On the Look Out

Ginny Au
Finding wedding inspiration outside the wedding world

Everyone is looking for an original idea; something authentic and meaningful. Brides want their wedding to reflect who they are, and we, as wedding professionals, want to create compelling experiences for our guests. But how do we do this?

It's hard not to be influenced by (and subconsciously absorb) the myriad of wedding images we're exposed to on a daily basis. This isn't a bad thing. We should appreciate and celebrate the designs of our creative community. But when we all use the same existing imagery as inspiration for new designs, nothing "new" is created. Publications keep receiving the same overdone submissions, we creatives feel like we're spinning our wheels, and clients are left feeling like their options are limited to the latest Pinterest trends.

The truth is, if you're only exposed to existing, completed wedding designs, you're unlikely to produce something different.

You can avoid this problem by looking outside of the wedding world for inspiration. Start the design process by seeking out just one image or element that most beautifully and accurately captures the client's vision. This will become the point everything else resonates from. I call this single-source inspiration.

Finding a single source requires an intimate study of people. Read your client's body language, observe how the couple interacts, discover their highest values and understand the vision they have for their wedding day.

It's also a study of environment. Understanding the colors, textures, and atmosphere of a location is key in choosing the design source. Once you find this source, you can build the other design elements around it, such as the tablescape, paper goods, florals, etc.

I'll share with you an example.

Monique and Zoran decided to host a small wedding in Italy. Monique is a photographer with a keen eye for composition and modern design. The couple specifically chose their wedding venue for its contemporary clean lines, allowing the environment (more specifically the architecture) to become the single source of design inspiration. Their priority was to create a warm, authentic atmosphere in which their guests could experience conversation, laughter, and intimacy.

Knowing this, and having identified the single source (architecture), I began to curate further visual inspiration. These images were not of completed wedding designs. They were individual elements that complemented the environment and collectively established the mood Monique had described.

To execute this vision, we pulled back on the decor. There were no flowers, just olive branches to connect us to the natural environment. The architecture of the venue and surrounding village was incorporated into the photography. The clean lines and minimalist interior of the reception space was juxtaposed with an abundance of candlelight, creating warmth and intimacy for guests at dinner.

We focused strongly on the tone and mood of the couple, seeking to highlight their natural, authentic connection. (As you can see in the 'couple' design board, there are no images of a bride and groom looking at the camera. We made sure to express this value of intimacy in all of their photos on the wedding day.)

In the final images above, you can see that Monique's love of clean lines, composition, and minimalism is expressed beautifully (almost effortlessly), and her desire for uninterrupted, authentic connection is evident in their portraits.

Because Monique and Zoren's vision was so unique, pulling inspiration from a completed wedding design would have denied them the opportunity for freedom of expression.

Combining the single source of inspiration with your understanding of the client and their desires allows you to personalize and humanize the design.

Investing time and energy in your search for inspiration shows your clients you understand them, you care about their unique voice, and you're committed to creating a personalized design.

It also distinguishes your work from the trends and recycled ideas within the industry, allowing you to create truly original wedding, and communicate your own distinct aesthetic.

Photography by James Bennett // Styling by Ginny Au
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