Get Inspired -- Choosing Your Colors and Theme

by Kathryn Schmidt, Los Angeles, CA

Every couple wants their wedding, no matter how big or small it is, to be a unique and memorable reflection of their style and tastes. They want guests to notice and remember the small touches and details. Often the hardest part of this process is choosing what those details will be.

Many factors influence the colors and theme of a wedding. Quite a few weddings don't have a theme at all, whereas others are full-blown butterfly or Cinderella bonanzas. Sometimes the color of a wedding is the theme. When you tell someone you're having a black and white wedding, it's fairly easy to get a picture of the mood and style you have in mind. Other themes are influenced by the time of year. A spring wedding might feature many light, floral touches and be characterized by a sense of freshness and color. A winter wedding may reflect the colors of the season--icy blues, deep greens and reds.

I had always assumed I would have a spring or summer wedding. I love vibrant colors and I looked forward to having striking bouquets of the new jewel tones: plum, hot pink, gold, cornflower blue. But then my fiancee proposed in December, and I found myself planning an October wedding instead. I had no idea where to start. The celadon dresses I'd had in mind for my bridesmaids would seem out of place at an evening wedding in the fall. I was stuck. The only other color I could think of was red, and my sister (my matron of honor) never wears red. Other bridesmaids made rumblings that they would prefer blue, which I couldn't envision at all.

And not just the attendants dresses were affected by this sudden change (my cake, my invitations, my own gown, my hairstyle and headpiece), I'd been imagining them all for my bright, colorful daytime wedding.

I was stuck and frustrated. Perhaps I should go with green after all. But then it would look like Christmas. Some friends jokingly asked if we were having a Halloween theme. My answer was an immediate NO. But with less than nine months to go, I was starting to worry.

And then one night we were looking at posters at an online store, and I saw IT! The picture that would become my inspiration for planning our wedding. It's a gorgeous painting with lots of deep reds, blacks, and golds, and suddenly I knew! I would have the bridesmaids in black. We would all carry red roses. On top of our cake would sit an old-fashioned bride and groom. Our invitations would be antique-looking ecru with a border of warmly colored roses.

And just like that, it all came together. Not that when people come to my wedding, they'll see what I see, but I hope they'll see that my wedding is very much my own personal style. After all, it's based on one of my favorite pieces of art.