Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Photoshop vs. Reality: Wedding Inspiration Mock Ups

A little over a year ago (yikes, I'm such an old bee now!) I wrote a blog post about how much I love to mock things up in Photoshop or Illustrator. I've never been very good at just imagining or hand sketching things, but I like having a clearly laid out vision before I bring a project to life. It really saves on the cost of materials for projects too, since there isn't as much need to experiment.

I also said in that old blog post that it would be fun to come back after my wedding to compare my early Photoshop mocked up inspirations with the final result. So let's take a look back at a few of the many, many mock ups I created early in my wedding planning stages!


I'd initially had another design for our invites, but it was too complicated and was more DIY time than we could handle. So I mocked up a scaled down version of our invitation suite.

And the final product. Other than some rounded corners, these came out pretty dang close to my mock up! Not only did doing a mock up really help me nail down exactly what elements I wanted to include, but it also gave me a great start on the content for the inserts that I printed.
Our Ceremony Set Up

We loved the ceremony site at our venue, the trees, the meadow, the bay view, it had a lot of natural beauty, that only needed a little decor. But when you're working with a big empty meadow, you've got to use some imagination. Or some Photoshop! Originally I had wanted us to build an arch that was bigger than the one provided by our venue, and had wanted an aisle runner, so my heels wouldn't sink into the grass.

However, after being lied to by the vendor who I was going to rent chargers and the aisle runner from, I decided on just using rose petals on the aisle. And Mr. Cola convinced me that it would be too much work to transport or assemble a DIY arch, so we ended up just decorating the arch the venue already had. The final result was beautiful though, even if not exactly like my original idea!

Card Box

This was an easy one....and probably it wasn't necessary to do a mock up of a card box. But I did it back when it was too early to actually start working on wedding things, very early in the planning stages, and it turned out almost exactly like my Photoshopped version.

Table Decor and Centerpieces

These mock ups ended up only becoming a partial reality. First, as I'd already mentioned, a vendor lied to us about having purple charger plates available, so we didn't end up getting to use them as I'd planned to add color to our tables.
I was really frustrated at the time, but ended up really happy with the end result. Instead of chargers, I went about $150 over budget and rented overlays for the tables. They still gave me the pops of color I was looking for, without the headache of trying to DIY my own chargers.

As for the centerpieces, I'd say we did pretty good with sticking to my inspiration mock ups. We ended up using some different flowers, but that was expected, since we were at the mercy of whatever was available at the flower market.

The tall centerpieces:

Short centerpieces:

Cocktail table centerpieces:

Rehearsal Dinner Decor

This was one area of planning that I needed a lot of inspiration for. There were no pictures online that I could find of our rehearsal dinner venue actually set up for a dinner. So when we visited the location, I took pictures, which I later Photoshopped chairs, tables and decor onto. My sister was so amazed at how close everything turned out to my mock ups that she pulled up my original blog post on her phone during the rehearsal dinner to show the rest of our wedding party the mock ups for comparison!

The mock ups:

The reality:

The Inspiration Board

And finally, just for fun, and because I've seen a few other bees do it, how about a look at my first inspiration board, compared to what details really happened. I made this first inspiration board to use as my personal blog header, in August 2009 (you can click on these boards for a larger view if you like).

And here are the same details from our wedding (Sorry, when downsizing this board from over 800 MB, it muted the colors a little, but you get the idea!):
(Except the favor boxes, all photos in this board are by Shoot Me Now Photography, cropped by me)

Have you used any graphic design programs to help you solidify your vision for your wedding? And is anyone else as big of a fan of mock ups as I am? :)

(Unless otherwise noted, all photos in this post are personal photos, taken by myself or our guests, and all editing was done by me.)


  1. Wow! Everything came out right on target! I love the final comparision between the inspiration board and your actual wedding photos. I like the board with your actual photos better than the mock-up.

  2. This is such a great post! I love seeing inspiration versus reality. I daresay your reality is even better than your inspiration :) Hope that's not an insult to your mad photoshop skillz, which I am very jealous of!