Photo by Alisha & Brook Photography
It's time to throw out the rulebook when it comes to the look of your wedding, says Sasha Souza. "I don't think color has a season. I don't buy into that. It's always spring somewhere."
A Northern California wedding planner whose work has been showcased on Whose Wedding Is It Anyway? and other TV shows, Souza is scheduled to speak at this year's Artful Wedding event, sponsored by Richmond Bride magazine at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts on June 12.
The couples who hire Souza "come for colorful, fun events," often held at least partly outdoors in Northern and Southern California, as well as other locations. Sometimes that means creating a brand new space with draping, lights and false walls.
"My whole thing is, we work with tones. If a bride likes plum, she likes burgundy," Souza says. Similarly, if the bride prefers orange, the range may go from peach to burnt orange. Using shades from the same color family including dark-and-light contrasts brings sophistication to the wedding. After all, most of us are not looking to recreate Steel Magnolias' monochromatic explosion of pink.
To figure out what kind of palette she will be working with, Souza asks clients what colors they wear and use in their home décor — often the same shades are those they'll want to use in the wedding.
Pairing white with another color is classic yet conservative; most of Souza's couples are more adventurous. One couple, who were married in Los Angeles, used cream, copper and plum for their main colors, but their wedding cake — featuring fondant cut out in the shapes of birds and berries — was golden-hued.
"Very rarely are we doing white wedding cakes," Souza says, explaining that an unexpected color or design is much more of a spotlight grabber. The cake, she adds, "should not be in the corner under the exit sign."
Of course, we have to consider the Southern thing in Richmond, an adherence to tradition, if not by the bride and groom, then by their mothers, fathers, grandmothers, great-aunts — you get the picture. Souza had a client from Charlotte, N.C., who announced that she had an "aggressive" color palette; it turned out to be peacock blue and green, with dashes of orange. Not exactly the craziest mix Souza's seen, but in the Carolinas, expectations are different.
Souza suggests a few ways to compromise, keeping the bright or dramatic colors you love while maintaining a sense of decorum. Rich hues on tablecloths or other linens set off white flowers beautifully, and of course the wedding itself can be conservative in style and the reception more of a party scene.
As for color trends, Souza says they have their place (she's seen a lot of purple in the past year), but it's more important to embrace the colors you love without worrying about pictures looking dated several years in the future. After all, trends come back around. Nonetheless, I pushed her on chocolate brown, a color that has seemed omnipresent at weddings for the past several years. Souza suggests bronze as a replacement; it's earthy but with a little extra glamour. ■