I was having a design concept session recently when, going through some bridal magazines, the bride saw a picture of succulents and told me that she doesn’t like them. Shame on me (!) my first reaction was: “You’re the first bride who’s told me she doesn’t like succulents”. Perhaps I should have elaborated more on that split second thought process behind my reaction, because that was not a very clever or tactful thing to say at all (so sorry lovely!), but it was the first thing that came to mind because season 2013/14 has well and truly been the season of succulents, and one way or the other, everyone seems to have fallen in love with them.
Personally I love succulents. They are incredibly versatile and work beautifully both with weddings that have a playful, modern or boho feel, as well as weddings with a much more classical, elegant, stylish theme. As a planner, I constantly train my eyes to look beyond the obvious and find stylistic and aesthetic affinity even where others might see none. And, while trends do play a part in the styling work we do, generally creative wedding planners and stylists prefer to *make* trends (sounds big-headed, sorry!) rather than follow them.
Here is the thing: brides don’t look at magazines the way we (planners & stylists) do. And, what this bride has taught me is that just because succulents are in, and just because a bride might not look at succulents in the versatile way that I/we do, she should not cave in to the trend if it’s just not her thing. A bride that knows at the very least what she doesn’t like, and even better, what she DOES like, is a rare gem, and working with her makes the life of a planner 10x easier, as it’s unlikely that you will find yourself changing supplier briefs at the last minute.
However, lots and lots of brides find the ever-changing, sometimes impossibly beautiful wedding trends really confusing, and among the thousands of incredibly beautiful pictures they see on Pinterest, they find themselves struggling to identify their style. If that is you, my lovely bride, then I suggest going old-school and trying the following tried and tested method:
- Identify all the immediate No-Nos: go through several wedding magazines. Do you see anything that immediately makes you go “No way, I’d hate that!”? Then put a post-it note or bookmark the page using a page sticker to reinforce your resolution that that style or that floral arrangement, or that wedding dress etc. is just not for you
- Identify the immediate: “Awww, I’d love that!”: as you go through the magazines, use a different colour sticker to highlight anything that straight away makes you wish you could have/wear that for your wedding
- Review your likes and dislikes: it is very easy to confuse your head when spending hours and hours looking at magazines, so after having done this process with 3 or 4 magazines, detach yourself from the exercise for a couple of days, then go back to your magazines and have a look at the images you have identified with the same colour stickers, both the “No way!” and the “Awww, I’d love that!”
- Identify patterns: do you see similarities among the images you have highlighted? For instance, have you found yourself putting a sticker repetitively on lace dresses, floral arrangements with roses, Chiavari chairs, and venues with painted ceilings and ornate interiors? Perhaps “timeless elegance” is the style that best describes you… Or, are muted colours, wild flowers, boho dresses, wooden decorations, and outdoor ceremonies what you have highlighted the most? Maybe you are more of a whimsical, outdoor bride who clearly loves an earthy, organic feel
- Consolidate the learnings with a Pinterest session: Now that you have started getting an idea of what kind of bride you are, and you have a clear indication of what your likes and dislikes are, you are ready to move on to 21st century and spend more time on blogs and Pinterest to gather inspiration. Create boards for various aspects of your wedding (Ceremony / Bridal dress / Table decor / Stationery / Bouquets / Table centrepieces / Groom and groomsmen / Bridesmaids / Hair and Makeup / Fun reception ideas) and pin detailed images that nail your style. Don’t just pin anything! If you have done the paper exercise properly, by now you should have a clearer idea of what you like and the style you’re after, so go after it! It’s better to pin less, than fill up a board with things that “are not quite right, but hey, you know, that’s pretty”!
Please note, as a planner, I use Pinterest as my first port of call, but my initial inspiration sessions are *always* non-wedding related because I tend to draw inspiration from colours, patters, travel, fashion etc and then look for ways to translate it into a wedding theme. If you, lovely brides, go to Pinterest too soon, however, you will end up pinning hundreds of images to then only struggle to remember why you have pinned some specific images in the first place, and having no idea of how to narrow down your style preferences.
So focus on the basics – figure out what kind of bride you are using the traditional mood board method of ripping pages off magazines or using sticker notes to identify some key style preferences, including the big No-Nos! It worked for all of us who got married 5+ years ago when Pinterest didn’t exist and wedding blogs were a rarity, so it can work for you too 🙂
If you need any help with identify your style, Linen and Silk Weddings offers design concept and mood board designing services. Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org