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What to think about when choosing your wedding theme or colour scheme…

Oh So Perfect‘s head wedding planner, Samantha, lists the important things to think about when choosing your perfect theme or colour scheme for your wedding day…

One of the most exciting and enjoyable parts of planning your wedding is finding and selecting the perfect theme or colour scheme which represents you, your partner, and your special day together. But so often we see couples who have chosen a beautiful colour scheme only to match it to the wrong venue, or who have attempted to execute a theme which was unfortunately much bigger than they could ever have handled on their budget and ended up looking like a half hearted attempt to create something which appears almost unfinished.

In this competitive age of media weddings, bride’s often find themselves forced to endure a fair bit of ‘wedding envy’ due to programmes such as Four Weddings and Don’t Tell The Bride encouraging individuals to openly judge a couple’s dream theme, or in a world where OK and Hello magazine constantly thrust multi-million pound celebrity weddings with designer décor onto our coffee tables persuading us to feel utterly incapable of creating anything quite as fabulous/decadent/divine/ ridiculous (delete as appropriate) on less than £100k.

Your wedding’s theme and colour scheme is one of the most likely things your guests will continue to remember long after you’ve cut the cake and shared the first dance, and it’s perfectly understandable to want your wedding to look as beautiful and memorable as possible, regardless of how much you’re able to spend. You don’t have to wave goodbye to big bucks to create a colour scheme to die for, or take out a bank loan to create a theme to be enjoyed, but there are some very simple things to consider when selecting the elements of your perfect day to help ensure that your theme is easily executed to perfection…

Venue

Ahhh, the venue… Now this is the ‘biggy’ when it comes to complimenting your dream theme, and yet so often this is the one thing which couples fail to think about when choosing what they want most. Your venue is ultimately the backdrop for your wedding, and so it is incredibly important to bare it in mind when choosing your theme and colour scheme.

What sort of venue are you looking for…?

Are we talking about the grand, Victorian manor house set amongst acres of land and manicured rose gardens, filled to the brim with antique furnishings, family portraits and classical statues and fountains; or is this the trendy new city-centre based venue boasting a modern, vibrant cool setting, geometrically perfect lines and a state of the art lighting system; or quite possibly is the venue that ticks all the boxes as the perfect setting for your wedding actually a white sandy beach on an exclusive island in the Maldives, flanked with clear blue waters and exotic palm trees?

It really is quite simple – your dream ‘vintage affair’ is not going to look quite so accurately nostalgic in the city ice-house, and your super contemporary, everyone-must-wear-monochrome ceremony probably won’t be complimented too well by Lord Pompous of Wellypiddle staring down from his gleaming, gold plated frame. And I highly suspect that that the winter-themed wedding you always dreamed off won’t look quite right if the holly and ivy wreath is draped across a banana tree…

Select your venue based on your idea of a theme – consider a setting and décor which will best compliment the intended look of the day, whether it’s vintage, traditional, contemporary or otherwise.

What colours does your venue already feature…?

Another major aspect of the venue that couples often fail to consider when choosing their colour scheme is the existing colours in the room. If your wedding is taking place in a stately home or hotel, it is quite likely that the rooms you are using already have a carpet, wall paper and drapery or curtains around the windows, and in the case of many hotels these fabrics are often a very bold colour, or feature an elaborate pattern of sorts. This is something you are unlikely to be able to change, so in order to produce a colour scheme for your wedding which will have the greatest effect not only to look well thought-out and impressive to your guests’ eye, but to help make your wedding photos look even more incredible, consider the colours in your room and use them to contribute to and compliment your own décor.

I once assisted as an On The Day Coordinator for a wedding where the bride and groom had opted to theme their day with a gorgeous deep shade of turquoise – all the ribbons and chair covers, the bridesmaid’s dresses, the centre pieces, flowers and even the candles all shone with this decadent colour, but unfortunately the room was carpeted in bright crimson and yellow, and the (rather large) windows were flanked with heavy gold drapes which fell right to the floor. I met the room with a sigh (and secretly wished they had also booked me to be their stylist!) as I thought what a shame it was that they hadn’t complimented the existing colour scheme with a beautiful burnt Autumnal colour scheme, or else found another venue which would have better complimented the turquoise and blue in their photos and film…

Use the colours in your venue to your advantage to compliment and enhance your own wedding colour scheme, or if you’re fully decided on a particular colour find a venue that will match it well, or else hire a marquee to act as a blank canvas for your dream palette.

Invitations

Your wedding invite is the first clue your guests will receive…

Once you have decided on your colour scheme or theme, you will have a clear idea of what you want from your wedding stationery designer, and they will be able to expertly advise you as to how best to compliment your wedding’s style through the use of place cards, table settings, menu’s, the order of service and the seating plan. But it is important to work with your stationery designer closely to create the perfect invitation which will begin the process of unveiling your overall wedding theme.

The invitation to your wedding is the first ‘clue’ your guests will receive as to the theme or colour scheme, and often will leave guests feeling a certain sense of expectation as to what they will experience on your big day. Be clear about your colour scheme by featuring it on the invite – your guests (particularly family) may wish to compliment it with their choice of outfit, card or gift. If you have chosen to run with a specific theme, don’t be shy to include some clear hints in your design – it will lead your guests into an expectation of that theme on the day, and help to get them even more excited about attending something fun and unusual. If your guests receive a pretty pink invitation, decorated with ribbon, lace and pearls, they’re going to mighty surprised when they arrive at your ‘Vegas Casino’ themed reception…

Be clear with your stationery designer about the overall look you want to achieve on the big day so that they can help you implement your wedding theme or colour scheme starting with the words ‘You are invited…’

Date

This may seem another obvious choice, but again it’s the sort of thing that can easily be forgotten when planning a theme or colour scheme. It is important when choosing your theme to think about the time of year your wedding is taking place, the season, and even the month, as it will all help to enhance your wedding’s style.

What season will you be marrying in…?

It may strike you as obvious, but it is important to think about your seasons when planning your wedding. If you’re dreaming of a vintage garden party wedding with open marquees, bunting and games on the lawn, then you should probably reconsider booking your special day in Autumn or Winter. Similarly, if you want to enjoy the warmth and luxury of  one of the most spectacular, oak-clad rooms complete with roaring open fire and then your guests probably won’t appreciate your decision to host the wedding on one of the hottest, most glorious days of the year!

He loves me, he loves me not…

Whilst it is true that in today’s florist industry you are likely to be able to order any style of flower at any time of year, regardless of whether it is native to that particular month, you may wish to consider your theme’s floral arrangements during particular seasons. For example, your traditional Welsh daffodil inspired wedding won’t look quite so patriotic if you’re wedding is in September, and your splendid holly and mistletoe wreaths won’t be quite so splendid hanging from the church doors in May.

You may even wish to think about the month…

Even particular months come complete with connotations, especially those months outside of the traditional wedding season (May-September). If your wedding is booked to take place in February, your guests may be expecting a very red, romantic Valentine’s feel, or for weddings in November and December the expectation is that of Christmas charm. You can certainly use this to your advantage if it’s the look you wish to achieve, but if not perhaps re-think your date some more.

Different months and seasons come with connotations of the sort of colours and themes guests will expect to see at a wedding. Use this to your advantage by complimenting your colour scheme or theme with a date that supports your style.

The Dress

And I say The Dress with added emphasis on the ‘The’ because this is something which can be particularly important to the bride who spent her days as a little girl wondering around the house with a net curtain on her head (Yes, I mean me – but I was only actually allowed to do this when my mum was taking them down for a wash…!)

You’ve dreamt about the perfect dress for years…

If you’re the kind of bride who already knew before you first put on your engagement ring the exact style, colour, shape, material, (shop?!) you dream of for your wedding dress, then it’s important to consider this when selecting your theme. Unless you’re willing to consider something else to wear other than that specific dress you’ve always known you wanted, then you may have to match your theme to the dress.

If you’ve always wanted to wear something long and figure-hugging, perhaps with a long-sleeved bolero or even a furry stole, then it’s probably not a good idea to select a sea-side theme. Similarly, if the dress you’ve been staring at in that shop window has delicate red crystals embroidered into the bodice, then a purple colour scheme is unlikely to go down too well.

Or perhaps you haven’t chosen your dress yet, but the theme is already set and half-way towards being created, remember to consider this when trying on the possible dress which will become ‘the one.’ If you’re heart is set on the vintage theme – choose a vintage-inspired dress to compliment the style; if you’re going for an all-out contemporary vibe, find a dress which features an unusual cut or modern accessories. And the same for the gents – if you’re embracing the Victorian manor house, have your man wear a traditional top-hat and tails, or throw him into that powder blue two-piece to help bring the ‘Rock’n’Roll’ wedding to life.

Your bridal outfit is equally as important in styling your overall perfect theme as the colour on the chair covers, or the music played as you say ‘I do’

Run with it!

And my final piece of advice when considering your colour scheme and wedding theme is to simply run with it, like there’s no tomorrow, and like you’ll never have the chance to do any of it again (because, of course, fingers crossed you won’t!)

You only get one opportunity…

This is your wedding day and it’s about you and you – both of you – not anyone else. If you’ve got your heart set on the dream theme then don’t be afraid to be bold and go out and create it in it’s entirety. Colour schemes are beautiful and when applied correctly (using the tips above!) will always look fantastic, but to pull off a full wedding theme takes commitment and dedication. One of the worst things you will see at a wedding is a theme which has been thought about but not executed – sure the table names are named after your favourite books, sweets, romantic songs (for example), but if you aren’t brave enough to carry out the rest of the theme in its entirety (a wedding breakfast in an old library, a great big sweetie table full of candy and colour, stationery made to look like old records!) then you’re idea will be sadly wasted.

Don’t be afraid to do something wonderful. Anything is possible, even on a budget, you just need the imagination and creativity to be able to pull it of and give your guests a day to fully enjoy and remember. Tie together all elements of the theme from the table names, to the stationary, the cake to the entertainment, your décor and your outfits, and even the food and the favours. You won’t regret it, and nor will your guests.

Be brave with your choices, stick to what you want and don’t be afraid to follow your dreams. Anything is possible.

I hope my ideas and advice offer you some food for thought as to how to style your wedding to it’s full advantage. I’d love to hear what colour schemes and themes – good and bad! – you have seen at weddings you’ve attended  – leave your comments below…

With love, Samantha 

xxx

Need help planning your wedding day? Visit www.ohsoperfect.co.uk for our full list of wedding planning and coordination services and packages.

We’re giving away a Fortnum and Mason Champagne and Chocolates hamper to all couples booking selected services with us before 31st March 2012! To view this fabulous offer click here

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2 Comments

  1. Really good advice Samantha.
    One thing I would add in terms of colour schemes and stationery is that you can always keep your ‘save the date’ cards (if you are having them neutral) if you aren’t sure on colour scheme yet and then only include your colours from the invitations onwards – you don’t want to rush such a big decision just to get your save the dates out.
    Anna, http://www.cardiffinvitations.co.uk

    Reply

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