Sunday, February 3, 2013

How to Know What You [really] Want

A while ago, I was asked by a friend to help with her daughter's wedding day. To boil it down, I get to tell people where and when to go, and what to do when they get there.  Basically, it's the perfect job for me - being bossy and ubber-organized.  I was that kid who used to direct (and show) plays in her back yard.  Not much has changed. 

Are you familiar with the tv show 'Wedding SOS?' where there is a 'wedding godmother' of sorts who goes around granting wishes to the bride and groom when they need them most?

Yeah.  It's going to be nothing like that. 

All the details are being planned by the bride and groom - I'm lending some creative services, but most of the ideas are theirs.  I can't wait!

Recently, I was over at my friend's house (the MOB) to help figure out centrepieces for the dinner table.  The bride wants 'elegant vintage'  or a 'Great Gatsby' feel and specifically said 'nothing too rustic.'  She's said she's super-keen on the idea of vintage tins, silvers, and overflowing flowers for the tables. 

Here are a recent collection of photos she sent along for inspiration:

Photo #1

Photo #2

Photo #3

Photo #4

Photo #5
Photo #6
Photo #7

Photo #8

All of them are gorgeous, right?!  YES!  But they're not all the same.  In fact, they're all pretty different.  And the reality with table centrepieces is you just can't do that much.  It's best to keep them simple - and elegant. (or simple and funky; simple and cute...whatever floats your boat). 

So how do you figure out what someone really wants? 

1.  Get an immediate visual image

If you're a visual person like me, you look at the photos for a minute and you can pick it out.  Let's play..."one of these things is not like the other."  Go on and scroll through the photos again.  Is there one photo that sticks out from the bunch or doesn't seem to belong? 

Did you say Photo #6?  (and probably Photo #3, if you want to be very particular.  Which I especially like to be!). 

Right.  Photo #6 has very vibrant colours and seems to be the only photo with vintage tins in it.  Go on and have another look.  It's true, isn't it? 

Hmmmm....let's continue.

2. Create a word map (or even a word cloud!)

Word clouds were all the rage in advertising and marketing a little while ago.  I think the trend has mostly passed...which means I'm just about ready to hop on it.  I never said I was hip, people.  I just get things done. 

You can make your own word cloud at Wordle.  Just enter in text, or, in this case, list all of the words you come up with for each picture. 

For's picture #1 again:

Photo #1


I see these words:


Do this exercise for each of the photos and then enter the text into Wordle - and create your word cloud.  My word cloud looked like this:

Based on the word cloud above, the bride is looking for table centrepieces that feature GLASS, specifically JARS, the main colours WHITE and GREEN (probably mostly from the flowers) with accents of Pink, Yellow, Blue, and Purple.  All of this will be tied together with SILVER highlights for a little 'bling.' 

She doesn't want anything: rustic, brass, sweet, bright, orange, country, modern, vintage or funky. what's left? 

3.  Figure out the opposites

If you're struggling with the 'do not's' list, think about what the opposites of these words are...and you might find some of your 'do's in that. 

Rustic /= Urban
Brass (gold in colour) /= Silver
Orange /= Blue
Country /= Urban
Modern /= Traditional
Vintage /= New
Funky /= Conventional

From the list above, Silver and Blue have been mentioned above, so make sense.  We're left with a few words that don't seem to fit into a 'vintage, Great Gatsby' vibe the bride wants.


4.  Be honest and look for more specific examples

Maybe this bride doesn't want as much 'vintage, funky' flair as she originally thought.  Maybe she wants to focus on a more traditional, classic feel, with some vintage touches for interest's sake (read: decorate silver, cut glass mixed with glass mason jars, coloured glass, silver candle sticks)

BUT WHAT ABOUT THE VINTAGE TINS!!  They're such a great idea - it would be shame to waste them.  Plus, they're cool.  Real cool. 

But it doesn't fit into what the bride envisions for her table centrepieces. That's ok.  Why not incorporate it somewhere else in the wedding? 

The bride also wants this for her dessert table:

I think it would be perfect to incorporate the vintage tins on the dessert table.  It's already got the rustic, vintage, funky vibe going on...and vintage tins would compliment, not compete, with this look.  Also, be willing to realise that the thing you didn't think you wanted (*ahem,*, mason jars) is in almost every picture you like.  Embrace mason jars.  Seems like they're also 'a thing.' 
In conclusion, this is a bit subjective...obviously, it would be best to get the bride to come up with the words for each picture; the results would likely be more accurate.  But she's in New Zealand.  Apparently there's a time difference or something.
You don't have to use this process for just can figure out your personal 'style' this way (for clothing, decor, makeup etc.).  Easy as 1-2-3...4!
Happy planning! 

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