I love nothing more than receiving a wedding mood board from bridal clients; it lets me know what their overall vision is, what they like, how everything will come together and also give me valuable clues as to what they want their stationery to suggest about their day.
However, not all Wedding Mood Boards are made equal. For example, I am often linked in to Pinterest mood boards or pin boards that are an amalgamation of bits and pieces the couple have been drawn to over the course of planning. With the ease of pinning, this often means the images aren't cohesive and without any notes, it's hard to know what the couple are drawn to in reference images. From a vendor's perspective this can be really hard to translate and understand.
Above: A mood board that looks like the person might have "dumped" their ideas without going back to finesse.
So here are some tips for making really clear mood boards that leave no room for doubt and convey a focussed & considered idea of your day.
1 | Throw Your Net Wide
I've got nothing against Pinterest. It's a really effective tool for finding reference images easily and the algorithm ensures that once you're on a roll, it will keep feeding you looks-like, feels-like images. However, it should only ever be a starting place. I recommend you set up a number of Pinterest boards, like the list below, and start to pin relevant images on each board.
WEDDING: Invites + Envelopes
WEDDING: Jewellery & Accessories
WEDDING: Flowers / Styling
WEDDING: Miscellaneous Ideas (I call this the 'Ugly Board'; this is where you keep a random assortment of pins that don't fit aesthetically, might not have been executed to your taste, but highlight a concept / idea you think is worth exploring)
Whilst this may seem like a huge number of boards, you'll find that this focussed approach will help in the next stage of building an effective mood board.
TIP: Pinterest will sort your boards in alphabetical order, so having 'WEDDING' at the beginning of all your wedding-related boards will keep them together. And remember you can make all of these boards private so no one else can see them.
2 | After a few weeks, it's time to finesse
It's now time to focus and eliminate pins to make your ideas more cohesive. This is where you have to balance dreams with reality.
One of my favourite spots to start is the 'Venue' board. By now you may have a clearer idea of where you'll be getting married, or what venues appeal to you as it's generally one of the first things you organise. If you've locked in your venue, delete all pins that don't showcase your venue.
Above: An example of a refined 'WEDDING: Venue' board for a couple who have locked in Mitolo Wines, McLaren Vale for their wedding.
If you're struggling to find pins of the venue, google 'Real weddings at X' or look at the venue's website and add the images to Pinterest (making sure you add appropriate credits when doing so).
If you haven't locked in a venue but your board is starting to show that you are drawn to a particular style of venue, look at what the board is telling you and begin to reach out to venues within your reach that meet the brief. Ie. If you are finding you like minimalist, modern venues; use those as terms in your venue search.
Continue to do this with any of the boards that are starting to have a clear direction. If a board doesn't have a clear direction, and you seem to like a myriad of different things, that's okay! Just hold off on doing anything to those boards for now.
3 | Pay attention to the wording / descriptions on your pins
As you start to finesse your pins, you might find some reoccurring themes. Industry and wedding experts tend to upload their images with descriptions and you may find that as you look at your pins, an emerging trend occurs. Do the pins have phrases like "Modern", "minimalist", "clean", "rustic", "relaxed" or "industrial". Make sure to jot down any words that are popping their head up consistently across your pins.
4 | Create your final, focussed mood-board
You might think it's madness, but now you're going to create a whole new mood board. After an early stage of mad-pinning, it's probably best to leave Pinterest and never return, or at least not until you want to return to a board that needs refinement or when your wedding is over. One of the greatest issues I see, is brides staying on Pinterest throughout the planning of their wedding. There are always going to be new things and new ideas popping up; the best thing to do is commit to the ideas that you've had knowing that you love them and your wedding will be a beautiful version of that. Constantly updating your wedding means your risk your day looking like a bit of this and a bit of that. If something revolutionary changes in the industry, you can be sure your vendor knows about it and will suggest it if it is applicable to your day.
Start a new Adobe A4 Document / or Canva board. Canva is great if you don't have Adobe and love a click and drop program. I like to make my documents A4 for ease of printing. Create a refined mood board with your images that you've saved on Pinterest. In this case, I updated some of the images from my 'WEDDING: Venue" board to ensure that what I loved most about the venue when picking it was present — the corrugated walls, the silver lettering of the logo, the long lines of the building.
TIP: If you pop 'Moodboard' into the templates search in Canva, they have ready to use templates that you can update easily, save and download to print when you're done.
5 | Add annotations for your vendors
The last step is to annotate your mood board for vendors. You might think that your mood board is incredibly clear but there is nothing like clear communication to make absolutely sure that everyone understands what you're envisioning.
For example, Imagine if you booked Mitolo Wines because you love their wine but you dislike all the black on the buildings and want to introduce colour to soften it. As your stationer, I might see your mood board and assume you love the monotone look of the building and the clean monochrome lines!
I've annotated the boards below so you can get a sense of what it might be good to include in your comments —
When vendors, or items are confirmed (ie. You have your dress, or your have your venue) you can pop 'REAL VENUE' or 'REAL DRESS' in the annotations so the vendors know that this is an element that is locked in and will most likely not be changing. When you have locked something in, update the images so that you don't have old inspiration on your board. It's at this stage that I like to print the mood boards out and pin them to my wall or have an electronic copy that I can send out to vendors.
6 | Kill the confusion
For some of you, this process might have been really straight forward and you may now have a clear, concise deck of mood boards for each element of your day. But remember in Step 2 when I said to leave behind boards that didn't have clear direction? This is when you return to those, and begin to lean on the expertise of your suppliers and the direction of your refined mood boards.
For example, if the couple know the venue (Mitolo Wines) and what they were wearing (As per above) but don't know what they want for stationery or table styling, this would be a good time to go back to their messy Pinterest boards with their refined mood boards printed next to them, and begin to cull ideas that won't work with their venue and outfits (Culling down to 5 key images again).
If this isn't straight forward, show the refined mood boards to your chosen supplier and ask for their advice on what they would do. Once you talk to a few suppliers / or your chosen vendor you'll most likely have a gauge of what your budget, the venue and the bump in/ bump-out will allow and what is possible. This will also help you narrow your ideas.
If you've been keeping pins on your Miscellaneous Board, make sure to keep a page of your mood board to jot down the ideas as a list. This will help you remember to speak to relevant vendors and suppliers and discover whether the ideas can be applied to your day. Ie. A donut wall, a cheese wheel cake, a margarita truck.
I hope this guide to creating an effective Mood Board for Vendors has helped you gather your thoughts and get focussed. Just remember that this process can also be applied to all other events like birthdays, christenings, celebrations and anniversaries.