Watercolor is a trend that has been percolating for a couple of years: Could there be a more perfect match? This vintage medium, whether printed on dresses or hand-painted on cakes, gives traditional wedding elements a fresh, lively feel.

Dresses: Wash and Wear: While couture designs often feature hand-painted details, brides on a more modest budget can get in on the color-wash craze by wearing a dress fabricated with a silk-screened print.

For whom is a watercolor-inspired gown intended?

“The look works for a bride who has an edge and isn’t afraid to use color,” says Lisa Fuhrman, a stylist and bridal consultant at retailer Kleinfeld Bridal. “She’s confident and wants to make a statement but in a soft, romantic way.”

While many of the dresses are fitting for a garden or afternoon affair, like a sherbet-colored floral print ball gown and or a long-sleeved lace top and A-line skirt, others are black-tie ready, says Fuhrman.

Cakes: Picture This

From fabric to fondant, the watercolor is giving an artful edge to wedding cakes, too.

Bakers like Jenna Johnson of bakery Gateaux are treating each frosted tier of a cake to a different watercolor hue, or painting pretty wildflowers or stained glass panes on fondant. Brides’ favorite shades? Pink and green with a pop of gold.

The theme works with different wedding vibes. “People associate watercolor cakes with the boho-chic trend that is going strong right now,” says Paloma Efron of Coco Paloma Desserts, “but you could create a romantic look, as well, with watercolor flowers.”

To stay on budget, artwork should be kept simple: Order a cake painted in a watercolor wash and add fresh flowers or metallic accents. “Once you get into hand-painted designs and flowers, the cost goes up, since that requires more skill and time,” Efron says. Or DIY the cake: Through its Evil Cake Genius line, Gateaux offers a stencil kit that allows you to create your own edible watercolor work of art, like their elegant Painted Rose cake.

Invitations: A Colorful Way With Words

“Watercolor is naturally a very romantic art form, with its loose feel and blended colors, making it a perfect fit for wedding invitations,” says Ashley Austin of Fine Day Press. Graphics can be anything from lush florals to washes of color to detailed illustrations.

This versatility means it can work for different wedding styles – formal occasions to casual backyard weddings, says Allison Krosnick of Hand-Painted Weddings.

Pastels – soft pinks, peaches, sky blues and minty greens – are favorites, but according to Austin, brighter tones like saturated hot pinks and deeper indigo blues are edging their way in.

Predesigned styles are more affordable than custom designs, and many stationers offer a variety of graphics, colors and prices.

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