Last But Not Least

By Kate Chynoweth

Everyone knows that planning a wedding can be a big challenge. What amazed me when I became engaged was that my friends and family would not let me forget it. Every conversation was peppered with practical questions. Had I chosen the colors? Would there be a theme?

My interrogators all received the same polite response-that it was too early to know. Privately, however, my fiance and I joked about leaving the color charts and under-the-sea themes to high school prom-planning committees. We didn’t need to follow those old-fashioned rules about organization; our event would come together organically. We’d create an elegant wedding in the same way we’d created our relationship, from the ground up, without any particular master plan.

Alas, it wasn’t long before I realized my mistake. Without a color palette, meetings with the florist became overlong sessions filled with torturous possibilities. Yes, I loved the idea of white French tulips, but shimmering pink garden roses possessed equal appeal. Lacking confidence, and without any guidelines to fall back on, I waffled violently as each new decision presented itself. Yet it wasn’t until I called about linen rentals that I finally lost it. "Why don’t you tell me what color to choose for the tablecloth overlays?" I remember yelling into the telephone. The woman on the other end of the line paused-and then cautiously asked me to describe my wedding colors.

To avoid losing my mind completely, I decided to take a break from planning. And not long afterward, I picked up a beautiful chocolate-brown ribbon with pale-blue polka dots in a boutique; my fiance loved the combination, too, and we decided it was ideal for our wedding. With two colors selected, everything proceeded more smoothly. The florist came up with gorgeous arrangements of blue hydrangeas in chocolate-bronze containers; the caterer proposed a three-tier chocolate wedding cake adorned with blue thistles and white roses. We overlaid the cream-colored menus and wedding programs on chocolate-brown paper stock and adorned the favors with that lucky blue-and-brown ribbon that had made life so much easier.

When faced with the trials of planning, I learned how the traditional tools I thought were unnecessary turned out to be exactly what I needed. So choose color guidelines right out of the starting gate. It’s no empty promise to say that it will make your planning just a little easier-and a smooth trip to the altar is what every bride deserves.

Kate Chynoweth is Food Editor for Pittsburgh magazine and creator of The Bachelorette Party Kit (available in bookstores and on, which comes with a sparkly tiara and girls’-night-out games. She also is author of the best-selling book The Bridesmaid Guide: Etiquette, Parties and Being Fabulous.

Categories: Weddings