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My Bridal Fashion Guide to Wedding Themes

As a wedding photographer, I notice that in some weddings there is no clear theme. Sometimes brides tend to choose each element independently; a dress they like, then a cake, flowers, bridesmaids dresses – but they forget to think about the way all the different elements come together. And sometimes, brides pick only one color in the same tone that they like – for example, purple. Then everything in the wedding is purple including bridesmaids dresses, flowers, ties, etc. It’s also important not to over-do one single color.  It is so important that all the elements and colors of the wedding complement each other  and coordinate well.  If all the elements come together, it makes the pictures more beautiful and even helps inspire your wedding photographer. :)

When you plan your wedding theme, you should take a few important things into consideration:

1. Colors

2. Type of wedding

3. Season of the wedding

4. Wedding Elements that complement each other

I decided to write this post to help all the brides out there with the process of planning their wedding theme, and to organize all the information for them to make the process easier.

1. Choose your wedding color:

After setting the date,  finding a reception venue, etc; the next thought on your mind might be your wedding colors or color palette.

Your colors are one of the more important aspects of how you plan your whole wedding day. The wedding colors that you decide on will inevitably play a big part in setting the mood of your wedding, and theme as well. One thing to consider when you are in the selection process for the colors is to remember that absolutely everything — from the invitations all the way to the bridesmaid dresses and the cake  – need to match accordingly with the wedding theme. From dresses to flowers, from linens to place cards, the colors you choose will set the tone for the entire event. From the minute a guest receives her save-the-date invite to the thank-you card sent after the wedding, your colors will set the mood for the entire wedding.

Your color scheme for the wedding has the power to set the vibe – so choose wisely. Focusing on the color theme early on is important to ensure that everything else obtained for the wedding is well coordinated and suited to the wedding as a whole.

Ask yourself the following questions. (Your answers should help you start to define your color palette.)

When is your wedding?

When choosing your wedding colors, it is important to think about what season your wedding will be in. This helps not only with picking the flowers that will be in season at the time of your wedding but also carries through the rest of your elements (bride’s dress, bridal party attire, decor, etc.)

  • Spring and summer affairs usually include pastels or brights.
  • Winter suggests deep purples, burgundies, grey-greens, and silvers.
  • Fall brings harvest tones – oranges, reds, and yellows.
  • The time of year you get married will help to determine what types of flowers will be in season and what colors you should use. Roses and orchids are available year-round. Calla lilies and tulips bloom during the winter and spring. Hydrangea are in season during the summer and fall. And the ever popular peonies only bless us with their beauty during the spring. If there is a must-have flower on your list, make sure to get married when that flower is in full bloom. (via http://www.celebritybrideguide.com/brian-worley-blog-flowers/)

Consider the setting

Look at the colors used in your venue’s carpeting, drapery and decorations. If the site has strong colors, you’ll need to select a color scheme that complements it.

  • When deciding on a wedding color palette, play up the prominent colors of your site or setting. For instance, if your wedding is a beach wedding, the natural choice is blue. If you’re getting married at a country club with navy and maroon oriental carpets, lime green and hot pink details won’t match the colors of the setting.

What kind of wedding will yours be and what will the mood be? 

A romantic affair? Formal? Casual? A bride that wants a quiet, intimate wedding may want a different type of atmosphere than one who will have a lively “party all night” wedding.

It is also proven that different colors evoke certain moods or feelings:

  • Black and white is usually a setting for a formal wedding.
  • Black represents power, sexuality, sadness, elegance or anger. It speaks of formality and sophistication.
  • Green relaxes people and symbolizes nature, health, renewal, jealousy and even fertility.
  • Yellow represents optimism, joy, hope and sunshine. Yellow makes everyone smile. It’s a happy spring, summer or fall color and can take on many different moods when paired with one or two alternate colors.
  • Blue is one of the most calming wedding colors.

(via http://www.bellabeachweddings.com/wedding-colors.html#ixzz1sT2fIjPY)

Scout it out

An easy way to find colors for your wedding is to look at pictures from past real weddings. You can also have a look at blogs like Style Me Pretty, Ruffled Blog, Once Wed, Junebug, and Green Wedding Shoes to get inspired. Pinterest Inspiration Boards have become a great tool for coordinating colors and finding ideas for your big day. You can make boards that are specific to a certain color, element, or season.

Find a wedding color palette that appeals to you

  • Which colors are you drawn to most? Is there one particular color or several? If there are several colors, are they compatible?
  • Pick wedding colors that will coordinate with the wedding dress, bridesmaid dresses and other wedding accessories.

Coordinating colors

Typically, you will want a maximum of three colors in your palette: one to dominate, a second to support, and a third as the accent. There are three ways to choose coordinating colors:

  • Complementary Colors are opposite each other on the color wheel, such as blue and orange, or red and green.
  • Analogous Colors lie next to each other on the wheel, such as green, lime green, blue-green.
  • Monochromatic Colors  have variations of the same tone, such as bright red, dark red, etc.

You can use different combinations of color to set the mood you wish to convey. For weddings it is typical to use a complementary color schemes, rather than a monochromatic scheme or clashing scheme. A complementary scheme is a color combination of any two colors opposite on the color wheel. Let your wedding transmit the exact message you want to convey to your guests with the colors you choose for it.

via Design-Seeds

via Pretty Little Inspirations

via Jessica Tierney Designs

via The Knot

via Southern Afternoon

via Glendalough Manor

For more color palette inspiration, check out Perfect Palettes on Pinterest and their inspiration boards.

Also take a look at my Pinterest Wedding Color & Inspiration Boards.

2. Think about the type of wedding (Romantic, rustic, industrial, vintage, beach wedding, etc. )

When you are choosing a venue for your wedding, you should take into consideration that the venue will affect the type of wedding you are going to have. The venue that you choose will have a big effect on the wedding theme. The venue reflects the type of wedding you are going to have.

For example, if it’s an indoor wedding in a glamorous venue, the theme can be more sophisticated, modern, formal, and glamorous. Then, all the elements can be used to further convey that feeling – through flowers, cake, lighting, bridesmaids dresses, the bride’s dress, etc. If it’s a backyard wedding, the venue will give a much more casual outdoor feeling – not formal.

-Romantic Wedding Inspiration

via Etiquette

via Snippet and Ink

Photo credits going clockwise: Caroline Tran, groom in bow tie by Jose Villa, Elizabeth Messina, Saja Wedding dress photo by Jose Villa. (via Green Wedding Shoes)

Top Row: Left: Natalie Shelton via Green Wedding Shoes Right: Jason and Anna Photography via Love and Lavender Second Row: Left: Jose Villa via Design*Sponge Right: Brian Thomas Clay via The Cake Blog, cake by Wendy McClendon Third Row: via Pottery Barn Bottom Row: Left: Unknown via Pinterest Right: Deidre Lynn via Love and Lavender (via Soundtrack to I Do)

From 100layercake.com

-Rustic Wedding Inspiration

via Postcards and Pretties

via Style Me Pretty

via Hey Gorg

-Industrial Wedding Inspiration

Photo by Shira Weinberger via nycweddingphotographyblog

Photo by Shira Weinberger via nycweddingphotographyblog

Photo by Shira Weinberger via nycweddingphotographyblog

-Modern/Glamorous Wedding Inspiration

Photo by Shira Weinberger via nycweddingphotographyblog

Photo by Shira Weinberger via nycweddingphotographyblog

Flower Design by Golf, Tantawan Bloom – Photo by Shira Weinberger via nycweddingphotographyblog

Photo by Shira Weinberger via nycweddingphotographyblog

Photo by Shira Weinberger via nycweddingphotographyblog

-Classic Wedding Inspiration

Photo by Shira Weinberger via nycweddingphotographyblog

Photo by Shira Weinberger via nycweddingphotographyblog

-Oriental Wedding Inspiration

Photos by Shira Weinberger via nycweddingphotographyblog

3. Season of the Wedding

When picking your wedding theme it is important to think about which season your wedding will be in.

Spring and summer affairs usually include pastels or brights. Winter suggests deep purples, burgundies, grey-greens, and silvers. Fall brings harvest tones – oranges, reds, and yellows.


Read more about colors by the season:

 http://www.gloss.co.nz/Love/Weddings/It’s-always-wedding-season.html

http://voices.yahoo.com/planning-wedding-around-season-14077.html

http://premierbride.com/planning/pb_plan_library_color.html

http://www.elegala.com/go/ideas_advice/for/wedding-flowers-ideas-for-every-season/

Winter Weddings:

Photos: Jenny Haas, via Green Wedding Shoes

{top row}: gown by aire barcelonachocolate by the frosted petticoatpinecone,
{middle row}: rustic bundle of sticks wrapped with twine,
{bottom row}: marshmallowsshoesmilk glassbridge by james christianson

Summer Weddings:

via Cross pollination Floral

Flower Design: Doro’s Annex, via Shira Weinberger

Wedding Flowers by Season

The time of year you get married will help to determine what types of flowers will be in season and what colors you should use. Roses and orchids are available year-round. Calla lilies and tulips bloom during the winter and spring. Hydrangea are in season during the summer and fall. And the ever popular peonies only bless us with their beauty during the spring. If there is a must have flower on your list, make sure to get married when that flower is in full bloom. (via http://www.celebritybrideguide.com/brian-worley-blog-flowers/)

Spring

A spring wedding is fresh and beautiful. However, unless you plan to marry in late spring, it is best to plan an indoor wedding. Fresh spring flowers, like crocuses, tulips, snowdrops, and pansies are lovely and colorful, and make great centerpieces. Dressing your bridesmaids in cheerful and bright colors mimics springs bursts of life. You can use a color run (dressing each attendant in a different color of the same style dress) to imitate the look of colorful flowers.

Summer

Many brides are beginning to choose wildflowers for their bouquets. Summer blooms of daisies, buttercups, and other pastel and light colored flowers make excellent choices for the bridal and attendant bouquets, as well as for décor. Colors inspired by summer’s easy-going attitude are pale, like pastel yellows and blues, reminding guests of blue water and sandy beaches. Sundresses make elegant and simple dresses that can be used by the bridesmaids – or even the bride.

Autumn

This season presents many beautiful possibilities. Adding colored leaves to a bouquet of roses is a unique and charming touch for a bridal bouquet. Have boutonnières and attendant corsages made from groupings of autumn leaves of red, yellow, gold, and even dark purple. Colors that make good décor for fall weddings are earth tones: rusts, golds, yellows, and light browns.

Winter

Dark, rich color is reminiscent of winter. Burgundy, deep blue and green, and even dark purple all add warmth to your reception. Choose a hall or church with wood accents to increase the warm feeling. Faux white fur on your dress, and faux fur trim for the bridesmaid dresses can add a wintry look to your wedding party. You can even indulge in a Christmas theme. But rather than put bridesmaids in bright green and red, instead clothe them in toned-down gold, or silver-gray. This is a more elegant Christmas motif.

(via http://voices.yahoo.com/planning-wedding-around-season-14077.html?cat=23)

For a seasonal guide to flowers, check out Which Flowers are in Season for a Wedding and When. The list is organized by color, so once you’ve selected your wedding season, you’ll be able to figure out which flowers to pick in the color you want.

For more, also take a look at Wedding Flowers by Season.

 

4. Wedding Elements Which Complement Each Other

When you think about the theme of the wedding, you have to ensure that all the elements of the wedding are well coordinated and suited to the wedding as a whole. There should be a theme of the wedding in which all the elements compliment each other.

Bouquet

A few tips:

  • Your wedding gown provides the background color for your bridal bouquet. Whatever color you choose, however, the color of your flowers must complement the color of the gown you’re wearing.

1. Photo: Sarah Gawler, via Ruffled 2. via Shira Weinberger 3. Photo: Picotte Weddings, via Style Me Pretty

  • A bridal bouquet should be part of the total picture and shouldn’t stand-alone. It should tie in with the color scheme of your bridesmaids dresses.

Photo: Samm Blake, via Style Me Pretty

  • Before meeting with potential florists, gather as much inspiration as possible – including styles you like as well as those you dislike. If possible, collect photos, color swatches of linens and bridesmaid dresses, invitations, etc. to bring to the meeting. This information will be a great starting point and will, hopefully, convey the theme and vision you have for the wedding day.
  • Get familiar with the different types of flowers — especially your favorites — and the colors they come in.
  • When you are choosing a bouquet, take into consideration the time of the year and the seasons. Different types of flowers match better for each season and also certain flowers only grow during specific times of the year.  Roses and orchids are available year-round. Calla lilies and tulips bloom during the winter and spring. Hydrangea are in season during the summer and fall. And the ever popular peonies only bless us with their beauty during the spring. If there is a must have flower on your list, make sure to get married when that flower is in full bloom. (via http://www.celebritybrideguide.com/brian-worley-blog-flowers/ )
  • Another factor in choosing the bouquet is thinking about the theme of the wedding and the other elements in the wedding. That means the flowers you choose should compliment the look of the bride’s dress, the bridal party dresses, fabrics and colors, and their flowers.

via To be Charmed

Here are some of my favorite bridal bouquets:

Photo: Jason and Anna Photography, via Style Me Pretty

1. Photo: Samm Blake, via Style Me Pretty 2. Photo: Simply Bloom, via Martha Stewart Weddings 3. via Robyn Thompson

1. via Bouquet Wedding Flower 2. via Bippityboppityboo Tumblr 3. via The Bride’s Cafe

1.Photo: Garrett Nudd, via Style Me Pretty  2. via ZsaZsa Bellagio 3. Photo: Heather Waraksa, via Style Me Pretty

1. Photo: Marianne Taylor via Style Me Pretty 2. Photo: Little White Dress, via Project Wedding 3. via Shira Weinberger

1. via Pinterest 2. via Martha Stewart Weddings 3. Photo: Erich McVey, via Style Me Pretty

1. via Pinterest  2. Photo: Adam Barnes Photography, via The Bride’s Cafe 3. via Pinterest

1. via Pinterest  2. via Mimosa Flowers 3. via Sugarplum Invitations

For more bouquet ideas, have a look at my Pinterest boards: Romantic Bridal Bouquet and White Wedding Bouquet.

Bridal Party

When choosing flowers, make sure that flowers have a complimentary color to the bridesmaid dresses and shoes.  This does not mean to match the flower color to the dress, but rather choose a different hue of the dress color, or choose an exact opposite color on the color wheel to allow for an eye popping contrast. (via examiner.com)

You can mix the type of dresses to give a different look, and make the style less cookie-cutter. This way you can match the dresses to the individual bridesmaids by the size and body shape to get an interesting combination.

 

via Style Me Pretty

via Botanical Brouhaha

Photo: Jose Villa, via Once Wed

1. via Pinterest 2. via Pinterest

via Shira Weinberger

via Shira Weinberger

Photo: Jill La Fleur, via Style Me Pretty

For more inspiration on Bridesmaids dresses, take a look at my Pinterest board, Bridesmaids Dresses, and My Bridal Fashion Guide to Bridesmaids Dresses.

Wedding Decor

  • When you are considering wedding decor, you need to think about all the other elements in the wedding. The decorations should complement the dress, colors, theme, season, mood, style, etc.
  • Look at the colors used in your venue’s carpeting, drapery and decorations. If the site has strong colors, you’ll need to select a color scheme that complements it.

 

 

 

Here is a sample of  romantic themed decor for a wedding:

via Designsponge

1. via Adam-and-E 2. via Pinterest 3. via The Perfect Palette

1. via Fleur Chicago 2. Photo: Andrea Murphy, via Style Me Pretty 3. via Pinterest

1. via Pinterest  2. Photo: KT Merry Photography, via Style Me Pretty 3. Photo: Sarah Maren, via Style Me Pretty

1. via Wunderschoen-gemacht 2. via insidetheloop 3. via The Uncrafter

For more wedding decor inspiration have a look at my Pinterest board, wedding decor.

Cake

Many couples don’t really put a lot of thought into the cake, and just let the catering company from the venue figure it out for them. I think the cake is also an important element of any wedding. The cake should compliment the feeling of the day, the colors and the theme.

Cakes for a romantic wedding theme:

1. via Wedluxe 2. Photo: Shira Weinberger, via Brides.com 3. via Shira Weinberger

1. Photo: Kristen Marie, via Style Me Pretty  2. via Wedding Chicks 3. Photo: KT Merry, via Style Me Pretty

1. Photo: Elizabeth Messina, via eleGala 2. via Cotton and Crumbs 3. Photo: Loretta Flower via Design Sponge

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