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Ombre Themed Wedding: Many Shades of Beautiful

Updated on December 24, 2015

Ombre...It's Not A Spanish Guy!

You're seeing it bridemaids' dresses, cakes, flowers, shoes, even on table linens...a beautiful and subtle tone on tone variation in a single color available in just about any color you can imagine. What is it and more importantly, if you've fallen in absolute love with it, how can you use it as a theme for your wedding décor?

The color fade you're seeing is called "ombre," actually a French word meaning shading and is defined in Webster's Dictionary as "shaded or graduated in tone." So ombre takes a single color, then washes it from light to intense making the layers subtly change as if one were using chalk and smearing the color until it can smear no more. It's even shown up in hair color and has been adapted by many celebrities as a way to soften the edge of dark roots and make the change from dark to light as if summer hair is gradually changing to winter darkness.

Ombre Hair Color


Ombre For Wedding Attire

As with many celebrity trends, ombre has meandered into wedding décor with stunning results. If you're a certain age, you may associate ombre with tie dye and the 1960s, but it's grown much more sophisticated than that. Ever the trendsetter, Gwen Stefani rocked a fuschia ombre wedding gown back in 2002 in her marriage to Gavin Rossdale, but it still took awhile for the trend to catch on for non-celebrity weddings. Ombre started showing up at fashion and trunk shows in 2007 and then as a hair trend in 2010 and shows no sign of going anywhere for quite awhile. So how can your bridal party rock the ombre look? Well, several ways actually, the first with actual ombre toned bridesmaid's dresses and the second, a bit more subtle, but ever so gorgeous, your bridemaids actually BEING the ombre, that is, each bridesmaid wearing a different shade of the same color. Not only is this gorgeous, (think variations in blues, pinks, or beiges), but it lets each of your best buds choose a shade that's most flattering to them individually. Also, it's simple enough to match up for your groomsmen in ties and handkerchiefs.

Ombre For Wedding Flowers And Table Décor

Ombre can be used for much more than wedding attire. Tell your florist about your love for all-things ombre and once you pick your color, have her show you an entire palette of flowers in the same color family. Remember, depending on your color choice, you may have to plan around what's in season or pay more for those flowers that aren't in season to be special ordered. But just imagine the gorgeousness...a stunning fade of palest pink to dark pink roses, an incredible bridal bouquet of creme to sunshine yellow peonies, roses, and dahlias. Even arrangements of different colors and textures of white would be stunning.

An easy DIY to go along with your gorgeous ombre flowers, although time consuming, would be to dip dye your napkins. Simple enough to do, it requires you to mix batches of dye in various shades of your chosen color in glass jars. Here is what you will need:

Appropriate number of white napkins

Fabric dye, Rit makes a powder and liquid concentrate

Glass jars

Rubber gloves

HOT water

newspaper to cover all areas

Old clothes for you to wear, of course, dye is just that, dye, and it will stain

Fill your jars with hot water and mix a little of the dye in each jar, intensifying the color as you go. Figure out ahead of time how you would like your napkins to be folded when they are on your reception tables and prefold them. Wet you napkins thoroughly, but squeeze out the excess water. Starting with the lightest color, dip the napkin as far as you want the color on your napkin. Move to the next color and dip again, only not as far. Repeat with each color ending up with the darkest color being the shallowest dip. Let napkins dry thoroughly, then hang them on a clothesline or drying rack you don't care about (dye, remember?) until they're dry. Put them in the dryer to set the color after they have air dried. Each one will be a little different, but the effect will be awesome and your guests will be blown away when you tell them you did it with your own two little hands!

Ombre Flowers And Table Decor


Ombre Wedding Cakes, Candy Buffets & Dessert Bars

Some serious fun can be had when using the ombre theme to put together your candy buffet and dessert bar. It may require a bit of searching to find your target color in different shades, but it can be done! Candy companies even offer candies like M&M's and Kisses in specific colors which makes your job that much easier. Then all you need is some inexpensive cylinder vases from the dollar store and you can pour your candy in, starting with the darkest color first, layering as you go until you end up with the lightest color on the top. If it's cost prohibitive to order candy in specific colors, make the color intensity of your candy progress as your guests proceed down the table instead, from light to dark.

Creating your dessert bar and wedding cake can be much easier since food coloring can be used and color intensity can be controlled through how much coloring you use. Imagine an ombre color cupcake tree with darkest cupcakes at the bottom and lightest at the top. For the chocolate lover, dark chocolate on the dessert bar can progress to milk chocolate, then to caramel and finally to white chocolate...visually stunning and delicious to boot! If your cake decorator gives you the blank look when you ask for an ombre cake, bring her plenty of pictures and she'll catch on quickly. The ombre tones can even be repeated INSIDE the cake with each layer being a different shade...a fun surprise for your guests as you cut the cake.


Smitten With Ombre?

If you absolutely are dying for more ombre, there are some other great ways to use it in your décor. One fun way is to buy ribbon in approximately 3/8 to 1/2" width and glass votives. It's much easier to do this project if you buy the votives that are straight up the sides, not the ones with a lip on the edge or the fluted ones. Using strips of double-sided tape, begin wrapping your votive, starting at the bottom with the darkest color of your ribbon. Make the edges just meet and trim them off carefully, making sure the ribbon is stuck to the tape. On the next row, do a lighter color, then a lighter color, until your votive is covered with circles of ribbon almost to the top. You'll have a beautiful ombre colored votive when you are done!

You can also make ombre color backdrops for your cake table or dessert bar using the leftover dye from your napkin project. Decide how wide you want to make your backdrop and buy a 1/2" circumference dowel in that length. Buy some cheap cotton fabric or use an old white sheet and rip or cut into approximately 1" to 1 1/2 " strips, making them the length you want for your backdrop. Submerge the strips into each color of the dye, two to three in each color, depending on how many you will need for your finished wall hanging. Take the strips out of the dye and squeeze out any remaining dye. Don't forget those rubber gloves! Hang the strips on a clothesline to dry. Once dry, arrange the strips from light to dark, wrapping one end around the dowel and gluing as you go until the strips go all the way across the dowel, leaving an inch on each end for a ribbon for hanging. Hang behind whatever area you want to draw attention even looks great as a ceremony backdrop!

Ombre Swirl Cake


Ombre Backdrop


Ombre Dyed Clothespins


Ombre-Toned Eye Make-up


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