Sunday, 8 April 2012

5 tips for choosing a wedding colour palette

Not exactly suprising, but here is another weddingy post :-) 5 tips for choosing a wedding colour palette;
  • Choose an object/image for inspiration rather than a set of matching colours. I.e. instead of choosing yellow and grey because they go well together (which they do) get inspired by a favourite yellow and grey rug, vase or postcard. Why? Because I'm not a designer and because these objects have in theory all been designed by designers or artists who have carefully thought not only about the contrast between these colours but also about in which proportions to use them, what tones, what accent colours complement the main duo, and what patterns work well with them (e.g.polka dots, art nouveau swooping arcs etc). The idea for using an object for inspiration is a pretty standard one I'd imagine but I cottoned on to it after reading an interior design book from my beloved Apartment Therapy. More on AT another day, but that site literally saved me from insanity during a period of convalesence a few years back. See yellow and grey wedding colour palette from Kate Miller Events.

  • Get inspiration from your surroundings. A sleek city wedding might use a black and pale pink palette, a sea-side wedding might go for turquoise and sea-glass green. I think the key to making these work is not to overuse the theme - i.e. not using shell motifs on absultely everything with a beach wedding. Don't just get isnpired in terms of colour but also shapes, e.g. the skyline of your city. See city colour and invite inspiration below via Martha Stewart Weddings.

  • Think about your own colouring and personality. If any of you have every read anything about Colour Me Beautiful you'll know what I mean! As 80's and throwback as this whole CMB concept might seem, their colour recommendations are quite often pretty spot on. 'Winter' people like me with dark hair and a cool skin tone tend to look good in bold reds, navy blues, ice-grays and whites. And perhaps that's why the whole pastel palette I was originally looking at didn't feel right. I don't think we need to go all colour-police here but after having looked at hundreds of wedding photos online I would go so far as to say that blondes do seem to shine alongside pale pinks, blues and mint greens - and redheads do look stunning with green or red accessories. Basically, I think if you wouldn't wear the colour because it doesn't suit you, don't include it as one of your main palette colours.

  • Think about the season. Red, which is one of my colours, is often a favourite for winter weddings (though personally, I'd be concerned about it looking too Santa!) - in order to make red more suitable for summer it helps to combine it with other colours such as orange or pink. Purple also works well in winter. Spring weddings work well with pastels and fresh colours like lemon and mint. Summer screams out for vibrant pinks. And autumn offers a whole load of gorgeous ombre tones - it's just a  question of whether or not you'd dare to use them - I wouldn't because ombre and rust tones happen to look awful on me!

  • Consider the venue. One of the many reasons I didn't go with a pastel pallete in the ends was our venue. We booked our casa rural via my inlaws without having seen it in person, and while it's a charming venue it doesn't quite have as many trees and flowers as I was hoping for. I was envisioning a country house much like those in the UK, overflowing with blossoms and greenery which would in themself provide the colour scheme - meaning I'd only need to add a few gentle pink touches here and there to merely complement what was already there. Turns out it's actually pretty short on blooms! Instead of throwing a bridezilla the 3rd hissy fit I decided to change the palette to stronger reds, figuring that we'd need bold colours in order to detract from any of the percieved shortcomings of the venue. In contrast a truly stunning venue may be able to get away with an all-white palette which doesn't detract from its beauty, with a winery venue you could draw inspiration from grape tones and with a farm wedding golden hay tones might work. See below for some stunning sea-side inspiration via love my dress - gorgeous. (Would have considered these colours if they suited me!)

Saturday, 7 April 2012

All things weddingy

I'm now well into the swing of planning our wedding this August and it has surprised me how much trouble I had choosing a colour scheme. My initial feelings were 'country wedding - country colours' - for me this would have been gentle pinks and peaches, glass jars of peonies, raffia placemats and a simple white flowing gown - a dress that was somewhere between grecian and boho. After much rooting around on sites like The Perfect Palette I decided on something along the lines of this gorgeous colour palette featured on love my dress:

Well, I was more or less content with this until I found THE DRESS. It's true what generations of brides have said before; 'you don't find the dress, the dress finds you'. Or at least that was my experience. It became clear on my first trip to a bridal shop (with a gaggle of my best friends for emotional support) that my plans for a modest country frock were not going to happen. What had never occurred to me is that the ladies who work in bridal shops have seen hundreds of brides-to-be walk though the doors and pretty much know what you'll look good in as soon as they clap eyes on you. You see, I'd never imagined myself in lace (prissy), strapless (need ample bosom) and mermaid cut (80's) but that's exactly what I've got - not through any evil plan of the lady at the wedding shop (Pronovias) to make me look yucky - but because it turns out that's exactly what happens to suit me (much to my surprise).

So, back to the colours. Turns out hollywood-diva-glamourpuss-dress would overshadow demure peonies and raffia baskets. Also, odd as this sounds I started to feel the pastels would suit a blonde much better than a brunette. Anyway, THE DRESS just screams out for bold colours, and as we wanted to give a wink to our multi-ethnic backgrounds (6 races between us!) but without having anything so obvious as Bollywood bling or Arabic geometrics - we decided on deep red, orange and a touch of fuscia along the lines of the photos below - both taken from lovely weddings featured on Martha Stewart.

Still, I wasn't quite happy with it. There seemed to be something missing to tie it all together - yes we had the colours but we didn't have a theme. It's not that having a theme is a must, just that a colour palette is just that - a set of coordinating colours that look good together but don't necessarily say much and run the risk of looking too matchy-matchy as you're tempted to get every single accessory, flower, napkin and invite  in those colours. So, the other morning I was reviewing (for the 100th time) the stuff I needed to buy before the big day and I came accross manton de manila on my list - one of those beautiful Spanish embroidered shawls that I'd always wanted to invest in and had planned to wear for the evening do. I'm after a white one with red and blue flowers, and it occurred to me that this would actually work really well as a colour palette. As it turns out we had decided to exchange rings in tiny Turkish Izmir ceramic bowls and I realised that these also tend to follow the red, white and blue palette. And with Turkey being a place both David and I had visited and loved it seemed to form the ideal basis for our colour scheme. Bless him, David is being very patient and showing admirable amounts of interest in all these girly dilemmas. So Izmir-meets-flamenco here we come! The whole Izmir thing also gave a gentle nod to our Eastern roots without going all-out ethnic. And not only does it include a strong red that matches up to my dress, it also includes blue which will be really nice to have as the venue (casa rural) looks out over the sea in Galicia and is a bit of a nod to my mum's coastal Bournemouth roots too :-) Everybody wins. The only thing we need to be careful of is the whole red, white and blue thing not looking too much like the French/British/US flag.

Over the past day or so I have been collecting bits of inspiration for this new set of colours and have actually bought the GAL lip balm favours for the ladies so there's no going back now!

(P.s. sorry for not including photo sources, but I had initially collected these for my own private inspiration and now that I've decided to post them I don't have the refereces. In any case if anyone has any rights issues give me a shout!)
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