What’s Old is New: The All-White Wedding

Over the last few years, brides have waded knee-deep into C-O-L-O-R. And not just your mother’s pastels, either — we’re talking modern, kicky, in-your-face combos practically bordering on neon (orange or teal, hot pink or chartreuse, anyone?)

But now that we’re here, something novel is happening. To wit, brides are reclaiming white. It’s almost like this: now we know we can push the boundaries with impunity, it’s suddenly attractive to pull back.

The phenomenon started with a big rise in all-white bridal bouquets, and a resurgence in what used to be sniffed at as “plain white wedding cake.”

But now we’re seeing more and more weddings flanked by white from start to finish, bringing to mind new beginnings, crisp flapping sails on a lake and fresh starched laundry in the breeze.

The Knot

The Tao of White

How do we love white? Let us count the ways! On a summer afternoon, against the deep greens of park grounds, and framed by a deep blue sky.

White also lets you pile on textures and layers. What might look fussy or overdone with too many hues looks elegant, even architectural, in whites and ivories. So go ahead, lay on the details: fabrics, piping, scrolls and overlays.

Best of all? When you pore over your wedding album years later, you’ll never think, “yeah, that was 2012.” You’ll see a timeless-looking celebration, not a period style.

More: Finding Your White: The Wedding GownDressed in White: The Wedding Cake 

Style Me Pretty


White-on-White Playbook

Indoor evening events call for their own special treatments, benefiting from a monochromatic rainbow of ivory, cream, latte and the palest hints of blue, pink or peach.

But blinding white reigns supreme on a bright summer day. Picture this: an outdoor setting that beckons with airy tents and grassy carpets. Bright white brings an elegant center to even to the most freeflowing of outdoor events … even a clambake!


Wedding Wear: Keeping it Light

The bride and groom will be resplendent in formal wear (black tuxes with white vests and ties are great for the groom, or white linen suits in summer), but what about the girls?

For that lighter-than-air effect, try dressing your ‘maids in off-whites, pale pastels or even white. Distinguish their gowns with a simpler design, a different silhouette (for example, try a two-piece tea length dress with a fuller skirt), a contrasting sash or a distinctive fabric, like dupioni silk.

More: Finding Your White: The Wedding GownDressed in White: The Wedding Cake 


Beguiling Blooms

Classic florals for the all-white bouquet? Avalanche or Bianca roses, classic callas, flirty peonies and stephanotis. Lilies of the Valley are timeless, while hydrangeas bring a touch of old-world charm. Tulips look modern, with their screaming bright whites.

Other great choices: white orchids or gerber daisies, dahlias or spider mums, lisianthus or Casablanca lilies.

Mix textures and types for a contemporary look, or hark back to the past: wrap a nosegay of roses in a shiny satin ribbon wrap studded with pearl pins. For the tables, full-sized calla lilies tucked in trumpet vases look absolutely elegant.


A Few More Ways to Set the Stage

  • Drape the grounds’ most decorative shrubs and topiaries in white tulle or organza.
  • Use floating lengths of organza to fashion pew markers and arch decor.
  • Scatter heaps of white rose petals down a grassy aisle, with a few tinted petals thrown in for depth (such as pink or chartreuse).
  • Scatter white parasols on the lawn for a festive look, or hand to your bridesmaids.
  • Group votives at the base of your centerpieces, to bring flicker and life to tables inside a tent.