Pretty in Pastels

Strapless ball gown with satin corset bodice, draped tulle overlay and full tulle skirt. Price $1,248.
Strapless ball gown with satin corset bodice, draped tulle overlay and full tulle skirt. Price $1,248.
(Photo courtesy of Vera Wang and David’s Bridal )

Spring has sprung, and as pretty azaleas, sweet peas and lilacs begin to emerge, so do weddings saturated in pinks, greens, yellows and purples. Whether it’s through fashion, florals or décor, when it comes to spring nuptials, pastel palettes are hard to resist.

“Nothing says ‘spring’ more than pastels,” said Darcy Miller, editorial director for Martha Stewart Weddings. However, she pointed out, keeping it sophisticated means finding the right mix of colors. “We love to look for unexpected color combinations,” she said, “like mint green and yellow, to inspire brides — whether it’s for their flowers, accessories or bridesmaid dresses.”

Floral and décor
“What would a [spring] wedding be without flowers?” asked Amy Marella, owner of Hidden Garden Floral Design in Los Angeles. Marella’s favorite month for fresh flora is April because of the abundance of blooms available. “Pastels can be sweet and delicate,” she said, “and some of my favorites are lilacs, green vibrant viburnum, sweet peas and ranunculus, which grow in every shade you can think of — from butter yellow and white to soft pink, hot pink and orange.”

But while wedding florals often contain the boldest expression of a bride’s color palette, this spring’s colors can go much further.


“Pastels aren’t just for linens and flowers anymore,” Miller said. Today’s new uses of wedding colors are all in the details, whether it’s through antique floral dinner napkins, a pale-blue vest on a server or a fresh, innovative seating chart presented atop a tray of green grass. Pastels can even be brought into the menu “by serving fun treats like snow cones in a range of soft hues,” Miller said. This spring, expect to see whimsical dessert tables filled with sorbet-colored French macarons, trays brimming with colorful cocktails and wedding cakes dusted with tiered-color combinations like quiet mint, soft pink, dove gray and muted gold.

Spring chic
Fashion is another great way to incorporate pastels into a wedding, and not just with the flower girl.
“As we shed winter’s layers and embrace a breezier aesthetic, candy colors brighten any celebration,” said Camille Styles, founder and editor of the lifestyle blog

In fact, the spring/summer 2012 catwalks were all about pastels, with high-end designers such as Valentino, Chanel and Vera Wang turning out bridal designs in shades of petal pink, pale yellow, dusty blue and mint green.


While a wedding gown in pale pink, lilac or yellow might not be for every bride, a splash of softly colorful detail against an ivory or white dress — such as a lilac shoe or a petal pink clutch — may be just the right touch. Bridesmaid and flower girl dresses are classic ways to bring in a bouquet of colors, but today even the groom and his attendants can partake in the fresh shades of spring with a pastel pink or green bow tie — or perhaps stylish argyle socks in mint and yellow.

“Spring is symbolic of renaissance — a rebirth from the dregs of winter [colors] like charcoal gray, espresso brown, even wintry white,” said Calder Clark of Calder Clark Designs in Charleston, S.C. “I always go to green — everything from celadon to Kelly — as an anchoring color, with a fashion-forward pop of something like coral, hibiscus pink, or a cool tone like periwinkle blue.”
Styles couldn’t agree more.

“Pastel hues are subtle, more of a whisper than a scream,” she said, “which means they can be layered with abandon without becoming overpowering.”

When designing a wedding, Styles loves to start with one decorative focal point that becomes the inspiration for every other detail. In the case of pastels, the starting point might be a dessert buffet overflowing with candy in shades of mint, lavender and bubblegum. These soft hues are then repeated in every detail from flower girl dresses to the bridal bouquet for a cohesive look that’s perfectly fresh for spring. “When it comes to pastels, more is definitely more,” she said.

This season, as you incorporate color into your wedding, remember that spring may be about fresh, pretty pastels, but it’s also about rebirth and new beginnings.  Incorporate them into your wedding as you begin your new life together.

Jennifer Evans Gardner
Brand Publishing Writer