Once the hustle and bustle of post-engagement bliss start to settle, couples are often faced with the overwhelming task of figuring out what their dream wedding looks like — and how they’ll bring their vision to life. Planning any event is a major undertaking, but weddings carry an emotional significance that can lead to a lot of pressure to get it right.
“Couples are easily overwhelmed when it comes to collecting inspiration for their wedding as there is just so much content out there that they can look at,” says Jaclyn Watson, principal planner for Jaclyn Watson Events. “With a couple of keywords, thousands of images pop up for them. The inspiration is endless and thus can be a daunting task for the couple trying to find their style.”
At a certain point, too much inspiration is paralyzing and prevents you from making any meaningful decisions. If you’re starting to feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of wedding inspo out there, you’re not alone!
We asked wedding industry experts to share their best advice for couples who feel like they’re wading through a never-ending sea of ideas for their big day. Follow these tips to find clarity in your design concepts and actually enjoy the planning process (yes, it can be fun!).
Look to local pros for insight
If you plan to tie the knot locally, it’s best to search for inspiration in the area. After all, you’ll want an idea of the best seasons, venues, and other details for your big day! Bobbi Brinkman, owner of Bobbi Brinkman Photography, suggests making this part of your research process: “As couples research wedding pros for their wedding day team, closely examine what they share locally to find wedding inspiration.”
Brinkman continues: “Place a priority on what inspiration represents you as a couple in a unique way to incorporate and set up parameters that help keep your vision exciting but not overwhelming. Having a planner to hold you accountable and guide you with design decisions will also help keep you overwhelmed to a minimum.”
Ask for help from the professionals
There’s no need to moonlight as a wedding planner when you don’t know a Chiavari chair from a Marais a chair. Instead of risking your big day, find someone who can take the details off your plate!
“The easiest way to lessen the overwhelm when it comes to collecting wedding inspiration is by hiring a planner or designer to guide you through the process,” confirms Nora Sheils, founder of Bridal Bliss and co-founder of Rock Paper Coin.
“Let them weed through your inspirational photos and design an entire aesthetic and design board based on what you love,” Sheils adds. “They will ask thoughtful questions to help guide their creative process and allow you to tweak and change the proposal throughout the planning.”
Get to pinning
Many couples have a wedding board on Pinterest, even before they’re officially engaged. Whether you’ve been sourcing inspiration for years or you’re new to the platform, rest assured that Pinterest remains the primary channel for wedding planning.
Laura Maddox, owner of Magnolia Celebrates, agrees: “Pinterest is still the tried-and-true organization space for this! I ask my clients to put together a Pinterest board to share with all vendors and to make notes in the comments of the pictures of what they like about the image. So change the title of the pin from ‘White feather ballroom wedding’ to ‘Love the feathers’ or ‘love the furniture in the background.’”
Work with your wedding team
While you might have the most amazing and creative ideas, remember that you’re not executing the wedding on your own. When you consult with your planning team, express your thoughts clearly and listen to their feedback (even if it’s not what you want to hear!).
“Good communication helps to guide you towards your dream event and it should be OPEN communication,” says Jennifer Sulak, wedding photographer for Weirdo Weddings. “Feedback could potentially go both ways and you will need to be open for reality vs. fantasy when thinking about imagery and ideas.”
Sulak continues: “Do not be afraid to fight for your vision but also understand the realities and limitations that could arise. This doesn’t make your event any more ‘less than,’ but being open to additional solutions can go a long way into the success of your event.”
Be prepared for the budget
While it’s generally recommended to save any and all inspiration pictures that communicate your vision to your team, recognize that certain ideas may not be realistic within your budget. (Or, at the very least, prepare to increase your spending plan!)
“One of the most important things to remember when sharing inspiration ideas with your vendors is that there is a price tag attached to that,” reminds Meredith Ryncarz, owner of Meredith Ryncarz Photography. “Couples need to be realistic about inspiration images that are often shared on blogs and in magazines. These images often come with a high price point while the article attached to that image touts DIY or budgets that don’t align with said images.”
“Come to meetings with your vendors with an open mind and be willing to listen to them,” Ryncarz encourages. “Trust your vendors to take that as inspiration and make their artistic touch with it. You hired them for their expertise. Let them use it while pairing what they have learned about you to create a truly unique and magical event for you.”
Become a ruthless inspiration editor
As you go through the planning process, your vision will shift and evolve based on new ideas, budget limitations, venue parameters, and other factors. Instead of letting your imagination run wild up until the big day itself, start reining it in and let your team work with your specific direction. Less is more — the pros can handle the rest!
“Keep your Pinterest board clean,” recommends Shannon Tarrant, owner of Wedding Venue Map. “Go back and look at the ideas that don’t fit the choices you’ve made and delete them. Keep narrowing down the ideas to what is realistic for both your budget and timeline to get it all accomplished.”
Tarrant continues: “Couples should choose three inspiration photos that have the right feel, colors, and overall vibe of their wedding. Those three photos should be what they are sharing with the venue, planner, florist, and every vendor to help guide the process.”
So with some careful curation and an expert team at your side, you can plan the wedding of your dreams without getting lost in the madness. And when all else fails, remember to step back and consider the reason you’re planning a wedding to begin with: love! When the overwhelm starts to creep in, schedule a date with your partner to get out of the planning weeds and let your love guide the way.
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.