3 Fail-Proof Tips to Help Choose Your Perfect Wedding Colors
- Bridal Basics • Last updated Jan. 9, 2018
Choosing the perfect wedding colors that will create the backdrop for your big day is not only important—it is very personal. Most of what is out there now is wordy ‘guidebooks’ or arbitrary color patterns that the author liked but offer no real help addressing the different intricacies of each wedding.
This is a tip sheet that attempts to clearly outline how to choose the colors that work for your wedding.
Choosing your wedding’s colors can be a daunting task. The best thing is to start out simple. At this point don’t worry about complimentary colors, accents, or specifics. Here’s what to do:
- Take advantage of some of the resources we listed at the end of this article to view different colors and get inspiration.
- Find individual colors that you like. Don’t worry about what you’ll use them for or if they’re matching sets. Simply grab 20-25 colors that speak to the both of you.
- Grab good quality pictures of both the bride and groom, ceremony, and reception venue.
- Find a way to lay the colors and pictures out next to one another. Swatches, a binder, physical pins, or mood boards are great ways to do this.
- Use these for the next section.
Narrow Down Your Options
At this point you’ll be using the parts of your wedding that are already determined to refine what colors you can work with. It’s important to observe the scene and to address what type of environment these colors will be set in. We’ve listed them below, starting with the most important elements first. Though these aren’t the only factors to determine your color options, they should be weighed heavily in your decision.
- The Venue(s): This is often overlooked but one of the most important. The ceremony and reception venues are the backdrop of your entire wedding. For example orange might seem like a great addition to your theme but if the church has deep reds, those will really clash.
- If indoors, take note of the architecture, furniture, artwork, lighting and any colors. If outdoors take note of what the lighting will be that time of day, as well as surrounding colors like green forests or blue water. Moving forward, test any potential colors with pictures of the venue.
- Your Look: It’s not just about the right color combination. The harsh reality is that if the colors don’t work well with your skin tone, body style, or hair, they will end up taking away from (instead of adding to) your picture-perfect wedding. There are no right or wrongs, it’s more about what you think looks best.
- Take pictures with any possible colors for yourself, the bridal party, or the decorations, as you’ll be in pictures with all of them. In the picture try your best to match the lighting at the locations.
- Your Theme: Yes, the color scheme is a part of your wedding’s theme, but the other aspects of your theme should partially determine the colors as well. If you’re going for a very formal, timeless wedding, you may want to avoid seasonal or trendy colors. On the flip side, if you’re having a multi-cultural wedding, consider pulling colors from those customs and identities.
- Your Style: This is your wedding, so you want to be able to not only express yourself but feel absolutely comfortable on your Big Day. Your style won’t be able to shine through if it’s consumed by elements like clashing colors at the venue or black dresses on bridesmaids with very fair skin.
- If at this point you feel like there aren’t many feasible options left after considering the first three items we addressed, find other ways to express your style outside of color. Things like the type of dress, jewelry, accents, and the wedding agenda itself are great ways to express yourself.
- Season & Location: While often the first on many “How-To” articles, if your wedding is indoors it should really be the last. Once you walk inside the venue, nature’s elements like the weather are all but forgotten about. Dates are more frequently being based on venue availability, and not the theme or season you want your wedding to be set. You don’t want to limit the wedding’s colors just because your ideal date was booked.
- Note, if your wedding is outdoors this should be considered your Venue, in which step number one applies.
Tips to Make the Best Choice
Now that the scenery of your wedding has helped you narrow down your options, you should have anywhere from 5 to 10 colors at this point. Now it’s time to make some decisions. We’ve put together a few precise tips that will allow you to make confident decisions.
- Choose your top 5 primary colors that are natural. Like everything in life, the most natural option is the best. These colors are pure, unrefined and found in the wild. These shades have the most emotional strength, and often more versatility for color pairings than artificial hues.
- Your primary color will be one of the most prominent characteristics of your wedding.
- This is the starting point. Not a final decision.
- Chose 3-4 colors that work well with your primary color. Having 4 or 5 colors is likely too much, we’ll pair these down later. Try using one of our color matching tools or the Mood Board Calendar we put together for inspiration.
- Get some outside opinions. Especially if you’re struggling, reach out to trusted friends, bridesmaids, and family members that you feel have great taste or a creative flair. They can give great insight and help you narrow down your options.
- With the new color additions you’ll want to check the pairings again with the scenery elements above to make sure they will still work and look good. Take some pictures holding these colors close to you and see what they look like through a camera’s lens.
- Look up these color combinations in things like bouquets, dresses, or table settings. If there’s none out there you will want to actually create some physical mock-ups to ensure they work well in the roles you’re planning for them. Do things like going to a florist and placing the colors together or find a dress in a store you can match up with some color swatches.
- Settle with one or two color groupings that you like the best. Then pair down the 4-5 colors to 3, maybe 4 to use throughout your wedding theme.
- Make sure your pairing is timeless. While it’s tempting to have all ‘in-style’ colors, you really want this day (and the pictures) to be timeless. While you can incorporate some trendy elements, it’s always a safe bet to go with more traditional colors. Search “Fashion in the 1980’s” for a reference.
- Realize not everything has to be determined right away. Sometimes it’s best to work through the wedding planning process, as ideas will often present themselves over the coming months.
- Our Ultimate Guide to Wedding Planning E-Book.
- Photo Gallery: Unsplash is a beautiful user-submitted photo site with stunning HD photos that can give you inspiration for natural colors or you can search specific seasons.
- Mood Board makers
- Sherwin Williams Color Generator