Does your dress match your napkins match your bridesmaid’s knickers?

No? Good. Because you’re about to read an article which flies in the face of everything you’ve ever been told about your wedding colours having to match. They don’t. In fact, the more variation you have in the colours of your wedding styling, the better!

rainbow colour wedding

Holly and Paul’s rainbow of colour wedding style – I love this! Image credit Tracy Morter Photography (click to see the full wedding)

Back when I started out in the wedding business – and that makes me sound reeeally old, but it was less than 10 years ago – everything had to match. If a wedding was purple, it had to be Cadbury. Or royal. Or lavender. You’d never dream of using two slightly different purples – or at least, you’d never see such a travesty in the wedding magazines.

We used to joke on a wedding forum about the best man’s socks matching the bridesmaid’s knickers… and while I’ve never known of a wedding going quite that far, colour matching was a real worry for some brides.

I’m so very glad we don’t worry about colours as much as we used to – but I’ve seen a couple of weddings on US blogs recently where the colours have been so perfect it makes me a little uneasy. I suspect even the bridesmaids’ pants were meticulously planned…

Some of the loveliest weddings I saw in 2014 were designed to be colourful: palettes included rainbows, watercolours or candy colours. This gives so much scope: by using a spectrum of colour you’re creating an overall effect rather than trying to make every tiny detail match. It’s inspired!

colourful wedding

Creative wedding colours don’t need to match! This is Huw & Sam’s homespun wedding, with images by Sophie Duckworth Photography (click for the full wedding)

Another trend was ombre – basically choosing one colour (e.g. pink, purple, blue) and incorporating every shade of that colour in wedding styling. Ombre cakes were king of Pinterest for a while; ombre flowers and stationery were a little trickier but the basic concept of graduating colours meant more freedom and a marvellous escape from matchiness.

candy coloured bridesmaids bouquets

Candy coloured wedding bouquets for bride and bridesmaids – image by Lumiere Photography – click the image for the full wedding

And then – my favourite – watercolour. This trend was led by stationery: invitation designers used luxury watercolour papers and watercolour washes in candy and pastel colours to create a DIY painted effect. The soft shades gave rise to wedding styles based around oceans or sunsets, with stationery taking centre stage. Oceans and sunsets are forgiving: the sea is never a single shade of blue; the sky changes colour by the second as the sun sets – and weddings could be all sorts of blues and pinks and coral colours – the theme took precedence over colour.

Similarly, vintage styling meant the focus was on elements other than colour. It’s nigh on impossible to find 80 sets of matching vintage china… so mismatching pieces were every bride’s ideal style. Bridesmaids followed, wearing mismatched dresses and accessories… and we all relaxed a little more.

I like to think wedding blogs have played a part in steering wedding design away from stressy colour-matching. We’re all about individuality and freedom to choose and to be unique. Think about everyday fashion: would you wear head-to-toe azure blue or fuchsia pink? Any single shade? No, me neither – complementary colours are just more fun, aren’t they?

The moral of the story? Be playful with your wedding colours. Don’t limit yourselves. Think creatively, and match styles or ideas instead of searching for an exact colour match. Take 2014’s trends further: choose a varied colour palette rather than shades of one colour, maybe.

mismatched wedding flowers

Mismatched wedding flowers – image credit Jon Cripwell Photography (click to see the full wedding)

It doesn’t matter if your dress doesn’t match your napkins or your bridesmaid’s knickers. Who cares if the best man’s buttonhole clashes with your nan’s hat? Colours are there to be played with and enjoyed. Be creative, and have fun!

claire gould calligrapher signatureImage credits: Tracy Morter | Sophie Duckworth | Lumiere Photography | Jon Cripwell

Claire Gould

Claire spends her days writing - either in beautiful calligraphy or online. She lives on the edge of the English Lake District only minutes away from the beach, where she loves to escape and unwind. Claire's calligraphy can be found at Claire launched the English Wedding Blog in November 2009 - it's been a top 10 UK wedding blog ever since, with a regional focus we hope you LOVE.



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