Shortly after the excitement of receiving an engagement ring and long before most bridal showers begin, many brides-to-be have an important question on their minds: What color palette would be perfect for their special day? Family, friends, and perhaps even their fiancé may have suggestions. If they have talked with a wedding planner, other color combinations may come under consideration.
In this exciting yet sometimes stressful period before they exchange vows, wedding couples must answer a new and consequential question. By knowing the best way to select wedding colors that suit their tastes and understanding the role that different seasons might have on their choice, engaged couples will clear a significant hurdle as they plan their nuptials.
A wedding color scheme defines the aesthetic for one of the most important and memorable days in a person’s life. Much more than the colors accenting the bride’s dress and the wardrobe of others in the wedding party, the choice of colors has an impact on the selection of many items, both significant and incidental. Decisions about floral arrangements, wedding stationery, table linens, centerpieces, wedding favors, decorations at the venue, and the cake and other food and drink selections may depend upon the colors chosen.
When Should You Begin to Think About Your Wedding Color Scheme?
At a minimum, you should decide on a general theme or style for your wedding shortly after your engagement. Having a preferred style in place will allow you to consider colors that best suit the theme and help you consider other options as you ponder the ever-growing wedding checklist in front of you. Since the colors you choose will influence many other aspects of the event, you may want to contact and visit possible venues for your wedding and reception to make sure that any possible color combinations under consideration do not clash with the paint, carpet, or other fixtures at those locations.
The combination of choosing your color scheme and confirming the venue may sometimes prove to be a delicate dance. If the location selected has a palette in conflict with your colors, are you willing to mute or modify them? If, however, you carefully tailor your personal colors to unique features at a specific place, you may discover that a delay in booking this treasured space has left you scrambling to find a less-than-perfect alternative. You may need to refine your final colors based upon the availability of the venue selected.
Eight Suggestions to Help You Pick Your Wedding Colors
1. Let Your Setting Inspire You: As you consider prospective venues, think of how the location mixes and matches with your chosen palette. Some locations may have the characteristic of a ‘blank slate’ that allows you greater ability to apply your color scheme. Architectural design, lighting, carpet color, and painted features may limit your flexibility at other venues. Your colors should complement the site selected, not compete with it.
2. Select Your Base Color to Set a Tone: Whether silver, baby blue, pink, or peach, you must choose your primary base color before adding other hues to complement it. Profound and poignant or understated and traditional, the selection of your favorite base color offers a foundation for the other shades of accent colors that accompany it.
3. See What Is Around You: If unsure of the best base color, take a moment to reflect on the common colors in your personal space, such as your room and home decor. Select a base color and its accent accompaniments based upon your preferences over a longer period of time, rather than recent trends.
4. Do Your Research with Color Wheel in Hand: Often, the best pairing of colors involves opposites in the color wheel that contrast hot and cold hues. Nearby neighbors on the color wheel generally share a primary color and also match together well. Consider your personal style, availability of color selections in stock for wedding items, and how color pairings appear in photographs not just today, but also in the future. Ask others who have the experience of attending or working at many weddings, such as photographers who know which colors will look best on camera and with certain lighting, for their thoughts.
5. Consider Your Complexion: The colors you select should make you and your wedding party look radiant and vibrant on your special day.
6. Avoid Trendy Colors Unless You Like Them: By choosing colors that fit your groove rather than today’s trends, you will have visuals and memories that stand the test of time. Those who are old enough to remember the earth tones and pinkish pastels of yesteryear know that trends may be temporary rather than timely.
7. Too Much Bright Isn’t Right: Weddings are high-energy events. A palette having only bright colors distracts and exhausts the eyes. Similarly, a color scheme with too many tints may be unsettling.
8. Think Seasonally: Wedding color selections often correspond with the time of year the ceremony takes place. While no rule requires that certain color schemes belong to a particular season, those who need guidance based upon the popular colors for each season of the year should review the sections below.
Popular Wedding Colors by Season
Seasons naturally play an important role in the choice of wedding colors. Here are the most popular wedding colors for each season:
Springing Into Marriage
Spring ceremonies often have a more casual feel than their fancy black-tie and dark winter dress counterparts. Brighter days, comfortable temperatures, bluer skies, vibrant green leaves, and the bulbs and blooming flowers make this a popular time for outdoor ceremonies. Bold patterns infused with brighter colors appear during this season of the year.
Popular primary colors selected for spring ceremonies include various shades of blue, green, yellow, and pink that represent the seasonal colors that come to life on the landscape. Lighter purples, pinkish reds, and similar tones that correspond to local floral blooms are also very popular with brides. Pastel colors, especially lighter versions of those found in a rainbow, work well in many areas.
Although April showers in some areas may cloud the skies and add unwanted gray to the day, spring color combinations tend to have a lighter and more upbeat tone that reflects the popularity of this time of the year for weddings. With warmer temperatures, gowns may either be short or long, and a greater variety of color options may be available for shorter dresses due to their use in warmer months.
Suggested colors for springtime ceremonies include the following:
Baby Blue, Blush Pink, Cream Colors with Various Hues, Emerald Green, Gentle Gray, Lavender, Light Peach, Mauve, Mint Green, Soft Yellow.
Sensational Summer Ceremonies
The natural tones that brought lighter greens and rainbow colors during spring months will transition into more bold and vibrant variations by the early and mid-summer. Warmer months, longer days, and sunnier situations usually inspire the boldest and brightest wedding color schemes of the year. Neutrals and pastels may be matched with the bolder hues that tend to serve as the primary colors during this season.
Summertime primary colors include cooler blues and greens, as well as hotter orange and pale pink. The natural environment and earthy colors influence popular summertime wedding wardrobe colors in many regions of the country. The number of ceremonies that take place in parks, mountain resorts, and beaches tends to increase during the summer months as well.
Warm temperatures may influence selections in a different way than might be expected. Those holding their ceremonies or lengthy receptions outdoors may choose to select a more muted or lighter color – a pastel version rather than a bold one – due to the length of time they may have to remain in the heat and full exposure to the sun. Darker colors absorb heat, and they may leave a burning feeling as temperatures intensify.
Suggested colors for summertime ceremonies include the following:
Candy Apple Red, Coastal Blues and Greens, Fuchsia with Tropical Accents, Lavender, Lemon Yellow, Mandarin Orange, Marigold, Royal or Deep Blue, Turquoise, and White (as a balance to accompany the brighter color options).
Matrimonial Fanfare in the Fabulous Fall
Autumn temperatures lead to falling leaves in many parts of the country, but the rising use of red, orange, and yellow defines popular wedding color schemes during this transitional time of the year. The fall palette falls on the warmer side of the color wheel. Brown, burgundy, gold, green, marigold, peach, pumpkin, and red offer another slate of primary colors that one may choose for their base.
The harvest season introduces these colors in phases. Similar to the transformation of green leaves into their yellow, orange, red, and brown stages, subtle color scheme differences may occur in various regions as the “peak” season arrives. Although pumpkins proudly possess an orange color, this may not be the color of first choice for the majority of October brides. Fall offers a great variety of hues that reflect the ripe and fertile natural landscape.
Suggested colors for fall ceremonies include the following:
Browns (from a Caramel tint to Mahogany), Burnt or Rusty Orange, Copper, Deep Purple, Green, Mustard Yellow, Pumpkin, Sage.
Winter Wedding Wonderland
Although fewer weddings take place in winter, ceremonies during this chilly time of the year have the potential to be stunning. Holidays, snow, evergreens, and colorful roses and orchids define this time of the year. Beyond the traditional red and green that many identify with this season, magentas, frosty metallic and gray hues, and the light blue tint sometimes noticed in the fresh snowfall offer possibilities. Bold color strokes such as those found in the occasional appearance of the Northern Lights may provide a base color not usually expected during the winter.
The colder temperatures sometimes call for thicker fabrics in outfits or a more formal type of attire. Fewer outdoor ceremonies take place, and some wintertime venues – such as banquet halls or country clubs – may expect or enforce a more formal dress code. Wind chill factors and unexpected temperature drops may have some members of the wedding party covering their color-coordinated wardrobes with dull or dark coats and jackets as they try to stay warm. Coordinating the color of outerwear may become a logistical challenge and disrupt the color scheme originally intended for the ceremony.
Common seasonal color selections during winter include burgundy, emerald green, navy blue, and black. Ceremonies close to Thanksgiving and the various winter holidays may offer greater opportunities for family reunions or extended gatherings, and color selections for these occasions might deviate from the seasonal palette to focus on colors inspired by family preferences.
Suggested colors for winter ceremonies include the following:
Black, Brown, Deep Purple, Emerald Green, Gray (medium to dark), Ruby Red, Sapphire Blue, White.
Final Thoughts as You Consider Your Wedding Color Scheme
Selecting wedding colors to match the season is a popular tradition for many engaged couples as they plan their wedding ceremony and reception. The theme or style chosen for this signature event serves as a foundation for decisions about the color palette. Confirming the venue opens new doors and may close other options. Finally, the selection of a base color and supporting accent colors is an important commitment with effects that will be noticed long before anyone says, “I do.”
The seasonal selections and possible color suggestions offered here reflect a general consensus among wedding planners, fashion experts, and others involved in this memorable ceremony. Similar to any cultural norm, the hot and trendy shades of today may seem quaint or out-of-date in another year. Although general seasonal colors tend to remain similar year after year, wardrobe designers sometimes infuse subtle differences in tones and shades.
Those seeking to understand the most popular wedding colors for each season of the year should remember that such options are merely subjective suggestions, not mandatory requirements. If a bride-to-be has an upcoming October wedding ceremony, no custom or mandate requires that she have yellow, orange, red, or brown in her preferred color scheme. Although general color scheme trends offer a valuable resource to consider, the final decision rests with those who will soon celebrate a new union in their lives.