You get engaged. You set a date. You pick a color palette. It’s a natural progression! Indeed, one of the very first things you’ll do as a newly engaged couple is exploring the rainbow together, and it makes sense. You want to wait to choose your bridal party styles, reception décor, and flowers until you’ve landed on a swatch or two.
Despite this, picking your wedding colors can be unquestioningly overwhelming. Unlike seasons, wedding venues and menu options, there are literally millions of them from which to choose! So, if you err on the indecisive side (no judgment) you can probably use a bit of guidance along the way. Those who are totally stumped in the shade department should reference the following tips to help get the (color) wheels spinning.
- Let the Season Guide You — One of the very first things to consider when you set forth on your color hunt is that you want to be sure your hues jive with the season. That doesn’t mean that you have to be totally rigid — there’s more to seasonal coloring than navy and ruby in the winter and blush and coral in the summer. But it does help to look to the time of year for guidance. Look to the natural landscape in your area — the trees, the flowers, and the rocks — for ideas. Like a specific color but want to get married in a season that’s not traditionally associated with that color? A slight adjustment to the hue will instantly make it more appropriate for the month.
- Think About Your Fashion — Remember that your color scheme will more than likely guide the color you pick for your bridesmaids dresses and suits, so try to keep it relatively neutral. We’re willing to bet that every member of your wedding party doesn’t share the same skin tone, hair color, eye color or personality. Thus, it’s probably best to avoid tones that can look harsh on some skin — for example, if you have particularly light-toned bridesmaids, don’t put them in neon yellow dresses, and if you’ve got darker groomsmen, avoid brown suits at all costs.
- Keep it Simple — The experts recommend sticking to two or three colors when designing your wedding color scheme. More than that and your palette will look like a bunch of swatch books exploded all over your venue (not good). Not only should you tone it down in terms of volume, you should also keep it subtle with your shades. Picking one statement color — say, a green, blue or pink — and coupling it with a neutral cream or ivory will help ensure that your primary hues don’t take over. It also helps ensure that you can find décor and bridal accessories that match your theme.
- Consult the Experts — If you feel like you’re lost in space — or the color wheel — on your color selection journey, look for inspiration from the experts. We like to take cues from Pantone’s Fashion Color Trend Report to get inspiration whenever we’re stumped in the color arena. The pigment authority regularly weighs in on where the trends are in terms of hot-right-now shades, so it’s a good place to turn if you simply want fresh, new ideas or you want your palette to feel cutting-edge.
- Look for Inspo in Unconventional Places — If you fancy yourself a creative bride or groom, the typical inspiration avenues (Pinterest and Instagram, mostly) will only get you so far. You need something that’s unique, eclectic and totally original to your vision, venue and personality. We love the idea of posting up at the library to find inspo — there’s nothing quite as cool as the imagery from old art books, vintage magazines and even archived newspapers. Despite their age, the color combos common in old media often feel totally new and exciting.
- Pick a Side — Before you commit to a certain color scheme, do some browsing online to see photos and get ideas on the vibe and aesthetic you’d like to achieve. Do you prefer a dark, brooding look with deep purples, reds, blues and maybe even a hint of black? Amazing! A darker wedding color palette would look perfect in a historic, traditional environment (think Hogwarts) and would beautifully complement traditional mahogany, oak and marble. On the other hand, a light and airy color combo featuring dusty hues, blush, rose or sage would feel more appropriate in a more casual or outdoor venue. Don’t be afraid to let your color scheme guide your venue, not the other way around!
- Think About Association — Every color has an association, so much so that there’s an entire science dedicated to studying it, called color psychology. While you may not rile the emotions of your wedding guests by choosing a fiery red over a soft blue, don’t underestimate what your color choices can do to elicit certain feelings. In general, studies support the notion that colors are perceived to mean different things. Red correlates with lust, love and excitement, while pink can signify sophistication and sincerity. If your specific goal is to have your color scheme help narrate your special love story, then be sure to consult color psych!
- Forget Variation — One of the things that often hangs up brides and grooms on their color hunt is the fact that they feel like they need to have multiple colors. In fact, one color coupled with a neutral like cream or ivory is more than enough. You can also choose one color and then complement it with hues that are one step up or down on the color wheel. For example, if you love pink, it’s totally fine to pair a blush, a rose and a cream rather than finding a complementary shade to go with it. Choose a color, create variations on that color and mix them together.
Honoring Your Personal Style When you’re getting married, it can be easy to lose sight of your original vision. There’s the pressure from others, the inundation of photos on your favorite social media platforms and the constant changes in preference from you and your partner. The most important thing to remember during the wedding planning process is that you need to try to maintain your personal vision. If you do that, you’ll certainly wind up with a scheme that speaks to you.