The first news of your nuptials will likely spread in the form of a digital announcement or paper invitation – and from that moment on, you are sending the signals that tell the guest what they are in store for on your day of celebration — including your color palette!
Selecting your color palette is a vital element of planning your wedding, because you’ll be making a lot of decisions that are contingent upon it! The colors you choose to be present throughout your celebration are meant to enhance the experience, and they’ll be in the photos that you’ll treasure for the rest of your life. That can be an overwhelming burden!
Here are my best tips to selecting the right color palette for you:
about your attire and linen choices by starting with some questions.
If you’re not sure which direction you want to go in for your attire and linen, don’t fret. I’ve developed a few starting-point questions for you to mull over that’ll help you decide!
(And don’t forget to include your beloved in these choices, too — unless they have specifically stated they want you to do it all and they will accept whatever is chosen.)
- Do you prefer a casual or formal event?
- Will you want metallic accents or features like gold? Rose gold? Silver?
- Does your family have a color expectation? (We’ll cover this one in a few!)
- Who else plays a part in the decisions and the budget? (Hint: follow the money.)
- Have you chosen your bridal party? Certain colors look better
on a broader variety of hair/eye/skin combinations. Just think of your friends and family - yes it's your choice but they will have feelings.
- Do you feel it’s important to use a special color – maybe something that’s meaningful to your story as a couple?
- What is the season of your date? Available cut flowers (if you’re going to have them) may affect what you can get seasonally.
- Do you want to follow a trend? Or tradition? Or be inspired by something local? What about prints with multiple
When choosing colors, always start with your venue, - do you like their colors?
Have you chosen a venue yet?
If not, send out your announcements using a neutral color scheme (Black and White photos?) that allows you to delay a color selection until you know where the event is to be held. Why? Because you aren’t likely going to change the carpet in the ballroom or the color of the paint on the building where your guests will arrive (for example: The Don Cesar in St. Petersburg Florida is Flamingo PINK)
There’s no hard and fast rule that you need to use these architectural colors, but ignoring what is large and everywhere is short sighted. Working with the elements of your space that you are not likely to change should be considered because a building is the largest visual element to your day. Go with the flow.
The colors you have to work with may inspire you or motivate you to mask them, but the truth is – if the ball room is large and the carpet and walls are teal – you better like teal – it’s going to be in all your photos. This doesn’t mean it’s teal bridesmaid dresses or nothing, but make sure the colors in your reception space are on your palette and coordinate with your overall selections.
If you don’t like the colors in the venue, you might consider alternatives before everyone shows up to try on dresses or selects ties.
If you’ll be celebrating outdoors, there’s still a style to the property – a white tent? A silver grey barn? A stately historic home? A color filled orchard or grapes in a vineyard? An ivy covered stone wall surround? A hill or prominent autumn tree or blooming branches in a certain color during your date? An aqua ocean? Wild flower filled prairie? A snow-capped mountain view? Work with what you can't change.
All of these options inspire various styles and the colors that go with them. There’s also the seasonality of your event date to consider, as well as the selection of flowers that will be available to you.
All I'm saying is consider the floors/carpet in the venue ballroom, the paint on the walls of the building and the flower options for your season – now let’s address bridal party clothing colors and be frank about skin color and color theory.
Consider the people wearing the colors.
No matter how you define the color of your skin, every person’s skin "flesh tones" if you will, are composed of shades in a spectrum of pink, orange, yellows and brown. All of us have beautiful colors. But some colors look better with each type of flesh tones, while others do not.The trick is in contrast and blend. If you have a diverse bridal party and we hope you do, you should consider colors that will make everyone feel beautiful. Only you know what will coordinate best with your venue and your group but include them in your ideas.
Back in 1987, Carole Jackson released an extremely popular book, Color Me Beautiful, that outlined suggested hues and tones that worked with various natural human coloration of hair, eye and skin tones. Many people still adhere to Ms. Jackson’s theories. To learn more about the beautiful color types of all human beings and the colors from our visible light spectrum that flatter those natural traits, click Color Me Beautiful.
Considering the skin color of the individuals who make up your bridal party and the spectrum of what will work for all of them is important - make sure they look great and feel great in the color selected.
Keep in mind that colors change with the reflection of light.
What looks one shade of perfect in the morning natural light, may look drab
or washed out in the office lighting where you work, or may appear totally different
in the candlelight of a dimly lit room. So even once you’ve selected the perfect
palette for your event, when you’re color matching — be flexible. Exact just isn’t necessary or frankly achievable. And if you got it perfect, it still might show up totally different in photographs. You don't think you really look the same in person as you do on a Zoom call do you? Nope, lighting and lenses. Leave the color perfection up to your photographer.
You’ll feel it when something is totally off in hue or shade, but let exact go. Dye lots on dresses and linens change and
different fibers reflect light differently so polyester satin dyed the same
color as a silk taffeta will look totally different even in the same
lighting. It’s okay. Life is imperfect, celebrate and accept some
You can always add new colors later in the planning process.
Sometimes you don’t truly develop your dream aesthetic for the overall style of your event until you’re in the thick of planning it.
We recommend building a mood board of 3-6 colors that you want to feature in your event decor, using the Pantone Color Finder.
This color finder is the global standard for color in all industries, and knowing which Pantone colors you love and plan to use will help you communicate with long distance friends and vendors about exactly what color you’re talking about.
Exactly what shade of aqua do you mean? More blue than green? More green than blue? Dark? Bright? Light?Pale?
See – a standard can really help you avoid miscommunication, and the tool is completely free!
You can also use a new tool we've found on line called Coolors.co It's new and a little testy to work with but you can get some interesting color mix ideas from the palette creator.
Know that there are no wrong colors
While colors are important choices, and there are tons of sources who will tell you that you need to respect trends, and consult guides, I’m going to let you in on a little secret – there are no wrong colors. Color is color! You may have personal preferences, but there are no right or wrong answers. And you don’t have to have all the answers up front. Your large visual punctuation marks of color will show the most in:
- Attendees clothing
- The venue's colors (walls unless you drape and light; and carpet)
- The tablecloths you choose
- Chair drapes and sashes if you select them
- Your floral selections / centerpieces
Go for colors that repeat in those areas and you'll have the coordination down effortlessly.
At the end of the day, all eyes will be on the two of you, not the colors you chose.
Don’t let a color match issue redirect you from the true joy of the day. Your day is about a celebration of two people bringing their lives together and sharing that amazing occasion with the people who mean the most to you both.
Blend – make it part of the theme.
If you get the colors right, no one will notice the colors too much – all eyes will be on you two. And besides, there’s always Photoshop if you really feel you need to fix something for the memory books and framed photos.
How can we help?
We know you want your color selections to come together in a way that makes all these considerations make sense. We've thought of that!
You’ll see in our product descriptions offer the Pantone closest match on our panels - and we provide that so you’ll know what we mean when we say “Coral.” And if you’re selecting your bridal party attire or your linens from the sources we cite, you will have the confidence of knowing that we fit into the color options they currently provide (colors and dye lots change).
The vendors whose colors we follow are: