How to Decorate for a Black & White Wedding

Use the colors for a sleek and sophisticated look

By Jen Whitten

Black, white and silver place setting
Photo by Jaime WindonBookmark and Share

The first colors you might think of for your wedding, regardless of season, are probably not black and white. Although the men wear black tuxedos and you plan to walk down the aisle in a vision of white satin and lace, typical weddings use other colors to set their scene. Rather than go with classic wedding ideas, consider the drama and sophistication of this simple color scheme.

  • What You Need to Know
  • Black and white weddings tend to have a formal feel. If that's not your preference, you may want to add a third color to soften the look.
Black and White and Wed

Step 1:

Survey the wedding venue. What colors are the walls and floors? Do they have any permanent fixtures in various colors? Before you determine how stringently you will follow your theme, take stock of the colors already in your venue and realize that drastically changing the environment is possible, but expensive. Wall treatments and fabrics can be brought in to cover the ceiling and create a soft feel to the event. Or you may want to add the color present in your venue to your black and white scheme.

Step 2:

Remember to balance your use of color. Decorating your wedding with black and white is very formal and can cast somber undertones if you are not careful. Consider adding silver accents to keep the atmosphere lively without adding extra color.

Step 3:

Pay careful attention to centerpieces -- even white roses or orchids have greenery. Flowers arranged low and close to the vase will hide the green stems if you feel they will detract from the scene. White and black column candles or taper candles in candelabras are another centerpiece option, as are groupings of glass votive candles with white or black marbles scattered around them.

Step 4:

Dress up plain black or white tulle with a touch of sparkle. Look for tulle that has bits of clear rhinestones attached to add glitter to your reception tables. If you cannot find this, spray plain tulle with silver glitter paint to add the effect. You can also have a professional wrap the tulle with twinkle lights and drape it across the ceiling in cascading waves.

Step 5:

Twist traditional wedding elements. To use black and white to decorate your wedding means thinking of new ways to use standard elements. For instance, use white print on black paper for your menus and leave those at each place setting. Consider using black tablecloths and napkins to contrast with the white china. Black or silver dinnerware with white linens can be equally striking.

  • Tips & Warnings
  • Never be afraid to add color if it suits your purpose. Some colors that go well with black and white include electric blue, pink and lime green.
  • Just as too much black will look like a funeral, too much white could make your wedding look like a sterile laboratory. Strike the perfect balance to look classy and formal.
  • Lighting can be a good way to add subtle color to your wedding without including it prominently in the decor. Lighting with a pale pink cast, for example, will give your black-and-white wedding a softer, more feminine feel.

About the Author

Jen Whitten is a freelance writer and worked in the event and wedding planning fields.

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Order ceremony decor

Some well-placed flowers can do wonders to set the mood for your wedding. Or maybe you need to order arrangements and candles galore. Whatever you decide, figure out the plan now and place your order. And don't feel that the primary color needs to be white.

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Wedding Glossary


A greenish blue resembling the color of a robin's egg. Also called robin's egg blue.

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