A Guide to Choosing Wedding Colors: How to Pick a Timeless Palette that Reflects Your Personal Style

A Guide to Choosing Wedding Colors: How to Pick a Timeless Palette that Reflects Your Personal Style

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Taryn Williford
Apr 4, 2016
(Image credit: Tatiana Chekryzhova/Shutterstock)

You have the partner. You have the time and place. So all the critical pieces of a wedding day are there. Now it's time to consider how you want your day to look. And when it comes to designing a party, step one is deciding on a color scheme.

What to Think About When Choosing Colors

Narrowing down the spectrum of colors from a bajillion to maybe, like, three is a really daunting task, especially for design and color lovers. To start, consider some of the more concrete elements of your big day.

Seasonality

The time of year when you'll say "I do" is maybe the simplest way to narrow down a palette. Having seasonally-minded wedding colors will add cohesion to the day, ensuring everything feels timeless and appropriate.

Venue Colors

If your venue is an empty, neutral space, that's a blank canvas for wedding decor. But if your spot already has its own thing going in terms of color and style, the best palette is one that complements the venue's innate vibes, instead of contrasting.

Favorite Colors

It's all good and well to make your colors play well with the venue and the season, but if you want a canary yellow wedding, you shouldn't let a ballroom or month or the calendar stop you.

Mood

Think about how you want the day to feel. Vibrant, warm colors inspire energy while cool colors have a calming, harmonious effect, and a palette of neutrals with a heavy touch of black will always evoke elegance. Just like with decor, you can conjure up different moods with your color choice.


The Color Theory Behind Pleasing Palettes

Creating an event palette without consulting a color wheel is like making a recipe from scratch. You might get it just right (especially if you've got some experience in the area), but there are proven formulas you can follow to master the task.

Adobe offers a really helpful (free) tool online that lets you select colors and color rules to create a harmonious palette. You can start with a base color and it will pop out a five-color palette according to the color rule you select. I started with the same mint hue to create each of these palettes:

(Image credit: Taryn Williford)

Complementary colors are across from each other on the color wheel.

(Image credit: Taryn Williford)

Analogous colors are next to each other on the color wheel.

(Image credit: Taryn Williford)

A triad scheme incorporates colors from three even points on the wheel.

(Image credit: Taryn Williford)

Monochromatic schemes are different tints and shades of the same color.

You don't have to have five colors, or even three. But a tool like this one is a great place to start.


Where Else to Look

You're thinking about the season, you know how to pick colors that will play well with your venue and with each other. Now here's where the personality really comes in. Your wedding style shouldn't be all that different from your everyday style, after all.

Your Wardrobe

Examine your closet to get a good look at what your color personality might be. What colors do you tend to buy over and over? Do you live in neutrals or embrace a rainbow of shades? Any favorite colors stand out?

Your Home

Your home decor can inspire you to choose wedding colors in just the same way as your wardrobe, above. Pay attention, too, to not only which colors you like to use, but also how you prefer to use them. Is everything neutral with pops of one or two hues? Or is it a free-for-all of all sorts of shades?

Your Collections

Look through the things you've gathered over the years to see what colors and moods pop out at you. That means the art on the walls at home, your collection of books, or just the photos you pin on Pinterest (whether or not they're wedding related). Personally, I was stuck on a wedding palette until I looked at the markers and highlighters I keep on my desk and use over and over again to scribble and decorate my notebook. Once you start to examine the way you use color in your life, you'll no doubt find the perfect wedding colors for you.

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