictions in styling details, so the idea of incorporating the sparkly, celebratory disco balls in an outdoor setting with a tangle of wild greenery is totally up my alley, and a DIY challenge that I can’t wait to take on. Early on in this process, I had also found a set of vintage, hand-painted swan favors that felt like a nod to the enchanted forest theme with their fairytale-worthy quality, so those will also be making an appearance, likely as part of the table design.
A Peek at My Wedding Inspiration from The Vault
Starting to Pull Together the Details
As these details start to take shape, this is also around the time when I start to collect color swatches (if you don’t have access to a Pantone book, a quick trip to your local paint store for colour chips will work just fine!) and any other little pieces that will give you a sense of the styling details, colors, textures and finishes you want to include as part of the design for your day. I love ribbons for an inexpensive and flat lay-friendly addition to your inspiration board, and depending on the fabric, they can give you a nice hint of color while also pulling in a texture. Think sheer silk vs. rich velvet or gold trimmed lace vs. a solid pop of color. Other ideas are fabric swatches, like the lace I chose for my dress design, sequins or other embellishment that you’re planning to incorporate, or even jewelry and accessories that start to tie together some of your other styling accents.
Keep everything in a folder along with a selection of your final inspiration images, and you’ll have an easy-to-reference collection of all the details as they start to come together, ensuring that everything is going to work together and bring your vision to life exactly how you picture it. And if you’re one for sharing little hints on social media (guilty!), these little treasures also make for the perfect behind-the-scenes post as you lead up to the big day.