How to Get the Most Out of Your Online Inspiration Boards

An esteemed wedding planner shares her tips on pinning wedding images with purpose.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Online Inspiration Boards

Photo: Justine Ungaro

Wedding Luxe Modern Inspiration Board

Pinning is to your wedding planning as Champagne is to your reception – necessary if you want to do things right, but can leave you a little hazy in the morning.

Online platforms dedicated to image sharing have changed the way the wedding world operates, with many vendors requesting a bride’s username almost immediately following an introduction. These virtual inspiration boards are one of the first places vendors look to learn more about a bride’s dreams and wish lists, as well as her likes and dislikes. By exploring her boards on fashion, furniture, and footwear, they gain an enormous amount of insight into her décor preferences and individual style. But, as with all great things, it’s easy to over do it, so take notice of these conditions before perusing through millions of images. 

Be Selective
It is so easy to hit the “save” button, but try to stay focused. Not too long ago, brides would have to physically gather and clip images that inspired them. While tedious, these “offline” brides were more likely to collect images of items that they truly cherished and wanted to represent on their wedding days. It’s easy to get distracted, but in order to create boards that wholly cohere with your vision, it’s important to control what types of images you save. That waterfront wedding under the stars is beautiful, but if you know you’re getting married indoors during a New England winter, narrow your focus to images that are more setting-appropriate.

Organize, Organize, Organize  
Resist the urge to create one board named “wedding,” but rather build inspiration for all different areas of the event. This will help to streamline the design process along the way. Hosting multiple wedding events is a fantastic way to exercise varying design styles in one weekend. If you have your heart set on a rustic-elegant ceremony and a glamorous reception reminiscent of Old Hollywood, it’s possible! Wedding planners and designers will often pull images from a client’s boards when creating their own inspiration boards for the wedding events. By keeping inspiration images organized, planners can discover patterns and trends to produce an awe-inspiring final product. 

Edit Descriptions
In addition to creating detailed wedding boards, it’s also important to highlight which details drew you to each image. Make sure to edit the description of an image when saving, or you may not remember why you chose it in the first place. Late-night browsing sessions can lead to confusion a few weeks later as you stare wondering, Why did I save this? Descriptions will also help you to stay focused and really assess whether or not you want to serve drinks in mason jars at your reception or attach twinkling lights to your ceremony arch. By writing what you like – and why – in a picture’s description, your vendors will be able to see your vision more clearly. 

Beware of Styled Shoots
Brides will often come across images from something called a “styled shoot.” While seemingly realistic at first glance, these images are not from a real event, but rather from a mock event that was created and styled by a team of vendors. While the resulting images are beautiful, styled shoots are often unrealistic and should serve as inspiration only. It’s common for a bride to have her heart set on a specific set of linens she saw in a styled photograph, but after an exhaustive search find that the tablecloth was a one-of-a-kind style that would never be attainable for a wedding in the real world. 

A styled shoot can be identified a few ways:  

Description. If any form of the word “inspired” appears in the description or title, you know that the resulting images were created for editorial purposes. 

Lack of guests. Often there is one table set for very few people. Consider: is this a wedding for four? Where are the other tables? 

Props. There tends to be usage of various props and personal items. Think about the items shown in the image: Do they look like they could be repeated over again 15-20 times?  

Setting. How many weddings have you been invited to that take place in the middle of a field? Some brides are that lucky, but in the real world, how would the guests get there? Where would the band pull electricity from? What about bugs and animals? If you think it is a little unrealistic, it probably is, but always check with your vendors. A good wedding planner or florist will be able to tell you if that farm table can be in fact rented or that teepees on the beach don’t make for very good guest seating. Treat the images that you find from styled shoots as an opportunity to see a vendor’s creative ability, but do not mistake them for a real wedding.

Above all, brides should adhere to one golden rule: You are planning your dream wedding, not someone else’s. Remember that as you are pinning. You and your vendors are perfectly capable of coming up with new and fantastic ideas that have not been re-shared 7,784 times. While it is wonderful to use images as inspiration, do not be “married” to an exact look or item. Make it your own… Just be sure to share your photos online after the wedding!

To find inspiring wedding images to add to your inspiration boards, follow SoCo Events and Inside Weddings on Pinterest!

Opening photo by Justine Ungaro