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Wedding Style: Wedding Color Q&A

Answers to your most pressing wedding color combo questions.

Photo: Anne Constance Photography

Without a doubt, color will set the tone of your wedding, whether it's a bright and bold summer soiree or a romantic winter wedding. So what color palette will you choose? With such a big style decision, making this choice can be harder than you might think. Luckily, we can help -- here are the answers to your biggest color-picking questions.

Q. We love our black and white color palette and want to extend it to our cake. Are there any other colors we should or shouldn't use?

A: Lighter shades of pink, silver, and baby blue look gorgeous in fondant. The effect is classy and understated. Include a single, brightly colored bloom on an all-white cake for a pop of color. When choosing darker shades, such as black or red, be sure to use them sparingly as accents. This can be done by adding a series of black dots or red sugar flowers to white icing. Remember: The goal of any wedding cake is not only to look beautiful, but be tasty too.

Q. My colors are brown and sage. I don't think that brown bridesmaid dresses will clash with black tuxes, but everyone else says it will look bad. Is it okay to mix black and brown?

A: Despite the ongoing battle over black and brown combos, there's nothing wrong with having brown bridesmaid dresses and black tuxes. The combo can actually look elegant and sophisticated. Put the guys in black tuxes with sage ties and vests; then coordinate the bridesmaids in brown dresses with a sage sash. Or add metallic accents: Pair black tuxes with gold or champagne-colored vests and ties. The bridesmaids can wear gold shoes and accessories. The key is tying the looks together.

Q. I'm planning a summer wedding and am at a loss for a color combo. I'm leaning toward brighter colors instead of pastels. Do you have any ideas for June?

A: Summer is a great time to get married because almost any color palette will work. Rather than pastels, have a little fun with an uber-bright combination. Mixing teal with bright pink will definitely pop. You can tone it down for the ceremony by putting the bridesmaids in light pink dresses with fuchsia bouquets hand-tied with teal ribbon. At the reception, go all out with teal linens and use vibrant hues for your cake design. A yellow and orange palette is another bold choice. The key here is to go with a brighter yellow and a deeper orange to avoid a carnival-like look. Try flame-colored calla lilies for bouquets and boutonnieres and neutral tablecloths with burnt orange runners.

Q. I love bright coral colors and brown mixed together, but I'm getting married in the spring. Is brown too dark for the season?

A: Absolutely not! The great thing about choosing a color palette is that you can vary the shades. For a spring wedding, stick with a less intense brown -- think golden versus chocolate and keep the darker color to a minimum. The coral accents will also help brighten up everything. Mix lush white blooms with cool corals and chocolate cosmos for depth. Dress your maids in coral dresses with a brown sash. Opt for neutral linens with a coral runner and use branch-y centerpieces and lots of candlelight.

Q. I want a winter wedding, but I hate the color red. Everyone seems to think that if I don't use some kind of red, my color palette will be boring. What other colors will work?

A: A lot of couples automatically feel that they're stuck with some combination of white, red, and black just because they're getting married in the winter months near the holiday season. Don't let yourself get pushed into a palette that doesn't suit you; there are lots of other choices. A great combination is white, silver, and ice blue with crystal accents. These subtle yet effective colors fit perfectly with the season and allow you to create lots of texture. Try ice blue and white tablecloths with silver chargers. Centerpieces of fresh birch branches or curly willows look stunning with hanging tea lights. Have fun with your cake by requesting tinted ice blue fondant or sparkle-dusted white fondant decorated with an edible snowflake motif.

Q. Our church features gold, burgundy, and other rich colors, but our reception venue is pink, green, and white. What colors can I use that would look good in both?

A: Your bridal party attire can tie your two venues together. Dress them in a color that will complement both sites; in this case, consider a lighter shade of gold. Choose classic black tuxes with gold ties for the men and lighter gold dresses for the women. Complete the look with white bouquets and boutonnieres (neutral tones match anything, so don't shy away from them). When decorating the reception venue, highlight pink and green shades in your linens, menu cards, and centerpieces. Or stick with a white and gold palette, which goes with everything and looks elegant regardless of the setting.

Q. Is there any way to use navy and light pink without looking like a New England yacht club? We want the vibe to be stylish and fun without being too stuffy.

A: Choose a deep navy and incorporate it into the bridesmaid dresses and tablecloths. Include pink by way of ribbon detailing for the invitations, cake, and favors. For the flowers, opt for pastel pink blooms and bright white hydrangeas or calla lilies. For the guys, skip the khaki pants and blue blazers, which scream yacht club, and instead consider navy suits with white dress shirts and blue-striped ties.

Q. I'm really interested in using a light gray color for my wedding. I'm concerned about choosing the right flowers to keep it from looking boring. Any suggestions?

A: Gray is one of the hottest hues in weddings right now, not to mention it blends well with a number of different colors -- pale pink, aqua blue, and butter yellow. While the safe choice for flowers is a combination of white blooms, such as hydrangeas, roses, or calla lilies, take a risk with brighter accent colors. You could also team cool gray bridesmaid dresses with a vibrant bouquet of yellow garden roses. Ask the guys to wear white-, yellow-, and gray-striped ties with a yellow rose on their lapel. At the reception, top tables with creamy yellow rose centerpieces accented with dusty miller for a soft touch of gray.

-- Tia Albright

Anne Constance Photography

See More: Wedding Colors , Wedding Style