Have you ever gotten an idea for a project or your wedding design and went down the rabbit hole of endless possibilities, leaving you overwhelmed and confused? Yeah, Me too!
Tabitha Abercrombie, the Founder and Creative Director of Winston & Main Event + Floral Design Studio sharing her 6 Step Design Process with us. Tabitha’s brilliant design process can take you from 3 million ideas to concrete designs for Your Perfect Wedding Day or project!
I used Tabitha’s design process recently when I was giving my studio a much-needed facelift and it worked like a charm. Side note: If you need something to get your mind off the current state of the world I highly recommend DIY home projects or just get a house plant!
Winston & Main’s DESIGN PROCESS IN A NUTSHELL
This is the process I use to turn my clients (and my own) sometimes disparate ideas and inspirations, into complete, cohesive, and beautifully realized designs + events. So whether you’re a newly engaged couple, a fellow wedding professional, or a DIY Wedding Warrior, this will work for you too. Try it out and let me know what you think!
1. ASK THE QUESTION
How do you want your event to feel?
Ask yourself this question first. Write down your answer and refer to it often.
Trust me on this one, your answer will inform the rest of your decisions.
Great events tell great stories. Great stories give you all the feels.
The question is definitely NOT about how you want your event to look.
I wanted our shoot to feel like a sun-drenched bohemian adventure,
full of magic, color, and whimsy.
2. BE A GREEDY SQUIRREL
Pinterest. The Library. Museums. Magazines. A dog walk. A good book.
Inspiration is everywhere, so gather it all up like the greedy little squirrel you are.
Pin it all. Jot it down. If it gives you the feels, gobble it up. For now. Don’t bother to edit.
Set a Time Limit.
aka. Once your mouth is full you have to stop. (is this analogy still working?)
*If you’ve just gotten engaged, maybe it’s a month to soak up all the inspiration and champagne.
*If it’s a party in a couple of months, maybe you give yourself a week.
*If it’s a styled shoot in a week or two, maybe you give yourself a day, or even just a couple of hours.
My squirrel phase looked a bit like this:
NPR won’t shut up about this desert super bloom – maybe it’s worth the drive to see – maybe if we drive all the way out there we should do a desert photoshoot – the desert got me thinking about gram parsons – gram parsons got me thinking about 70’s vibes – my father-in-law has a badass 70’s corvette – so maybe a desert elopement with that car – damn Ravayna’s hair would match all those purple desert flowers – oh! wouldn’t the first dance with a portable record player be sweet – hey! I have a portable record player…
And so on…
And of course, the whole time what I’m actually doing is pinning/making lists of anything and everything that feels sun-drenched, bohemian, magical, whimsical, colorful, or adventurous.
3. OBEY THE RULE OF THREE
Look over all that beautiful inspiration (more like random pins and chicken scratch at this point) and pick out three things you gravitate towards over and over. A certain color. A pattern. A type of flower. Do you only pin brides in short lace dresses? (asking for a friend)
Pay attention to your own ideas.
And pick your three elements.
This is where the magic happens: the three elements you chose, that gave you all the feels, are unique to you. (or your couple, if you’re a designer/planner) and they’ll help you tell your personal + original story.
The Rule of Three is simple: primarily focus on and repeat these three elements throughout your design.
My three for our shoot were purple sunsets, eclectic props, and 70’s rock ‘n’ roll.
4. MAKE YOUR MOOD BOARD
Your mood board is an immediate visual answer to the question.
It gives you all the feels and contains your palette and three elements.
And nothing else.
Now is the time to say goodbye to all those other good ideas,
and the 14 other weddings that could have been.
Make a mixtape, pack your snacks, and get ready to hit the road,
because you, my friend, have made your very own roadmap.
5. LIST OUT YOUR PROJECTS
What key projects do you want or need to make your wedding/party/photoshoot work?
A variety of simple & impactful projects is best.
You don’t need ALL THE THINGS. I promise.
For our elopement adventure I chose:
A Bouquet & Boutonniere
A Cake & Cocktail
A Sweetheart Table
A Custom Jacket with Gram Parsons Lyric
Musical Props- A Record Player & Guitar
“We Eloped” Records
Sure, we could have done more, more, more, but it wasn’t necessary to tell our story.
Remember the bare minimum, done beautifully, is often best.
6. BE A RUTHLESS EDITOR
Again, inspiration is everywhere.
BUT if you’re past your time limit AND you’ve made a mood board you love, well then, it’s time for a little tough love my friend.
Is that amazing new idea one of your 3 design elements? Does it 100% fit on your board? If not, it doesn’t matter how cool it is, let it go.
How good were those tips?! Leave a comment below with which one you found most helpful. Thank you again to Tabitha for sharing those with us. Wanna work with Tabitha, check out the services she offers right here.
Until next time, cheers!
The Creative team: Venue: Anza Borrego Desert State Park / Event & Floral Design + Planning: Winston & Main / Photography: Julie Shuford Photography / Dress + Accessories: The Blushing Bird / Cake: Mwokaji Cakery / Embroidery: Ink & Thread LA / Models: Ravayna & David Coe