Choosing Your Wedding Colors Is the Gateway Drug to Insanity


Weddings, at this point, are a weird saggy layer cake of traditions and cultural expectations. Some of them are charming and nostalgic, some of them are grossly antiquated and some of them are just plain dumb. But probably the strangest part of the whole planning experience is something relatively new: the fanatical insistence that you must pick wedding colors—two at the least, three at the most.

Hurry! Do it right now, before it’s too late. Take this color wheel. You must choose.

There is no reason for this to be such a big deal. And yet, it’s one of the first things people ask upon learning that you’re engaged. It’s treated as a Very Serious Matter, something your vendors really must know. Your colors will “set the tone” for the whole affair. Why, if you pick poorly, the entire event could right run off the rails. God forbid you should select shades that are tacky, clashing or (horror of horrors) passé.

“Color: it’s the unifying feature for most of your wedding details. So it’s no surprise that choosing the right wedding color theme for your celebration may seem overwhelming,” gushes the Knot. Here are some instructions from WikiHow, which outlines nine steps to picking your wedding colors. Nine! You must consider the setting. You must consider the season.

Personally, I blame Steel Magnolias. Enormous affairs have always required a certain amount of color coordination. But Shelby’s dreamy pronouncement that her colors were “blush and bashful” slammed into the enthusiasm from Princess Di and suddenly it was no longer acceptable to just pick some flowers and bridesmaid dresses and call it a day.

Settling on a couple of universally recognized colors can make it easier to coordinate the flowers with the bridesmaids’ dresses, sure. But there are so, so many pitfalls.

If you go overboard it can look like, as one engaged friend puts it, “two very specific colors threw up on a venue.” There’s a damn good chance that your currently stylish choice won’t age very well. And the most cost-effective course of action with your florist, for instance, is to ask for seasonal flowers, rather than insisting on a particular color scheme.

The obsession with wedding colors isn’t merely silly, though. It’s a pernicious idea that can suck even the chillest of brides into the tulle-and-tiaras whirlwind. It starts out so innocently: You pick up a magazine, excited and ready to brainstorm about the “vibe” of your ceremony, whether big or small. Then boom, you’re dumped into a series of pages that construct entire themes around a couple of colors.

It’s built up to be so much more than mere colors. It becomes a choice between art deco in shades of green and gold or English countryside in shades of rose and cabbage green or grand romance in contrasting purples.

Suddenly, it’s a matter of deciding what kind of person you want to be. This isn’t about the tone of your wedding anymore—it’s about the tone of your marriage and your entire life, for that matter. From there it’s just a short skip down the primrose path to all sorts of bridal atrocities. No detail is too small! It’s perfectly fine to scream at the caterer for bringing the wrong china!

Forget it. Not doing it. No way, no how.

(OK FINE my colors are coral and peach.)

Image via Shutterstock

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