Choosing colours for your wedding can feel daunting, especially since there’s so much riding on them — stationery, venue decor, bridal party outfits, flowers… So how do you decide what’s right for you?
Here are some guidelines to consider in selecting a palette will look beautiful and actually make your planning easier, not more stressful. (Spoiler alert: These “rules” are a lot less strict than you think.)
Suit the Season
Seasonal colour palettes are a no-fail place to start. October wedding? Traditional fall colours like mustard yellow, burnt orange, and deep burgundy are a natural fit. Planning a winter wedding? Warm things up with lush jewel tones, or embrace the snow with winter white and sparking metallics. Pastels are perfect for spring. For summer, brights are a no-brainer, but earthy, dessert tones are a trend-worthy option. (A bonus to going this route: choosing florals that are in season is a great way to keep your budget in check.)
Consider the Venue
Chances are, the place you’ll be getting married has a colour palette of its own that you’ll want to complement. If your venue is a hotel or banquet hall, take note of details like the wallpaper and carpet colours on your pre-planning site visit. Are chandeliers gold or silver? Can you add coloured lighting over the dance floor? If your holding your festivities outdoors, choose colours that work with the surrounding greenery — or, for a beach wedding, with the sand and water.
Set the Mood
Choose a colour scheme that reflects how you want your guests to feel throughout your wedding day. Warm, rich jewel tones will create a romantic, cozy feel. Soft pastels or nature-inspired earth tones give a relaxed, carefree vibe. Clean, monochromatic neutrals read as elegant and refined — more so with the addition of metallic accents. Vibrant brights will injected a burst of fun, playful energy into your day.
Be Flexible (aka Build a Bigger Palette)
Forget about locking yourself into exact Pantone shades. These days, the prettiest looks are less matchy-matchy and more organic. Take the colours in your bouquet as an example: In nature, its common for flowers of the same variety to vary slightly in colour from one blossom to the next — in fact, that’s party of their beauty. Choosing colour families and embracing variations will not only look more natural — it will also be much less stressful to plan around. Similarly, opening palette up to a set of four or five colours that work together will give more freedom than a strict two colour plan. Even if do you prefer to make a single (or pair of) colour(s) your focus, bringing in a few additional accent colours will add depth to your decor.
Consult a Colour Wheel
Unsure on how to choose colours that work well together? Here’s a quick lesson in colour theory:
- Monochromatic colour schemes use shades of the same colour ranging from light to dark —think of the colours from top to bottom on a single paint chip.
- Analogous colours are those that appear beside each other in the colour wheel, for example blue, teal and green, or pink, coral, and orange. These harmonious colour schemes are easy to work with.
- Opposite colours (also called complementary) are pairs of colours that appear across from each other on the colour wheel, for example blue and orange, or purple and yellow. Pairing these contrasting hues intensifies their individual appearances, particularly if they’re the same value, which can be jarring. If you want to use this type of colour combo, try pairing a lighter or brighter tints of one with darker or more muted tones of the other.
Or, throw all that out the window, and simply choose a combination of favourite colours that you love and that speaks to you. Don’t overthink it. Chances are, you’ll instinctively know what looks and feels right, without worrying about what the rules say.