Google+ Ask SW: How to Make a Wedding Inspiration Board - Southern Weddings

Southern Weddings

In our wedding planner, one of the first tips we recommend is making an inspiration board. At the beginning of your engagement, an inspiration board is the perfect way to represent the look and feel of your wedding in a neat, tidy, and beautiful package. Inspiration boards are also a useful tool for working with your wedding vendors – they’ll help you clearly articulate your vision and get everyone on the same page. Finally, a great inspiration board will also serve as a touchstone you can refer back to again and again throughout wedding planning to see whether new ideas or options match up against your overall vision. Today, we’re going to teach you how to make one!

Actually, there are two types of inspiration boards – true story-based inspiration boards, and what we like to call mood boards or color boards. 100 Layer Cake creates some of our favorite color boards, including the bright spring example above. Mood boards are much more conceptual and streamlined than inspiration boards. They convey the major colors involved in the project, and a general feeling – light and happy, pale and dreamy, dark and romantic. Mood boards usually only consist of 2-5 images.

Inspiration boards, on the other hand, are unified by more than just a color and a feel. They usually contain 8-12 images and have a storyline that is cohesive and logical, than can easily be brought to life in an actual event. In fact, inspiration boards will often include specific elements that will show up in the event they’re inspiring! Snippet & Ink creates some of our all-time favorite inspiration boards, and she has an incredible backlog of 500+ boards to browse! You can see some of SW’s past color and inspiration boards here.

You know why you need one, so now it’s time to create one! I’m going to use the inspiration board I made for my wedding as our example. The first step is pulling a collection of inspiring images. Don’t feel limited by using only wedding images — pull from interior design, food photography, etc! Pinterest is perfect for this collecting phase. Above you can see some of the 200+ images I saved as inspiration.

Once you have a few images you love, it’s time to start piecing them together. There are many, many ways to do this (Photoshop, InDesign, Polyvore, even Microsoft Word or Powerpoint), but the program I think is best is called Adobe Illustrator. Happily, you can download a free 30-day trial of Illustrator right here – plenty of time to make and save a board! :) To start, I open a Web document and choose 600 pixels by 900 pixels wide, because our blog is 600 pixels wide. If you’re mostly planning to print out your board, you can make your Illustrator board 8.5 by 11 inches wide.

Next, I’ll begin adding in any photos I’m considering using. It might look like a little like this at this point:

When narrowing down images, I tried to stick to elements that I knew were realistic for our day and that evoked the setting we would be in, while still being true to the colors and feel we were going for. As you refine your board, play around with your layout and move things on and off until the overall composition looks pleasing. I like to add thin white lines between images to keep everything looking clean and crisp!

To finish, I export the board by “saving for web and devices.” And that’s that!

Tablescape photo by Jonathan Canlas via Snippet & Ink; cake via Martha Stewart Weddings; Sperry tent flags photo by Cramer Photo via Snippet & Ink; wine bottle photo by Jonathan Canlas; bouquet photo by Stephanie Williams; navy wedding invitation poster by I am Always Hungry via 100 Layer Cake; flowering boxwood bush photo by Katie Stoops from Southern Weddings; dapper groomsmen photo by A Bryan Photo; bow tie escort cards from Martha Stewart Weddings; arrangement photo by Lisa Lefkowitz via Snippet & Ink; black and white dance floor photo by Abby Jiu; dock portrait by Tanja Lippert via Style Me Pretty; tablescape photo by Jonathan Canlas via Snippet & Ink

I also wanted to let y’all know about a new service I just heard of – Violet. If you’re not comfortable with design software, they make the process of creating an inspiration board much easier! You can start with one of their curated boards, and then tweak by uploading your own photos. We love the look of this tool!

If you have any questions at all, I’d be happy to answer them! In the meantime, here is your easy to pin graphic to save for later:

We’ll be sharing a quick and simple piece of wedding planning advice based on our most frequently asked questions once a week! Feel free to email us with your own question, or pick up a copy of the Southern Weddings Planner for all of our best resources in one place!

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar Kyla Fetzner reply

    Making inspiration boards has become one of my favorite ways to refine my style and piece together ideas that I love, especially for my blog. Thank you for sharing your process Emily!

  2. avatar Laura reply

    This is great! Although I’m not planning my wedding anymore, I know I can definitely use this to create inspiration boards for room makeovers, party planning, etc. Thanks!

    • avatar Emily reply

      So true! I now have one for each room in my house, and use them for planning parties, too!

  3. avatar Ashlie Muller reply

    I just LOVE inspiration boards! They are so pretty to look at, but so very helpful too!!

  4. avatar Shannon reply

    This is a great resource! In my new online course I go into depth on how I create them by video – it’s a similar process – I think mood boards are SO important when it’s time to design your wedding!

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