What’s the difference between an Inspiration Board, a Mood Board, and a Palette?



Photo courtesy Craig Mitchelldyer

Early in wedding planning, even before the gown or the venue is chosen, most of you are thinking about look and feel. When you close your eyes and picture yourself entering the venue on your big day, what do you see? What flowers are you holding? What colors are surrounding you?

It's a big choice and the heart of wedding design, and it can be overwhelming. Equally confusing can be the many options you have for gathering your ideas in one place. You've probably heard about mood boards and inspiration boards, palettes and swatches, but what is what?

A mood board is the broadest tool used early on to help you determine the most general ideas about look and feel of the wedding. Not limited to actual wedding services, you might pull in photographs, videos, songs, words, and even poetry that evokes the mood you want to set for your special event. I really love the mood boards over at The Wedding and Event Institute Blog, here's one example:


An inspiration board is the next building block of creating your wedding design. Many of you may have started a Pinterest account and it's a great way to easily create inspiration out of your collected pins.


Once you have set the mood of your wedding, use an inspiration board to collect specific photographs of actual flowers, invitations, linens, stages, mandaps or huppahs, ceremony backdrop, room layout, and so on. Lots of folks interchange the terms mood board and inspiration board, but I feel like the inspiration board is a more specific tool.

An inspiration board can also be tweaked to become a story board later on – necessary for design-intensive weddings. A story board is just that: a detailed board that tells the event's story from start to finish, from the actual color scheme and entry points to the venue, to the lighting settings and tablescape. These depict final choices and elements. Most of the time, we accomplish the same thing at EJP Events by writing a detailed setup narrative, but in some cases, a story board is definitely needed.

A palette is just a selection of possible colors for the event. This is a great way to communicate to your vendors so they are all on the same page and using the correct warmth, hue, and saturation as they produce your wedding attire, linens, tablescape, and flowers. I love the palette tools over at ColourLovers:


Finally, a swatch is a sample of a design item, usually a textile/fabric that you use as a sample of the texture and color you would like to see. It is the physical version of the digital palette.

Thanks for reading this post! You might also like this post about 5 tools to help you choose a color palette for your wedding.

Idea of the day – LED light letters

Happy October! We are lucky in Portland that summer still seems to be holding on, in the afternoons at least. Makes me want to blog all the past warm-weather goodness from the last few months! One great idea we saw at a September wedding we coordinated, was a "BAR" backdrop sign designed by René Steelman of RK Steelman Events and Interiors (also mother of the groom!). It's always so flattering when event pros themselves hire us.

I loved this idea to create a "name in lights" using battery-operated LED tealights. No cords needed! René chose chevron fabric and pink rickrack which she mounted to a board. Then added embellishments like tiny mirrors with more tealights, pink flowers in test tubes, and of course, the letters. More pictures from this fun wedding are on our Facebook page.

Hope this gets your creative juices flowing – do let me know if you've seen or heard any great design ideas at weddings in Portland or beyond; email me at The Portland Wedding Coordinator or comment below.

Like this idea? Feel free to share or repin using the buttons below as well.

Friday Five: Five most-affordable ways to upgrade your wedding

We’re always looking for ways to step up the experience for you and your guests at a wedding. But budget it always a consideration, isn’t it? I’ve compiled a quick list of what I think are the five most affordable ways to add a little “sumthin-sumthin'” to your day.

– add uplighting


The photo in the picture above shows a dancefloor illuminated with two (count ’em, TWO) standard uplights with red gels to provide the color. Do a couple by yourself for about $50, or, if you want more than just a couple, have a pro do the installation for under $1,000.

– add a signature cocktail

Even if the budget doesn’t allow for a full or even partial bar, you can still serve alcohol at the wedding and keep it festive. Sometimes it’s more about the presentation than the actual drink itself.

– add a passed hors d’oevure or a passed dessert bite

– garnish everything

– do something at the venue entrance

{ Portland Wedding Coordinator loves } Damask lighting treatment and chandeliers

We're just oohing and aahing over the images from the International Special Events Society – Portland Chapter's recent event, dubbed "Pimp My Warehouse". A team of ISES event suppliers and designers came together to take a drab warehouse from grimy to glam. This is my favorite image from the event:


Image provided by Greenlight Creative. Dwayne Thomas of Greenlight Creative and ISES Portland says, "Main seating area and projected "damask" wallpaper….I've been waiting for YEARS for an excuse to project this pattern, and we obliterated the walls with it! Greg Eggen also washed the ceiling in deep blue, and uplit the sheer drape dividing the main seating area and the registration lobby with energy efficient LED fixtures from Hollywood Lights." The chandeliers came from Royce's Prop Shop and Peter Corvallis Productions.

For the full photo album from this event, visit Greenlight Creative on Facebook. Wonderful work ISES!