How to Pull Off an All-White Wedding

White is classic, contemporary, and stunning. Learn how to pull off an all-white wedding theme with these fabulous tips from Zola, your wedding day expert!

By Emily Forrest

couple at all white wedding
Photo by Mackler Studios

An all-white wedding is a chameleon of wedding aesthetics—it can be classic, modern, chic, traditional, and, ultimately, all yours.

Admittedly, pulling off an all-white wedding is quite the undertaking. But, when it’s done well, the monochrome result is absolutely magical. It’s sophistication meets elegance, draped in shades of snow.

But, how do you keep an all-white theme from being bland or one-dimensional? Don’t worry! There are plenty of fun and fabulous ways to tastefully incorporate white elements into your wedding theme.

What Do You Want Your All-White Wedding to Look Like?

Here’s the beauty of an all-white wedding theme: you get to decide how saturated you want the white wedding theme to be. There are tons of different creative wedding themes—each with their own pros and cons—that you can utilize to create an all-white wedding.

Here are just a few all-white wedding styles to help you choose your aesthetic:

  • All In – There’s only one motto for this style: If it can be white, it will be white. From the food to the wedding party outfits, you can create a snowy white wedding day.

  • A Major Player – White stands out when there’s a hint of contrast. You can create a wedding color palette with the specific purpose of amplifying your chosen shade of white. White can still be the star of the show on your special day, but it may have a little help from a few supporting colors.

  • Wisps of White – Play with neutrals to create a stylishly understated all-white wedding. By choosing wedding decor around a more natural color scheme, white can be its own accent color throughout the day.

Details Match the Setting

When it comes to choosing wedding decor, every decision can help create the wedding aesthetic you’re envisioning. And there are hundreds of choices you’ll have to make along the way. But, to set the stage for a white wedding, you’ve first got to take a look at the stage itself—your venue.

A rustic barn will feel different from a church, and a modern art gallery will be different from a vineyard. The white details you choose should complement the setting in order to bring out its natural charms and amplify the white vibe you’re going for. You don’t have to settle for traditional wedding decor. So, tap into your inner artist and let the venue be your muse.

A modern setting can use sleek, white furniture crafted with geometric angles, whereas an outdoor venue can be covered in white tents, linens, and drapery for a bohemian feel. But, most importantly, you should work white with your venue’s features, not against them. Take some advice from Bride’s Diary:

“Does your function room feature old fireplaces, wooden ceilings or big windows? Look for decorations which will make these features stand out or just leave them as they are if you think that looks better. Some venues are so beautiful and elaborate that you only need a few touches to make them look festive, while others can be transformed to look completely different, so make sure to explore all the options before you start decorating the room.”

How would we apply this advice to a white wedding? Let’s take a look:

  • Playing With Contrast – If you’ve been staring at various swatches of white for what feels like an eternity, all you need to do is hold a shade of white up to a darker color to see its unique underlying hues. The same goes for your wedding venue. If there are darker elements in your reception area, don’t try to cover them up. Instead, strategically place larger white decor items nearby to help make the white shine like sunlight on snow.

  • Finding the White – Take a look at your venue and play a wedding version of “Where’s Waldo?” See what white accents are already present and build off of them. For example, if your outdoor venue will have white blossoms in the trees by the time your spring wedding date rolls around, hang white flower garlands through the branches and throughout the reception areas. If your venue has a pure-white ceiling, call attention to it by creating a chandelier of white drapery and bright-white string lights.

  • Filling the Gaps With White – Sometimes, it’s not a venue’s features that help create a white theme, but their empty spaces that create an opportunity for the shade. Look for areas where you can add your own white installations.

Don’t forget, when you do land on the perfect venue, take lots of pictures. You can use those for your wedding board and to help brainstorm ways to creatively incorporate your white theme.

How to Pull Off an All White Wedding Photo Credit // James Jess

Textures Add to the Space

A sensational white wedding doesn’t rely on one decor item to elevate the aesthetic—it creates complementary contrast through textures. If you’re feeling at a loss for how to bring in different tactile whites, here’s what Instyle advises:

“Velvet upholstery or pillow accents can be a nice touch during the winter months. White streamers or pinwheels can be quite playful in the summer. You can always look for linens that have sequins or layered fabrics that add depth. And speaking of depth, when using any monochromatic color palette, what your guests touch and what they see—glitter, faux fur, lace—can bring depth to your wedding décor.”

Whether it's white upholstery, throw pillows, blankets, layered fabrics, parasails, or balloons, each can add its own stylish accent and help create a three-dimensionality to the space. This is particularly true if you add textures that are complementary off-whites, such as:

  • Ivory
  • Cream
  • Eggshell
  • Navajo white
  • Vanilla
  • Bone white
  • Winter mood
  • Oatmeal
  • Silver charm
  • Pale smoke

The Wedding Party

The wedding party offers a fantastic opportunity to play up your white wedding theme. The stodgy, old rule that dictates who can and can’t wear white on the wedding day can see itself right out the door. That’s the fun of an all-white wedding—you’re embracing a tradition and at the same time, breaking it—with style.

But, if everyone in the wedding party wears all-white, it may be hard for you and your partner to shine. Good news—there are fabulous ways to have the wedding party in white and still make sure both you and your SO are the center of attention.

Here’s how:

  • Simplified Wedding Party Outfits – Keep your wedding party members’ outfits simple and save the detailed flourishes, such as jewelry, elaborate pocket squares, and boutonnieres, for you and your partner.

  • White-on-White Patterned Fabric – There’s something hypnotizing about white-on-white patterned fabric. The pattern’s details are nearly hidden, but in the right light, flash into view in a mesmerizing and holographic effect. Incorporate white-on-white patterned fabric into your wedding ensemble for an enchanting and unforgettable wedding party look.

  • Stand Out With Textiles – Differentiate your wedding party members using fabric. Even from a distance, people can tell a difference between a cotton dress and a satin one—the same goes for a linen suit and a wool ensemble. For example, you and your partner can wear satin and tulle, and your wedding party members can wear blends. The difference will be subtle, but unmistakable.

Just make sure that you’re not causing discomfort to your wedding party in the pursuit of standing out—after all, linen suits in winter will make for a chilly reception.

Metallic Accents – You may want to distinguish yourself from your wedding party, while still sticking with an all-white wedding theme. Don’t worry, there’s a loophole: light metallics. Silver or gold accents can create a subtle contrast that won’t completely dismantle the all-white aesthetic. Just make sure that the metallic isn’t too dark, otherwise, you’ll lose the monochrome vibe.

You can add metallic accents with:

  • Ties and bowties
  • Vests
  • Dress socks
  • Shoes and shoelaces
  • Hair accessories
  • Sashes and belts
  • Wraps

Snowy White Flowers

One of the simplest and most effective ways to incorporate white into your wedding theme is through the floral arrangements. They can create a stunning and magical ambiance that helps make your wedding an evening to remember. Plus, gorgeous floral designs can really make your wedding photos pop.

Thanks to Mother Nature, there are dozens of white flowers to choose from. Although some couples prefer to work with a single bloom to help make a statement, you can have a lot of fun mixing flowers such as peonies, roses, ranunculus, baby’s breath, lilies, and smaller white blooms. This adds a variety of shapes, sizes, and textures.

The other wonderful thing about flowers? You can put them anywhere. Place fresh flower arrangements on tables, the altar, food tables, the venue’s entries and exits, and even the DJ booth.

How to Pull Off an All White Wedding Photo Credit // Cinema Photography

Planning Your Perfect All-White Wedding at Zola

Planning a wedding is never easy, particularly if you’re going with a specific theme, such as an all-white look. But, you have your very own wedding expert in your corner: Zola.

As the experts of all things wedding, we can help you make registry and wedding planning simple. We have everything you need in one place, including:

  • A registry builder
  • A free wedding website
  • Beautiful invites (both virtual and paper)

The Zola checklist tool helps you see what you’ve done and what still needs doing. You can customize your wedding details, set reminders, manage your guest list, and much, much more.

Are you ready for your magical all-white wedding? We are.

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