More often than not, I'll meet with a bride or couple for their initial consultation, and we'll both find out very quickly that while they do have a vision, they are shocked to learn how hard it is for them to express it to me. For this reason, in my information packets and introductory emails, I always encourage couples to bring as much information as possible- clippings, swatches, ribbon, or pictures. I even encourage couples to bring items such as magazine clippings of themes or looks they don't like. All of these ideas make the initial consultation much more valuable and meaningful- you, as the potential client can get a better perspective as to whether the wedding planner (or any other vendor, for that matter)really gets your idea or vision, and the wedding planner can better quote their services and/or stear you towards the services you really need.
Just recently, however, a bride brought something slightly different to her initial consultation- instead of the usual bridal magazine, or clipping of a bridal bouquet, she brought along a Pottery Barn catalog. She opened the catalog to a page spread of springy yellow shades, calming, subdued patterns, with touches of spring green. She told me she was drawn to this particular look. I instantly understood her vision.
I thought this was a great idea, because your inspiration should come from a variety of sources. If you rely on wedding magazines alone, the originality factor is lost. Fashion is derived from many places- history (fashion comes full circle!), nature, cultures.
So the next time you meet with any vendor, think outside of the box in regards to expressing your vision. Bring catalogs- even if it's just for a certain pattern you like (tells your vendor whether you're leaning towards a modern feel, a classic romantic feel, or even fun and whimsical), or a combination of colors. Take pictures of window displays- afterall, visual merchandising is it's own form of art! Tell your vendors what you like about it- do you like how everything is clean-lined and perfectly spaced? Do you like how the display is classic, but with a slighty urban feel to it? Or perhaps you like some of the items included in the display- suspended spheres, fabrics, or the way the flowers are arranged. You'd be surprised how using ideas like these will not only make your life easier when describing how you want your wedding or event to look like, but you may also find your creative inner-self flourishing!