May is coming to a close (how did that happen, by the way?), and we’ve spent the month focusing on being artistic. Today, then, we wanted to talk a little bit about finding inspiration for that inner artist of yours. As wedding planners, we’re constantly on Pinterest and Instagram and wedding blogs looking for color inspiration and design-detail ideas—but if you’re anything like me, these media can wear you out after a while, as the content they offer is quite literally endless. So we wanted to offer you a change of scenery today and break down our favorite off-screen places to find inspiration. Get ready for some fresh-air and a fully-charged iPhone, Instagram has nothing on these classic inspiring locales:
Even if you’re not a reader, there’s no place quite as inspiring as an independent bookstore. I live in Nevada, where we only have two independent bookstores in the state—and I consider each among the most aesthetically-stunning and off-beat shops in the entire state (one is a gorgeous old mansion-turned-bookstore in Reno, where the rooms each contain a different genre; another is located in Las Vegas’ old-school downtown and boasts an “artificial bird sanctuary” for children, where fake Cardinals and Crows hang from the ceiling). From the funky knick-knacks and gorgeous stationary independent bookstores sell, to the charming decor they display, to the content of the books themselves, they’re a total breeding ground for inspiration. Find the one nearest you and give yourself 30 minutes or so to roam around it. Trust me, you’ll leave with a handful of brand-new design and theme ideas.
There’s nothing as inspiring as fresh flowers and fresh air, so find a great nursery in your area and spend some time walking around it. From the smells to the sounds (there’s a nursery by me that has parrots that talk to you!), nurseries offer such a nice change of scenery and a great way to get the heck out of your own head for a but. Plus, with plants and flowers laid out in bulk, you can take a step back and see what colors pop, what plants call to you, what flowers look best next to each other and why. Maybe your client thinks she wants flowers for her desert-inspired wedding, but you realize cacti in streamlined stone pottery would be a much better choice.
We love a good Saturday spent thrifting. From old copper tea kettles to antique soda signs, you just might find some fun design-detail pick-ups for your warehouse or that boho wedding you’re planning. Plus, even if you don’t leave with anything in-hand, with all of the vintage patterns and colors and design lines antique shops boast, you’re sure to at least leave with a fresh idea (or ten).
Old Downtowns & Arts Districts
If your city has a storied downtown or a hip arts district, spend some time walking around it for inspiration—and be sure to take a fresh eye with you if it’s somewhere you visit often. I spend tons of time in downtown Las Vegas, but recently needed some inspiration for some writing I’m working on–so I decided to revisit the area with a fresh outlook, pretending as though I was a tourist who’d never before been there. I realized there was so much I was missing—murals I’d never noticed, crazy copper statues I’d walked passed hundreds of times without stopping to see, flower shops I never knew the city had, etc. Oftentimes, we take the areas we visit most for granted. Try taking a notebook with you and forcing yourself to stop and see everything the area has to offer. Spend time looking at the typography on store windows and the color of mailboxes and that old mural on that brick building you’ve never stopped to study. You’ll see so many inspiring aesthetic details that you never noticed before.
Vintage Catalogues & Publications
Recently, I was visiting with my grandmother and showing her some vintage-inspired dresses from Modcloth that I thought she’d like. “Honey, that’s nothing,” she said to me, pulling a stack of yellowing catalogues from an armoire nearby. We spent the next several hours going through old newspapers and catalogues, analyzing fashion and hairstyles and color palettes from eras past. I walked away ready to channel my inner Jackie O and wipe out my entire closet. Plus, the hands-on, interactive inspiration session felt so much more productive than scrolling aimlessly through Pinterest or Instagram.
Overall, finding inspiration is all about visiting new settings, or looking at old settings with fresh, eager eyes. The next time you’re feeling drained and uninspired, try skipping the screen time and opting for something a little more hands-on instead–you just might find some of your best wedding design ideas in places you’d never expect.