For an engaged couple with a lot to plan for, choosing a color palette for the wedding can be either a joy or a headache waiting to happen. That color choice can inform everything for the wedding; from the dresses, to the cake decorations, to the flower arrangements – and even more beyond that. And even if the bride or groom have a color in mind, it may not turn out looking exactly the way they thought, and that’s definitely something no couple wants to find out too late. Instead, it’s a great idea to use aspects like your wedding venue (and its included décor) as a starting point, as well as turning to other sources for inspiration. This is a great excuse to let your creativity run free!
Picking a color scheme for a wedding doesn’t have to be a chore – but it’s always a good idea to have some tips and tricks in mind, just in case your idea doesn’t quite work out the way you thought it would. Here’s our list of tips for figuring out what color palette will best suit your big day.
Get Some Inspiration
Pretty much everyone has a favorite color, but it might not always be one that works for a wedding. If you’re having a hard time narrowing down what color you want to use, get online and browse around for inspiration. Websites like Pinterest have entire sections devoted to wedding themes, and with plenty of photography, it should be easy for you to visualize how those color schemes will look.
Another idea for inspiration could be to use your wedding’s setting. “If you’ve already found the perfect venue, use the space to help you come up with your color scheme. The colors of your reception space and its surroundings, whether it’s the vintage Persian rug in the dining room or the view of the ocean, can spark an idea.” says The Knot. Plus, knowing your venue’s setup can help prevent color clashes, so it’s worth checking out the venue ahead of time to see what decorations will already be there. (And don’t discount the natural surroundings outside the venue, especially when it comes to photo ops!)
Decide On The Primary Color Scheme Early
The wedding’s colors ought to be on your mind right off the top, but some people don’t put a lot of thought into it immediately – and that can be a big mistake. “Your color scheme will largely depend on your venue, the time of year your special day is being held, and the setting for your wedding,” an article at Love & Lavender points out. “It’s important to think long and hard about the colors you’re going to incorporate in your big day because the church will be decorated to match, along with your bridesmaids, groomsmen, cake, and much, much more.”
Once you’ve considered factors such as the venue, the availability of the color itself (more on that in a bit), and potentially the season, it should be easier to decide on one bold color to base the scheme around. Begin to incorporate the color early by adding touches of it to your wedding invitations and searching for floral designs that feature blooms in that predominant color. This is the main color that you’ll be building your schematics around, so try to choose one that can match well with other colors and shades.
Choose 2-3 Additional Colors As Accents
Picking only a single color for the entire wedding can be a bit too monochromatic and exhausting to look at – you need a bit of variety, and as we mentioned above, that means choosing a couple more colors to accent the main one. This is where a color wheel can come in handy, and The Knot advises using it to find opposite colors that pair a “cool and warm” or “neighbors” that are similar yet share a primary color: “A classic way to build your color palette is by pairing a bright, saturated color with a neutral, like violet and gray or blush and gold.”
You should always have one neutral color as an option, to pair with the bold, primary color. These neutral colors in the background always work to compliment everything else, and they can go with anything.
Make Sure the Colors Are Accessible
Unless you want to go around carrying a Pantone swatch, picking an unusual color might cause a bit of trouble when it comes to décor. Not every color is available from mass retailers, and buying custom products can get expensive. Although you don’t necessarily need to pick a typical primary or secondary color, it’s good to think about things like cake decorations, ribbons, and more physical flourishes that might not come in every color on the spectrum.
Also, keep in mind that some colors actually don’t occur perfectly in nature – for example, there are no true blue or black roses, but rather shades of purple and deep red. If you’d dead set against using flowers that may have been artificially colored, then make sure you keep your floral choices in mind when you’re choosing your wedding’s color scheme.
Don’t Stress Over Getting Everything to Perfectly Match
There are already so many tiny details to focus on when it comes to planning a wedding, and it’s easy to get wrapped up in everything that’s happening. One thing you don’t want to obsess over, however, is making sure that the color shades you’ve chosen perfectly match on everything. If the shade is only slightly off – say, a purple that’s more lilac than lavender – it’s easy to forgive, and adding a few more shades on the spectrum of your wedding’s color scheme can make it look more varied and unique. So don’t despair if the green in your floral arrangements doesn’t exactly match the same shade of green in the bridesmaids’ sashes – it’s not likely that your guests will judge you for it.
Find the Perfect Palette
Although your wedding’s color palette may not seem like the most important part of the big day, it informs everything from décor to flower arrangements and even the wedding party’s outfits. Once you determine what will figure prominently in the wedding – be it the venue itself, the season, or the location – coming up with the color palette for your wedding should be a snap.
What’s your ideal color scheme for a wedding? What color scheme did you use in your wedding, and how did you find it? Tell us in the comments.
Robin Naluai is the Director of Romance (and Catering) at Cape Rey Carlsbad, a Hilton Resort. She has more than 10 years of experience in the wedding and catering industry. Robin enjoys weddings with a personal touch and sentiment. In her free time she is hiking, cooking, at the beach with her dogs or exploring new places.