If you were to ask the Me from one year ago how she felt about inspiration boards she would tell you they are a complete and utter waste of time. If you were to ask me now, post wedding, how I felt about said subject I would tell you they are a complete and utter life saver. An efficiency master, of sorts. When I was planning my wedding I made the daily wedding blog rounds, much like all brides do, and saved the images I loved into an inspiration folder on my desktop. This folder, no doubt, served its purpose of always being ready when I needed to consult its wealth of knowledge and all things pretty. The problem, however, was that unless I had a specific image I was referring to, I rarely opened this folder. Occasionally when looking for pictures of flowers or bridesmaids dresses I would thumb - ur, click? - through the pictures, however I never really looked at the images. Once I had copied the image off the internet, it really just sat on my desktop, lonely, waiting for me to give it a lil' love...which I never did.
A few months before our January wedding, I finally gave in to the Inspiration Board craze. I'm not sure why I decided to play along - maybe Style Me Pretty was having a contest or maybe I had realized that the hundreds of images saved to my computer would never actually be used. Either way, I clicked through my folders upon folders of inspiration and I sorted through my favorites. I chose images that I felt really summed up the essence of what we wanted our wedding to be. These were pictures that evoked the emotions we wanted our guests, and ourselves, to feel. These were images we always looked at a little bit longer than the rest and they were images that made us want to reach inside the photo and grab hold of the subject. They were pictures of lavender that made us sigh, photos of a bride that made me swoon, and images of a table that made us squeal (Colton squeals. Don't judge).
After choosing those key images that summed up how we wanted our wedding to look as a whole, I put together an inspiration board - or a collage of pictures. Unlike the folders saved to my desktop, the board provided one large image I was able to refer to when I needed a reminder of what we were working toward. More than pictures of pretty cake and romantic flowers, it was a reminder of how our wedding would feel. It was a guide for every detail we chose and it helped narrow our focus from hundreds of loose images, to one synced reflection of who we were. It truly helped us create the wedding we knew we wanted, yet didn't know how to obtain.
Below is the inspiration board Colton and I used for our wedding. Even now, seven months after our planning came to an end, I'm experiencing the flood of giddy excitement and nervous curiosity I felt when planning our day. I had no idea how January 2nd would actually turn out - if the flowers would look nice, if the table settings would blend, if my hair would be right - but I knew that, really, it didn't matter. I was marrying Cole and we would be surrounded by the people we loved the most - the ones who had supported us and encouraged us for so long.
(Please note :: None of these pictures were taken by me)
To give you a better idea of how the above images helped shape our day, I want to start with the image of the couple in the lower right corner. When we saw this image, taken by Max Wanger, Colton and I were both immediately speechless. It held the exact emotion we knew we wanted in our first dance (and in our wedding). To be so connected to one another, yet to be surrounded - actually surrounded - by the people we love was absolutely crucial to us. Never before had I thought of incorporating sparklers into our first dance (we had planned on exiting to them), however after seeing this image we knew it would be part of our day. Secondly, because we were getting married in a barn, the day naturally had a very organic feel to it. As such we found a ton of inspiration in textures and nature. We used burlap for table runners and sealed our napkins with Jasmine leaves. Also, because making our guests feel truly comfortable was our utmost priority, we wanted long tables. In my dream world, I would have had one ginormously long table seating all of our guests. Because 350 people sitting at one table would look ridiculous and be mildly awkward, it didn't work out for us. Still, we were committed to the idea of having rows of long tables and we made it happen in order to create the hospitable environment we were striving for. Finally, including the talents of those we loved was imperative. Beyond how the decor looked and the food tasted, we wanted our wedding to feel special. Our way of doing this was to include our loved ones throughout the planning process. When we saw the woodblock invitation in the upper left corner we squealed. Again. Colton's sister, Kelsi, is an incredible artist and is especially talented at woodblock printing. Kelsi was able to carve a woodblock image of our venue and Colton and I - with the help of all six of my college roommates - inked, pressed, and printed all 400 invites.
...all of this happened because we had an inspiration board to refer to.
(Our wedding photography photo credit :: Benjamin Edwards)
And this was the result. The above board was created with images from our wedding. In the end it was a reflection of who we are as a couple and it was all the more meaningful and special because of this. Our wedding wasn't an exact duplicate of our inspiration board - that wasn't the intention. It was a collaboration of all things we loved and the board simply helped to guide us to a day that was truly us.
I hope this helps on your wedding planning journey. In the end you can't go wrong by making your day a reflection of who you are. That is, after all, what a wedding should be.