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One of the sensitive choices that surround wedding preparations is selecting a colour scheme. The bride usually (but not always) wears white. But the rest of the bridal party will wear colours which most brides want to be coordinated. That leaves the spectrum of the rainbow in all its shadings from which to select! If you are the bride, should you choose colours because they are in fashion when you are planning the wedding? Should you consider the season instead? Spring colours? Autumn colours? Winter colours? Summer colours? Should you simply choose your favourite colour and leave it at that? However, what if your preferred colour doesn't suit the skin tones, eyes, and hair of other members of the wedding party. Suppose you choose green to go with your eyes and find out that this particular colour in a dress is your mother-in-law's pet peeve?

Even though it's the bride's option to select the colours she prefers, people do go to considerable expense in outfitting themselves. Because you know they'd like to be able to wear these outfits again, it's a thoughtful gesture to consult those who will take part in your ceremony as to their own colour preferences. From all of that feedback, you have to make a choice that you'll be happy with and that will suit most of the others. The compromises involved in getting married begin right here!
It's important to make your colour decisions early because they affect lots of other choices. The colour scheme you select will not only be reflected in the clothes of your bridal party but also in the table decorations, the choice of flowers, place cards, favours, and perhaps even the invitations.

Lindy Meshwork is a fashion consultant who has her office at Your Fashion Image, a company that has been in the matching-clothes-and-colours-to-you business for nearly twenty years. One of the things she specializes in is helping brides make colour selections for the bridal party. Sometimes the bride comes into Lindy's office with a colour scheme all picked out, but just as often, the bride asks for help in selecting colours. Usually, brides tend to choose their favourite colour. Lindy helps them understand that it may not suit everyone. "Choose a colour that crosses seasonal lines," she suggests, "so that the clothes Mothers (and perhaps grandmothers) of the Bride and Groom, the Maid of Honour, and the Bridesmaids purchase can be worn many times." Lindy advises choosing a colour they will all feel good in and that will suit their skin tones.

This is a tall order when you're dealing with a whole wedding party because each person belongs to a colour "season". Some people look better in autumn colours, the earth tones. Others wear summer colours best -- cool, soft pastels. Cool but deeper tones are for people who look well in winter colours (winter people also wear black well). According to Lindy, periwinkle blue is a colour to suit everyone.
One of the things brides can do to make everyone happy is to use different tones of the same colour. For example, taupe can have a whole range of tones that blend, making it possible to suit all skin colours. Summer people could wear a pinky taupe; autumn people might wear a taupe that is browner in tone; for winter people the brown tone of the taupe would be much deeper; and spring people would find themselves in taupe that boasts a touch of gold. Similarly green (the colour your mother-in-law hates, remember) can be toned in combinations that please everyone. For spring people, the green would be lime with a little yellow in it; summer people would wear kelly green or teal with blue in it, winter people would be happy in an emerald green , while autumn people would be gowned in forest green. The same principle can be applied to most colours.

For those who want their colour scheme to synchronize with high fashion, pastels are usually the choice for summer. The fall of 1998, however, will feature a lot of neutral beiges, golds, and browns. Several seasons ago black was in vogue, so a number of people who wanted to be "fashionable" dressed their bridesmaids in black (even if they weren't winter people). A wedding show in Toronto even featured a black formal wedding gown by a well-known designer. Nevertheless, "go for what suits you, not high fashion" seems to be good advice.

If you are a second time bride, you will probably opt to wear colour rather than the traditional white. Fall's neutral beiges may be a good choice in this case. In any case, a soft colour seems to be the one most brides getting married for the second time opt for.

One of the things to remember is that the groom should also be consulted about colours. Most likely he will want (or maybe you will want!) the best man and ushers to have coordinating ties and cummerbunds. At a wedding where the groom had a Scottish heritage, the male members of the wedding party all sported frilly white shirts complementing cummerbunds and ties in the Macdonald plaid. The groom wanted to wear his kilt, but the bride talked him out of it. Even in this era of women's equality, she was happier having him visibly wear the pants in the family!
When the colours for the clothes have been chosen, you're not finished yet. A whole new area of colour choice opens up. The next step is to select make-up which foundation? which lipstick and coordinating rouge? which eyeshadow? that matches not only the colours of the clothes selected for the wedding party but also the skin tones of all the women concerned. If the appropriate colours have been chosen in accordance with each person's "season", then choosing the makeup to match should be easy.

With personal colours selected, it's time to make sure the tables will be appropriately dressed in colour. If everyone in the bridal party is wearing pink and purple, you may want to choose a purple underskirt for the table and a pale pink overskirt. Then the napkins could be purple, or perhaps a shocking pink. Or you can reverse these colours. The floral decorations that grace the tables can be adorned with matching ribbons, and, naturally, you'll want to coordinate the colours of the flowers themselves. You might prefer to have everything in pristine white just so you don't have to make any choices!

Yes, the choices are endless, but don't let making them drive you crazy. The whole process can be simplified if you choose a colour scheme for the clothes first. One that suits everyone involved in the wedding. Everything follows from that the colours go with the flow! You can have lots of fun colouring your wedding. Who knows? Maybe there's a pot of gold at the end of the wedding rainbow.

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