The Inundation of Inspiration

Our designers share tips on how to use event inspiration responsibly.

With a vast and endless sphere of content always at our disposal, it can be hard to imagine where we sought inspiration before the advent of the internet. And while tools such as Pinterest can seem to be a saving grace as you begin the new and somewhat daunting task of designing a wedding or special event, two of our designers offer some caveats to letting someone else’s ideas speak on your behalf.

L to R: VP of Sales & Design, Rishi Patel | Senior Event Designer John Hensel | Photos by Kent Drake Photography
L to R: VP of Sales & Design, Rishi Patel | Senior Event Designer John Hensel | Photos by Kent Drake Photography

Designing a wedding is not altogether different from designing a new house, notes Rishi Patel, VP of Sales and Design. Many couples have envisioned it for years and know exactly what they want; many haven’t considered it once until it became real.

For the latter, the natural next step is to seek the help of a professional. In an effort to be prepared, it’s natural to pop online and and see what strikes your fancy. That leads us to our first caveat:


Collecting content you find online is not a substitute for articulating who you are, and what you like.

Birch Design Studio | Tim Walters Photography | Chicago Illuminating Co.

Of course this can sometimes be tough. But what’s better than bringing an tablet filled with pins? Bring an open mind, and some trust that your designer knows how to draw your style out of you, even if you don’t. They do this every day, after all.

See, any good designer is going to pay attention to your details: taste indicators such as style of dress and choice of car, but also your mannerisms, your style of speaking, and for weddings, the dynamics of you and your partner. There is a lot to learn from these things.

When it comes to talking about decor, they also know that you may not always have the words. Which is another reason Rishi encourages his clients to have a more comprehensive explorative process: “Often, people can more easily share what appeals to them things like fabric, art, print, textiles, interiors or fashion…and these are actually a much better place to start–especially when you are considering custom design,” he says.

This couple loved color, art, poetry and patterns (to name a few).

Together with Birch Design Studio, Rishi found a way
to bring all of their favorite things together.

(Tim Walters Photography for HMR | Chicago Illuminating Co.)






The take-away? You can achieve a more curated selection of imagery and ideals when you consider all of the things you like, not just weddings you like, or centerpieces you like.


Which brings us to our next caveat…

The best designs happen through collaboration…not imitation.

The Storied Table | Red Bliss Design | Fandl Photography for HMR | Morgan MFG.

When clients bring their ideas, it’s up to our designers to unpack them, expand on them, and see where they can go. When clients bring photos they want replicated, it quite literally takes the fun out of it. “If you’re coming to a place like HMR, the best thing you can do is have trust in what we do,” notes Rishi. “We’re not doing paint-by-numbers here,” he smiles.


This teen understood that love is all you need.
Together with The Storied Table and Red Bliss Design, Rishi found the way to her heart.

(Fandl Photography for HMR | Morgan MFG.)




The take-away? Take full advantage of the resource you’ve enlisted, and involve your designer in the process from the very beginning.


Designers also understand materials, costs, and feasibility, leading us to our next caveat…

The content you find may or may not be real…or attainable to you.

Estera Events | Kent Drake Photography for HMR | Frost Chicago

Venues, budgets, and other logistical and practical matters present their own challenges and restrictions to the design process. An idea that you’ve fallen in love with might prevent you from being thrilled with what is possible for you in your chosen space.

And there is no shortage of amazing content. Senior Event Designer John Hensel notes how overindulging in inspiration-hunting can be addictive: “Not knowing when to stop can unnecessarily convolute the design process,” he says. Constantly finding things you love is sure to confuse not only you, but also the end result.

And there are great costs associated with changing your mind, notes Rishi. As with designing a house, you run the risk of allotting too much of your budget to only one element.

Lovers of vibrant color and open to excellent contrasts, this couple trusted
Rishi, together with Estera Events and Frost Chicago, to artfully integrate
the industrial beauty of Morgan MFG at every turn, putting fresh spins
on traditional wedding stations like placecard and sweets tables.

(Kent Drake Photography for HMR | Morgan MFG.)
wedding-furniture-and-decor-by-hmr-designs placecard-table-decor-hmr-designs



The take-away? Event designers, much like architects, are there to remind you to consider the whole picture.


Speaking of the big picture, we reach our final caveat…

Combing through pre-existing content can prevent you from having something truly unique.

Birch Design Studio | David Wittig Photography | Frost Chicago

“Locking yourself into an idea you find can be momentarily satisfying,” says John, “but may cause you to miss out on the luxury of having a seasoned design professional make your day as unique as it can be.” Trending content, notes John, is often the opposite of unique content. Nothing makes us happier than when a client receives a final product that they never considered, or never thought possible,” says Rishi.


For this outdoor tented wedding overlooking Lake Geneva, transitioning guests from one location to the next provided ample opportunities for originality.

John worked closely with Birch Design Studio and Frost Chicago to make sure everything was designed to make the guests feel right at home.
A highlight? This custom-built place card pavilion.

(David Wittig Photography)




The take-away? The possibilities are long as you are open to the possibilities.


So, how then, DO I begin this process, you ask?

By all means, use the tools that available to us all. They are great tools; if we didn’t think so, we wouldn’t use them every day to both share and find inspiration. Just don’t forget that they are only one part of the process. And that you don’t have to enter that process knowing what your ceiling focal will look like; you don’t even have to know what a focal is.


You just have to know who you are.
And that the most beautiful, original things are created when great minds get together and imagine them.

Embracing originality at every turn with Paulette Wolf Events & Frost Chicago. Photo by Fandl Photography for HMR.


Thank you to all of our wonderful creative partners featured in this post for inspiring us every day, and to all of the photographers who shoot our work so well: your work is worth much more than a thousand words to us.

Finally, thanks to Rishi and John for sharing their insight, and of course for their continued creativity.