How to Choose Your Wedding Colors

What’s the one thing that dictates the wedding decorations, floral arrangements, invitations and just about everything else associated with a wedding? Color! Whether it's bold, bright hues or soft pastels, color plays one of the biggest roles in planning a ceremony and reception (not to mention styling the wedding party!). If you’re a bride who’s in love with color, but you're not quite sure how to find a signature shade and make it work for your big day, we can show you how to choose wedding colors that reflect your personality and creative ways to incorporate them in your venue (without overdoing it!).

Space and seasonality

When deciding on wedding colors, ask yourself two questions (depending on how far along you are in your wedding planning, these questions should be fairly easy to answer). One: what is the time of year your wedding will take place (winter, spring, summer, fall)? The colors of the season are a great guide for finding your wedding colors. Two: What kind of space will be used for the ceremony and reception (indoor/outdoor, church, ballroom, formal, casual?) Some venues are blank spaces—ideal for decorating to your exact specifications. But some spaces have a fixed look that can’t be changed (colored carpet or wallpaper), which could clash with the colors you may have in mind.

Look for inspiration all around you

Browse through our image gallery offering an array of inspiring wedding decorations.
How is your home decorated? What is your favorite shade of lip gloss? What colors do you see most in your closet? Taking inspiration from everyday life is a great way to spotlight your personality in your wedding color choices. Need more help? Visit a bookstore and pick up fashion and home decor magazines. The runway is also a good place to turn to for ideas, as designers are the best sources for relaying the latest trends. In fact, the Pantone Color Institute creates color combinations every season just for designers in the fashion and interiors industry to use with new products. Even our wedding expert, Susan Southerland of Just Marry!, uses a Wedding Planning Color Wheel to help brides match shades when selecting a color scheme.

Where to use color

Now this is where things start to get tricky. You imagine a room full of lush, lavish color, but not at the sake of overdoing it, right? So where do you use your hues? And how much is too much? Here, we've compiled a list of subtle ways to infuse your wedding colors in the ceremony, in your wedding decorations and at the reception venue:

  • Your wedding gown and bridal accessories: If you’re wearing a ribbon or sash with your wedding gown, select one with a shade closest to your wedding colors. You can also try a jeweled hairpiece, gloves or another bridal accessory to spotlight your style.
  • The wedding party: The groomsmen vests and bridesmaid dresses are a traditional way to display the wedding colors. To really see variety (and break up the monotony), have your maids wear varying dress styles of the same color.
  • Wedding stationary: From save-the-date and engagement announcements to the invitation itself, your wedding stationery not only sets the tone and mood for your wedding ceremony and reception, it also informs guests of the wedding colors. If your cardstock is stark white or ecru, embellishments like ribbons, pressed flowers and colored envelopes liners are little ways to use color with your stationery.
  • Florals: Just like bridesmaid dresses, flowers are traditional decorative elements to adorn the wedding venue with your selected colors. Instead of mounds of monochromatic arrangements, intersperse complementary shades to give bouquets and other florals a delicate balance of color.
  • Reception decor: Wedding decorations such as centerpieces, table cloths and runners, drapes, lighting and chair covers are great design elements for displaying color.
  • Wedding favors: These little treasures are one of the best parts of the wedding reception. Have your “thank you” treats decorated in beautiful packaging like unique boxes or fancy ribbons that play up your color scheme. Your guests will enjoy the presentation just as much as the favors inside.
  • Catering: The wedding cake will serve as the piece de resistance of your reception meal (adorned with sugary blossoms and berries). But think of all the other ways catering can showcase your wedding colors—like signature cocktails or a dessert table with colorful petifores and candies. Talk with your pastry chef and caterer to brainstorm creative and unexpected ways to incorporate your colors into the reception meal.
This resource is just a starting off point for helping you choose your wedding colors and ways to use them with your wedding decorations. You can also ask your bridesmaids, family, friends (and don't forget your fiance!) to weigh-in on color combinations they think will work for your wedding. But never feel pressured to choose a palette or scheme just because it’s in style or is deemed the hottest hue of the moment. Pick colors that you love in shades that make you feel beautiful when surrounded by floral and decor reflecting those same tones.

Photo courtesy of Cindy Ord Photography.