Thursday, July 23, 2009

Burnt Orange and Brown (by special request)

One of my readers wrote me a note asking for help and advice with her upcoming wedding.

Here are the things I know about Danika and her fiance:

They're planning for a wedding in late December using burnt orange and brown for their colors.

They want plenty of unconventional mixed with some traditional elements. For example, they want ice cream instead of wedding cake. She doesn't consider herself a girly girl, but she has decided that her bridesmaids will have brown dresses and she's planning to have a hippy style vintage wedding gown. They want budget-friendly and down to earth.

Here is what I came up with for their wedding:

{click to enlarge}
To me, one of the trickiest elements is using a burnt orange and brown color palette in December. For a wedding in the dead of winter, it's nice to add warmth to a palette, but you don't want it to come across as a stereotypical autumn wedding. I was tempted to add a third color, but I wanted to keep this inspiration board true to what Danika had requested. By adding another color, it would be easier to distance these colors from an autumn palette. Fun color options could be pale or navy blue, light or bright green, cranberry, magenta, plum, or teal. I haven't done those exact combinations yet, but I do have a pumpkin and aubergine palette and an aqua, orange and brown palette that might help to give more ideas.

Danika wants plenty of candlelight, so a pretty and fragrant centerpiece idea may be tealight or votive candles nestled into small dishes full of coffee beans. In the picture near the top right, the jars are even wrapped with orange raffia bows. For winter, I think I would even use a luxurious velvet ribbon!

I was thinking that a fun way to keep the bridesmaids (and even the bride) warm for a light-hearted winter wedding would be cute cardigan sweaters. If the bridesmaids are wearing brown dresses, they could have burnt orange or off-white sweaters. For the bride, she could have her choice of off-white (whatever version of white that goes best with her dress), burnt orange or rich brown. The key would be to have nicely fitted sweaters that are feminine and not too thick or bulky.

Here are some of my favorite examples:

I love the lace detailing on this white Just Ginger lace trim cardigan from Nordstrom.

This Elbow Length Sleeve Pleated Cardigan by Banana Republic is a lighter orange, but the pleated detail and feminine style are lovely.

This Caslon Swing Cardigan from Nordstrom isn't the cardigan style I imagined, but I like this sweater. I've always liked swing style sweaters and jackets. If nothing else, the bride would at least have a cute sweater to wear in and out of the venue!

Don't let the picture of this Merino 4 Pocket Cardigan from JCrew fool you. It looks a little frumpy here, but it's actually a streamlined and flattering style.

I'm also a big fan of interesting wedding shoes. This couple is young and wanting to mix things up a bit, so I thought the chocolate brown Converse sneakers and some funky shoes for the bride were a nice touch. (The Converse and orange bridal shoes pictured were featured on one of my favorite blogs, Snippet and Ink.) The peeptoes pictured aren't ideal for a winter wedding, but I think these burnt orange Pia Stitched Flat by Pink Studio would be perfect for a hippy chic bride! Plus, they're less than $40!
For winter flower choices, my first thought was calla lilies. Actually, there are quite a few lily varieties that come in various shades of orange. I recently had a florist admit to me that Costco sold their flowers for cost (sometimes even cheaper than the wholesale florists), and I know they have assorted mini calla lilies for a reasonable price.

Serving ice cream at a winter wedding seems like it could be a challenge, so I thought I'd include some simple and tasty looking cupcakes as another nostalgic dessert option for people who are craving something cake-like. The chocolate cupcake with orange sprinkles is from Martha Stewart. The Swiss orange chocolate chip cupcake is from Alpineberry blog -- she even gives her recipe! If you really want to stay with a theme, you could even serve Swiss orange sherbet (orange sherbet with dark chocolate chips) by Dreyer's / Edy's.

Some warm ideas that also incorporate the color palette would be serving hot cocoa and spiced cider!

The rest of the details on today's inspiration board are from a variety of weddings on The Knot.

Ooo, and on one last note:

I LOVE argyle socks! (These are from the GAP.)


  1. Thank you so much, girl! You are super talented, and this has given me some really good ideas. My idea wheels had stopped rolling and this really got them started again. You were so on the right track with Chucks as well. The one part of my wedding wardrobe I have gotten is brown chuck taylors. :D
    I will so send pictures of our wedding so you can see how much you inspired. Again, THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!

  2. My wedding is on 5/10/14 and we are the using the same color palette how can I incorporate those colors during the spring, I am pulling out my hair, please help!

  3. The tie on the right hand corner, where can I find it??? Thank you.