Avoiding Inspiration Overwhelm

2020 may live in infamy for those of you that were hoping to plan a memorable day of your dreams with your soon-to-be spouse, but that isn’t to say that there was any shortage of wedding inspiration.  

In fact, your Instagram feed may have been overloaded with pampas grasses, chic wedding attire, a lot of velvet, and too many ceremony arch ideas to choose from. If there was ever a time that sitting at home and pinning ideas to your wedding Pinterest board was socially acceptable, it was certainly this past year. 

However, it would be an understatement to say that all of these beautiful photos and DIY project ideas are overwhelming. It’s hard to narrow down what you and your partner really want for your big day – let alone keep it within your budget constraints – so we rounded up some wedding experts to help you avoid getting lost in all of the options. 

Photography by Renee Lemaire

Why couples (like you) tend to get overwhelmed with inspiration 

The fact of the matter is that for many of you, this will be the first major event that you’ve planned, so it can be a tall order. Add in the pressure of designing the perfect wedding during COVID, and it’s no surprise that couples tend to feel frazzled quite easily. 

In the words of Leah Weinberg of Color Pop Events: “If couples don’t have any kind of design background, it can be challenging for them to articulate what exactly it is they want their wedding to look like. So, they turn to Pinterest or Instagram to gather ideas and then get lost in the rabbit hole of endless inspiration. They might see tons of things they like, but then will have a tough time figuring out how to make all the different ideas cohesive.” 

Juls Sharpley of Bubbles & Bowties adds, “I think the main reason this creates overwhelm is the Mere-Exposure effect, which is when people tend to develop a preference for things merely because they are familiar with them. So the more a couple is exposed to images of items they didn’t necessarily love to start with, the more it grows on them and then all of the sudden they have a ton of pins or screenshots that they don’t even really like, but don’t know how to escape or hone in on something new and special.” 

Photography by Kaysha Weiner Photography

What you can do to find that creative spark without the stress 

When it comes to finding a happy medium between getting your creative juices flowing and just flat-out overdoing it, Bri Marbais of The Bridal Finery recommends to think about what’s most important to you. 

“Before diving straight into the wedding inspiration, prioritizing all of the pieces to the puzzle will definitely help to avoid being overwhelmed. Discuss together what the most important aspects of the wedding are – the food, the photography, the dress. Once narrowed down and in order of importance, dig a little deeper as to why the list is set up this way and what specifically is the most important about each aspect.” 

Shannon Tarrant of says, “Too many times I’ve been added to a couple’s Pinterest board to see a lot of ideas that are not cohesive or even possible to achieve based upon their location, time of year, and budget. Hiring a wedding planner or designer can help you narrow down the choices. Oftentimes, these wedding professionals will offer design sessions to listen to your ideas, review what you’ve chosen for inspiration and create cohesion into the look and overall style.” 

And for Jamie Chang of Passport to Joy, approaching research in a different way can be a game-changer. “To avoid the overwhelmed feeling, you don’t want to look at inspiration just to look. You want to look for inspiration with intention. So, instead of scrolling through Pinterest (or anywhere else online), you want to search specifically for words that describe your style and the wedding you’re looking to create. That could be a location-specific search (e.g. XYZ venue wedding or XYZ location wedding), but more likely will include both broader terms like simple, casual, non-traditional and more niche terms like sustainable, artistic, farm to table.  The more specific you can get, the better your results will be, and the less overwhelmed you’ll get when looking at images.” 

Photography by Jenny DeMarco Photography

Drawing inspiration in new ways 

The usual suspects of Instagram, Pinterest, and even wedding magazines and blogs aren’t your only options when it comes to researching out-of-the-box details.  

According to Kylie Carlson of The Wedding Academy: “Home décor is a wonderful place to start when you’re at a loss for what exactly you’re looking for. Take a peek at some of your favorite architecture, cozy elements and textures, and think about what types of décor make you feel most confident and comfortable in equal measure. Better yet, take advantage of resources such as Pantone where you can get a feel for certain colors – whether you’re curious about what’s trending, or simply want to see your desired wedding colors in a variety of settings.” 

JoAnn Gregoli of Elegant Occasions by JoAnn Gregoli suggests, “Visit an art museum and be inspired by the images you find in the museum, or travel [and] visit a location that depicts your style, and be inspired by the culture around you. Enjoy the outdoors, go hiking, camping, or visit a local park. You will find that unplugging from society for a few days will give you clarity. Even better, find local festivals and attend them with your significant other. Be inspired by the sounds, sights, and smells that you will encounter.” 

Nora Sheils of Rock Paper Coin and Bridal Bliss also notes, “The best weddings are those that speak to the couple and their relationship. Think of childhood favorites (from food, to TV shows, to entertainment, and so on), places you have traveled or lived together, favorite seasons, etc. Let ideas come to you organically rather than spending hours scrolling and getting more confused.” 

Photography by Classic Photographers

Regardless of the size, theme, or setting that you choose, you’ll likely run into a sea of distracting ideas and details. But remember – there are no set rules for what your big day should look like. Above all, just make sure that you’re planning a wedding that you and your partner are proud of! 

Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast. 

We’ve partnered with OFD Consulting to bring you this great advice from their collective of wedding professionals.