Colour palettes and weddings go together like cheese and pickles, gin and tonic, celery and peanut butter (don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it).
The history bit…
Although wearing white to a wedding dates back more than 2000 years to when Roman brides wore white tunics to signify a woman’s virginity (insert eye roll here) it wasn’t favoured until 1840 when Queen Victoria wed Prince Albert. Before then brides often wore red, while white dresses were reserved for women being presented at court.
Along with red, before the nineteenth century bridal dresses came in a flurry of colours and patterns, with some wearing stripes, plaids, checks or paisleys. These dresses would be made with the intention of wearing again and again as a lady’s “best dress”.
Bring back these days I say!
Queen Victoria, however, was a trendsetter (quite the bad ass babe) and decided to do things her way. She broke tradition and got hitched in a cream dress made from silk satin woven in Spitalfields with a gathering of Honiton, Devon, lace at the neck and on the sleeves. Back in her day white was a symbol of wealth and purity and wearing it on her big day ensured she would stand out from the crowd.
Shunning a tiara she wore a simple flower crownmade from orange blossoms and myrtle. Orange blossoms also adorned her dress and were seen as a symbol of fertility. Royal brides still incorporate these delicate flowers into their wedding day and has been a tradition for many generations.
It took a while for the white wedding dress to become produced for the masses. Until the second world war ended most women wore their best dress on their wedding day. As prosperity grew and clothing became cheaper to produce, the single use white wedding dress became a huge part of getting married. Hollywood weddings could be seen on film for the first time and became something to aspire to cementing the idea that a white dress was definitely needed.
Queen Victoria in her wedding dress
by Winterhalter, 1842
Fast forward to the present…
White, cream and ivory outfits can be stunning and if that’s your vibe then go for it, however in the essence of ‘your day, your way’ and breaking traditions who says you have to wear white? That’s right… no-one!
In 2012 Vera Wang created a collection of red wedding gowns. She described them as
"Beautiful dream. The symbolism of Red. Boldly romantic, charming, protective, grand, seductive, sexy. From dahlia to scarlet, crimson and vermillion. A celebration of love.” Paying homage to her Chinese heritage, the colour red is worn by brides in China to reflect love and romance and joy.
Spanish brides traditionally wear black gowns and lacy mantillas, a veil made of intricate lace
Black is to represent the devotion of brides to their partner "until death do us part.
Red has an array of positive connotations in Indian culture. It is considered auspicious and is the most prominent colour at Indian weddings, usually with gold accents.
As a guest do not wear black, white or red. White is associated with funerals, black is considered unlucky and red is the colour the bride wears
In conclusion to the above historically red does seem to be the colour that connects a lot of wedding culture together. Representing energy, passion, strength, courage, creativity and security it is not surprising that it has such a tie to concept of marriage.
The colours you choose for your dress, flowers, stationery and everything else should reflect your personalities, fill you with excitement and make the wedding planning process a little easier.
Your suppliers are there to offer advice and guide you along the way. My top tip is take inspiration from your flowers. Book a consultation with your chosen florist as soon as you can, find out what is in season (super important from an environmental point of view) and base you colour palette around this. As a stationer flowers and foliage are a huge inspiration so I love to take my colours from plants and blooms.
If you’re still finding the planning process overwhelming I suggest painting a room in your house blue as it promotes inspiration and inner peace!
Click below for some colour palette inspiration.