After our first wedding season together, I felt felt a little lost in the inspiration department. I wanted to create fresh, inspiring work, but didn’t know where to look for inspiration beside wedding blogs.
But I noticed that no sooner would a wedding trend hit a popular blog than it would be out of style. How in the world could I keep up with these trends and create fresh, inspiring work if as soon as I saw something I liked, it was no longer trendy?
Over the coming wedding seasons, I decided to stop trying to chase the latest hot trend and instead focus on creating work that I was proud of. This approach brought me all the way back to one of my favorite childhood hobbies.
As a little girl, I used to play a sensory game in my head. Whenever I was in a natural environment, I would feel really happy. I wouldn't know why, so I’d spend time trying to remember every detail my five senses experienced. I’d bring a notebook and often write about what I smelled, saw, heard, felt, and tasted.
I would sketch interesting plants, take flowers or berries with me, write stories and poems, and make up songs that reminded me of the sounds I heard while exploring.
To this day, some of my clearest memories involve what I burned into my mind with this sensory game. I remember my grandparents’ trail in the woods, the way the sun set over my favorite sledding hill, and that my other grandparents’ yard always smelled like geraniums and freshly cut grass. The environments I found myself in were my biggest sources of creative inspiration as a child.
Recently, I’ve been exploring a “wedding style” that resonates with this long-time creative hobby of mine. The term minimal event design immediately originally made me think of words like sleek and modern or a philosophy of less is more, but in reality, there’s more to it than that.
The Minimal Philosophy of Event Design
Minimal event design simply means reflecting and respecting your environment in your styling choices. So rather than choosing things because they’re beautiful or trendy, minimal design focuses on using elements that make sense in the particular environment.
One of my favorite wedding stylists, Ginny Au says it best:
“Minimal design is the art of understanding. Simplicity on its own doesn’t create a good minimal design (yes!!); the details and stylistic decisions we make must also connect with the surrounding environment in natural, cohesive, and interesting ways.”
Taking An Organic Approach
As you begin planning your wedding, go to your venue. Catch yourself before you rush headlong into debates about where tables should go, and what colors you should choose. Stop and play that little sensory game that I played as a child. Squeeze your eyes shut and note the smells, sounds, and feels that you get in your wedding day environment. Look around you. What naturally grows in that space? What time of year will it be? What’s the weather like? How about the light? What do you hear and smell?
If you’d like a meaningful, beautiful wedding that doesn’t leave you scavenging every last wedding magazine for the latest trends and constantly reworking your plans when a hot new trend breaks, then this is your starting place. Start with your environment!
Why Minimal Event Design Works
The greatest thing I could ask for is that five, ten, fifteen years from now, your photos help you remember seemingly insignificant parts of your wedding day, like how the sun felt on the back of your neck, or how even though you wished it wasn’t so windy, you could smell the peonies so clearly because of it.
I want sunsets to forever hold a sweet sense of nostalgia because you shared a beautiful family style dinner with your loved ones under the setting sun. I want the smell and feel of dew on the grass to bring you right back to your first dance-your feet hurt, so you kicked off your beautiful heels and walked across the grass with your new husband at dusk for your first dance together.
Those are moments I could never create with a camera. But when you reflect your environment in your event design, they are things that you’ll remember for years to come.