11 Tips to Pull Off a Preppy Wedding

We're here to help you put a little prep in your step on your wedding day.
Lauren Kay the knot wedding expert
Lauren Kay
Lauren Kay the knot wedding expert
Lauren Kay
Executive Editor, The Knot + The Bump
  • Lauren manages, writes and contributes to the strategy of The Knot’s print editorial content.
  • Lauren oversees The Bump’s editorial strategy and execution.
  • Lauren has a degree in magazine journalism and lives in New York City with her husband and two children.

Preppy weddings are all about color combos and personalized details, from bow ties to monograms. Go for vibrant hues, lush floral arrangements and patterned table linens to set the scene at oceanfront venues, country clubs and more. Here, 11 ways to nail a preppy wedding theme.

1. Your Style

Patterned groomsmen socks for preppy wedding fashion
Whitebox Photo

Low-key and fun loving, you're always put together in an understated way, and your wedding décor will be the same. Rely on a sporty, preppy style to impress your guests. Think: bright colors, classic lines, and versatile fabrics and cuts.

From: A Refined Summer Wedding at Cobblestone Hall in Raleigh, North Carolina

2. Invitations

Wedding invitations and save-the-date cards with a turquoise and orange color scheme
Ashley Seawell Photography

Give guests a taste of what's to come with bright patterns in your invitation suite. Put the ultimate mark of customization on it with a personalized stamp and polish it off with whimsical calligraphy for the perfect final touch.

From: A Bright Caribbean-Influenced Lowcountry Wedding at Palmetto Bluff in Bluffton, South Carolina

3. Color Combos

Festive flower arrangements with a fuschia and red color combo
(clockwise from top left) Julie Wilhite Photography; Werth Photography; Heather Payne Photography; Paul Francis Photography

Don't hesitate to go bold with your wedding colors. Pair the unexpected: fuchsia and turquoise; royal purple and fiery red; or navy blue and bright yellow. Match the sunset with an array of yellows and pinks for a beachside ceremony.

From: 10 New Color Combos You'll Love

4. Wedding Wear

Lace wedding dress with bow
Ryan Phillips Photography

Opt for a gown with delicate details, such as a statement bow at the waistline or a demure bateau neckline. As for the groom, a fun bow tie to match the color scheme or brightly-colored socks would look coordinated without being too matchy-matchy.

From: A Formal, Classic Wedding at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, California

5. The Setting

Beachside reception table
Care Studios

Rent out a private country club, resort, restaurant or yacht club near the water, or stage your ceremony and reception on a nearby beach to create a crisp, clean backdrop for all your playful wedding elements.

From: A Natural, Oceanfront Wedding at Southern Diversion Estate in Marathon, Florida

6. Best Blooms

White and pink wedding bouquet wrapped with striped ribbon
Anna Kuperberg / The Knot

Start your search by narrowing down which flowers are in season during your wedding date. That way you'll get the freshest, most beautiful stems. Then ask your florist about which blooms are available in your wedding colors for a seamless way to play up your palette. Or go with all-white arrangements and bright linens.

From: A Preppy Waterfront Wedding at The Riviera Ballroom in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

7. The Décor

Lilly Pulitzer-themed reception tables with lively flowers and leafy garlands
Delesie, Inc.

Be careful not to have too many matchy-matchy details. Instead, pick and choose where to use your really special décor moments and keep everything else subtle so they really shine. Opt for centerpieces that are low to the table to promote conversation and bring a lush element to the tablescape.

From: A Preppy, Lilly Pulitzer–Inspired Wedding at a Private Residence in Atherton, California

8. The Music

A guitarist at a wedding reception
BTW Photography

Keep the dance party going all night long with a traditional wedding band or DJ playing the classic wedding songs you and your guests love to dance to (from Frank Sinatra to Michael Jackson).

From: A Simple Wedding at Thomas Welsh Activity Center in Harrison Township, Michigan

9. The Menu

Mason jar margarita with a striped straw and salt rim
Virgil Bunao Photography

Pick a couple signature cocktails for a unique spin on happy hour and add a few finger foods and passed appetizers into the mix, so guests don't get antsy before dinner. Speaking of dinner, feel free to ditch the traditional plated meal—family style works just fine.

From: A Preppy Nautical Wedding at Cottage on the Creek in Charleston, South Carolina

10. Wedding Cake

Four-tiered, white wedding cake with pink pattern
Virgil Bunao Photography

Don't be afraid to play with bright colors and bold geometric patterns. Your cake should be as fun and vibrant as you are. It's also a great way to show off your wedding theme to your guests. If you're working with a nautical theme, incorporate a seafaring detail into your cake design, like an anchor topper.

From: A Cheerful, Nautical Wedding in St. Simons Island, Georgia

11. Wedding Favors

Edible wedding favors
Corbin Gurkin Photography

Send your guests home with something tasty. Mini treats like cupcakes and macarons are great for any guest with a sweet tooth and can be enjoyed right away (read: won't get left behind).

From: An Ultra-Chic Classic Wedding at Mint Museum Uptown in Charlotte, North Carolina

Up Next
  • Couple holding a wooden sign that says, "CAMP Newlywed."
    How to Plan a Memorable Summer Camp Wedding