how to make inspiration boards – a visual guide

Last year the Wedding and Event Institute asked me to contribute to their chapter on inspiration boards and it ended up being a really rewarding experience; it forced me to examine the whys and hows of what I had been doing all along.

Inspiration boards are an important tool used industry wide by both brides and wedding pros alike to visually communicate an event’s colors, mood, style, and so much more & today I am sharing a few tips on how to pull them together!

How to make wedding inspiration boards | see more on:

Color coordination is usually where I start with an inspiration board. I stumble across and image that really makes me stop and gawk at it and I go from there. I look at the textures and tones in that picture and try to find things that would compliment it, while also trying to pay attention to not just the main color, but the background colors in the image.

For the inspiration board above, I was really inspired by the bouquet and tried to find images that not only matched, but added to and expanded from it.

How to make wedding inspiration boards | see more on:

The layout of your inspiration board is a really personal thing – so make sure you do whatever feels right to you. For me though, I definitely prefer to vary the size and placement of each photo. I believe that it gives the eye some ‘wander room’ and allows each image to stand on its own and be as beautiful as it is.

With regards to spacing, I give each photograph at least 2 pixels spaces of breathing room.

How to make wedding inspiration boards | see more on:

Whether you’re creating an inspiration board for a single style or a mix of styles (like the punk + chic wedding inspiration board above) – making sure each image contributes to that vision is essential. One wrong picture can throw the whole look off and give it a messy, unprofessional feeling.

When making a wedding inspiration board that has two pretty different themes or styles, it’s important to try to find a keystone picture or two that grounds them both. In the inspiration board above it is the studded Loboutin shoes. They’re a little punk and a little chic at the same time.

How to make wedding inspiration boards | see more on:

My final tip when it comes to creating wedding inspiration boards I would argue is one of my most important ones: to only include one of each detail. If you include two pictures of wedding invitations, or two brides, or two cakes, it is going to confuse the senses and send two different messages, because truly – no two things are ever exactly alike in the wedding industry.

Find the perfect image for what you are trying to convey for each detail and then move on.

To learn even more about inspiration boards and to view the movie I made on how to make them consider signing up for WEI’s Certified Wedding, Planning Styling, and Design Course (I’m taking it right now & you can read more posts about my coursework here!).

Further reading:

Why inspiration boards are awesome
How to create color palettes
Real life inspiration boards
The creative process behind inspiration boards (on Peter Loves Jane)

Inspiration board credits: one // two // three // four

About Sara Burnett

Editor of Burnett's Boards, which she founded to showcase global creativity in the wedding industry. Sara currently lives out of a suitcase while island hopping the Caribbean and beyond. Learn More // Follow on Instagram.


  1. This is both brilliant and generous! I love your style and I love even more your willingness to teach! Thank you Sara!

  2. I agree with Christie, I can always spot one of your boards on Pinterest and they are always eye-catching! Great post to share with all brides and vendors!

  3. What a great post!! Love it.

  4. Great tips! Many new things for me to think about with future inspiration boards.

  5. I like the tip about spacing – it’s so important to keep the eye moving!

  6. Great advice that I’ll definitely be learning from!

  7. Great tips Sara, as usual you are such a sweetheart for sharing! I always learn so much here! Off to check out those links!

  8. Fabulous post! Great visuals to go along with your tips. I agree with you on all points 😉

  9. This is like peeking inside your brain, Sara! Very cool! 😉

  10. This is so neat to see how you think and work! Good tip about making sure it makes sense and picking the best – before I read this I could totally see myself putting two cakes or venues together because I can’t pick just one – ha!

  11. Great visuals! What a cool post, Sara.

  12. I love this. So many great tips and so valuable coming from an expert like you. Definitely a post to bookmark!

  13. Finally, your secrets revealed! JK. These are really helpful tips. I totally agree with you about only including one of each detail. That’s my main trick, and I stick to it. It makes things so much easier.

  14. This is totally art teacher approved! Love how you broke down the Elements of Art and Principles of Design into easy to understand terms! 🙂

  15. This is a great and beautiful article! Will be shared on our facebook feed!

  16. These are some very helpful tips. I have loved your inspiration boards and use them a lot actually. What program do you work with to make the boards? I ask because I love making my own and I can’t seem to find anything that let’s me size and fit the pictures in however I want them.

    • Thanks for your sweet words Heather! I just use keynote – it’s very simple and you can size them however you want without have to work in layers like on PhotoShop.

  17. So many useful tips! Love this!

  18. This post is fantastic! I’m going to use it as a guide for my interns! Thanks so much for this, it’s such a great how to!

  19. Great post, thank you soooo much for sharing.