Picking colors/finding your inspiration

Hi everyone, my name is Kelly Oshiro and I’m a wedding planner and event designer based in Santa Barbara. I’m a big fan of Laura’s work and I’m excited to share some ideas and advice. Thanks Laura for inviting me to your neck of the woods!

So now let’s talk about my favorite part of wedding planning—design, design, design…

[photo by Harper Smith Photography]

So you’ve picked your location, have a date, found the dress (or at least know if you want a ballroom gown or a sheath), and have an idea on how formal the event will be (sit-down or casual buffet?) – you have, haven’t you? If not, I would wait a little while to start on the design process because those three elements will help guide you and make choosing colors and the design elements a whole lot easier.

Once you’ve got those three pieces figured out its time to start collecting images of weddings you love, pieces of art, or anything that you find inspiring. I particularly like non-wedding related magazines like Elle Décor as the color palates and design elements showcased are something you don’t find in a regular wedding magazine.

On the flip side you should also collect some images that you don’t like. Sometimes is easier to formulate a design by starting with what you don’t like and then working towards what you do like. Its also helpful to keep these photos on hand when you meet with your florist, event designer, and your cake person—think of these photos as the equivalent to the “do not play list” you give your DJ.

So now with your big stack-o-photos its time to compare and contrast the images. Is there a common element that keeps popping up? For instance, do you have tons of photos of peonies? The color aqua? Monochromatic design?

[flowers by Artfool, via Style Me Pretty]

Grab a sheet of paper and write down all the words that would describe your group of images. Common words I use when I work with brides are:


I would also recommend putting together an “Inspiration board” to help you continue to focus and hone in on what you really love. Check out Style Me Pretty or Snippet & Ink for examples.

[inspiration board from Snippet & Ink]

So now you’ve got some ideas for color and the “look.” Now, it’s time to work on the details. Think about how you met, your favorite date night, food you both love, family traditions, and so on. This process is a great time to get your fiancé involved—you never know; he may come up with the best detail ever (my husband suggested doing challah and nutella, his favorite snack, in lieu of plain old bread and butter. Needless to say the nutella was a huge, huge, hit.).

Don’t worry if you don’t have every last detail worked out 6 months before the wedding. Design is an organic process and changing your mind, revising, reconsidering, throwing all your ideas out the window and starting afresh is completely normal.

[photos by Harper Smith Photography]

If you’re totally clueless about design here’s a tip to make anything look good: find three elements and repeat them. Here I used rocks as part of a sign holder, to hold down seating cards and the invitation to the post-wedding brunch, and to line the ceremony aisle. Happy designing!!!


Katie Moos said...

Great post Kelly!

Maria @ {ritzy bee} said...

This is wonderful advice!! Great post Laura & Kelly :)

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