garden rose wedding bouquet

Photo: Shutter Sam Photography

We live in a golden age of wedding planning.


Get engaged and the inspo will practically start falling into your lap (no, literally—somehow bridal magazines started inexplicable appearing in my mailbox every month as soon as I started wedding planning. Thanks, universe?). Whereas our moms maybe had to chat up wedding planners or go to, like, the wedding section of the bookstore to get ideas for their big days, we actually have to go out of our ways to avoid getting sucked into the deep pits of wedding inspo that lurk around every corner of our Internet—yes, as soon as you post that announcement on FB, those targeted ads will be flying into your feed. It’s a vortex that becomes a slippery slope the moment you dip a single toe into it—be it a dress designer’s website, Pinterest search result or blog like this one. One click begets another, tabs multiply, and somehow it’s 2 a.m. and you’re sobbing into some couple from Santa Barbara’s wedding video.

In the beginning, it may seem fun and harmless to lose yourself in the depths of Wedding Inspiration Content (WIC). Your own wedding may be over a year away, and everything feels new, exciting and undiscovered. But as time wears on, getting sucked down deeper and deeper into napkin pattern blog posts and hairstyle pins can stress deadlines, amplify indecisiveness and make you feel overall like a complete maniac who hears voices of wedding bloggers (hi!) whispering to her in her sleep at night. In summation: You can’t have too many florals on your wedding day, but yes, girl, you CAN have too much inspiration.

How do you keep yourself from getting to this point? First and foremost, brainstorm with care. The moment you start planning for your wedding and devouring magazines, blogs and Pinterest, start organizing, too. Divide research into clear categories—florals, hair, dress, table decor, etc.—and stick to them. When you’re researching hair inspo, only look at hair inspo—Stay. Away. From. Wine. Goblets. And don’t just limit your focus to one category. Limit it to one or two mediums, while you’re at it. Don’t jump from blog to blog to blog until your contacts fall out of your eyes because you haven’t blinked in three hours. Instead, set clear intentions and boundaries: “I’m going to only look at hairstyles only on Pinterest for only one hour.” Once that hour is up, close your laptop and go have a glass of wine or something! Save another category, or another inspiration source (like your favorite bridal mag) for another day. There’s a reason you gave yourself 18 months to do this, sister.

What to do if it’s too late, you’re already in too deep, shaking and crying under your desk because just now you accidentally Googled 1,700 different stationery suites and now you know even less of what you want than you thought you knew before you started looking for inspiration? (Isn’t it ironic that too much inspo can actually lead to becoming less inspired in the long run?) My antidote: Make a master mood board, and always go back to it. Because just like your instincts guided you to your fiancé(e), they will guide you to your dream wedding. Go with your gut and curate a bare bones, snap-judgment collection of pins or mag clippings of things you just love—from stationery designs to hairstyles—and keep it handy for times when the inspo undertow sweeps you astray. Use it as an anchor to remind yourself of the elements you really love, really, in your heart—not just stuff you like by result of sheer friction (as in, stuff smashing into your field of vision at light speed on the Internet).

So, you’ve got organization to keep you from drowning in pins, and you’ve got your in-case-of-emergency mood board to snap you out of being convinced by the Internet that you somehow want to hire a pony with a floral crown as your flower girl. But there’s still the case of wedding inspo FOMO to deal with, and that’s a big one. Even if you’re regimented AF and keep your eyes on the prize (and off Pinterest), you might catch yourself wondering now and again during your wedding planning journey: What if there’s something else out there that I’m missing? A prettier plate? A better shade of blush? A flower pony? Even just thinking about the sheer breadth of wedding inspo out there—that is, without even having to look at it—can cause an anxiety attack of epic proportions. And honestly? There’s no real cure-all for this one. You have to let it run its course. The bottom line is: You can’t see every idea out there before picking one, and you certainly can’t pick ‘em all. And trying to pick the prettiest thing out of an ever-expanding universe of pretty things? It’s like trying to pick one pair of shoes from the Zara spring collection. Fool’s errand.

So, you can do what I did to try to shake myself of the inspo FOMO—indulge like crazy and fight fire with fire. Give yourself one full Sunday afternoon and a extra-large cup of coffee to conduct a no-holds-barred expedition deep into the world of wedding inspo. Dive deep and allow yourself to search for things even though you’ve already bought them, or visit wedding blogs so painfully pretty you’ve heretofore set them off limits. Really commit. At the end of your inspiration-overload sojourn I bet you’ll have the same takeaways as I did (not to mention a pretty wicked coffee buzz): Whoa, this is all sort of blending together. Whoa, I’m sort of sick of this. Whoa, I’m ready to make decisions and be done with them because I just saw that there is no possible way to have an ugly wedding. And if you’re a lot like me: Whoa, get me to a horror movie, STAT.

In summation, the rule for maintaining sanity in our over-inspired world of weddings is to stay centered, stay focused and stay safe from getting in too deep. And if you truly must OD on inspo, so be it! You just might find that even you have a maximum threshold for perfectly-composed photos of peony bouquets (if that threshold is somewhere in the thousands, I won’t judge).