One of the first questions you’ll be asked, when you announce you’re getting married, is “what are your colours?” It feels like something you’re meant to know right from the get-go - as easy a question as “who are you marrying”. But it can be difficult to choose a wedding colour scheme, especially if you’re not a naturally artsy person.
It’s not always as simple as just picking your favourite shades and hoping you can find accessories to match. You’ll need a rough idea of your wedding colours before you go shopping for decorations, dresses and accessories. It’s something you should start thinking about as soon as you’ve booked your venue and chosen your date.
If you’re stuck, or have no idea where to begin, start here. Our guide will talk you through choosing a wedding colour scheme that suits you down to the ground.
Pick a Colour That Means Something
The first step is to pick a base colour. This is something you can use as a jumping-off point. Your entire wedding colour palette will be based around colours that complement and show off this base shade.
A good place to start is to consider colours which might have a personal meaning to you or your partner. For example:
- Your birthstones. If you’re a May baby (emerald) and your partner was born in February (amethyst), a green and purple wedding could be perfect
- Your engagement ring (the metal it’s made from, or the stone)
- Your favourite colour since childhood, or a colour people associate you with (look at your home decor, or ask friends and family if you’re unsure)
- A colour that means something to you and your partner - like the colour of the dress you were wearing on your first date, or the football team you both support
- What was the colour scheme at your parents’ wedding? You could start a tradition by using the same or similar hues
You might also be inspired by an accessory you plan to wear or include somehow in your wedding. For example, a pair of earrings left to you by your late grandmother.
Examine Your Venue
On your next visit to your wedding venue, take some time to really appreciate and analyse your surroundings. ‘Blank slate’ venues, like barns and marquees, are decorated in a deliberately plain and neutral way. But other venues, such as glamorous ballrooms, hotels and country houses, may offer some colour inspiration.
What colour are the walls in the ceremony room? What about the curtains, and the carpet? Are there any fixed decorative pieces that you can’t remove (such as a wall hanging, or a chandelier)? If the carpets are burgundy, for example, choose colours that complement it (such as blush and sage green or navy blue). Steer clear of bright pink, as it will clash.
Look Inside Your Own Wardrobe
Your big day is all about you and your partner. So, don’t feel that you’re being self-centered by choosing colours that flatter you both. Although you may be wearing white, you’ll still be surrounded by your bridal party and your decorations in photos, so be mindful of this.
For example, if you have pale skin with pink undertones, you probably suit cool colours (such as teal and violet) and silver jewellery. You might want to stay away from scarlet, yellow and orange as your wedding colours. For inspiration, try looking inside your own wardrobe - what colours do you wear the most of?
Don’t forget to take into account your bridal party. Your bridesmaids will be the ones wearing your wedding colours, after all. You could even go bridesmaid dress shopping first, and base your colour scheme around that perfect dress.
Most weddings rely heavily on flowers for decoration. You’ll likely have floral-based centrepieces, bouquets for you and your bridesmaids, and maybe even a flower arch. So, it’s important to consider the kinds of flowers you’d like at your wedding, and use their colours for inspiration.
For example, bright colours like highlighter yellow, royal blue and hot pink are rarely found in nature. If you choose such shades, you might have trouble matching your wedding flowers to your colour scheme (unless, of course, you’re open to artificial or dyed flowers).
If you’re set on having a bouquet of orchids, you might draw inspiration from their natural soft purple, magenta and white hues. Also, it’s important to know which flowers will be in season when you tie the knot. Talk to your florist if you’re not sure.
Consider Your Wedding Theme
Some wedding themes fit better with certain colours than others. For example, if you’re having a ‘winter wonderland’ themed wedding, it’s natural to gravitate to cooler shades such as ice blue and white. Orange or pink might seem very out of place. A rustic, woodsy wedding looks best with muted, natural hues- it suits burlap, linen and wood decorations, rather than highly polished metallic elements.
Not every wedding has a specific theme, of course. But try to picture what kind of vibe you’re going for. White, gold and black, for example, exudes a very classy and glamorous look. Natural shades, such as beige and forest green, will create a more casual, almost bohemian vibe.
Consult the Season
There’s no rule saying that you can only have a pastel themed wedding if you’re getting married in the springtime. And some would argue that the classic seasonal themes are starting to look pretty dated now - for example, October weddings based around autumn shades, with pumpkin decorations and rusty orange bridesmaid gowns.
But you can (and should) use the season to inspire your wedding colour scheme, however gently. Some colours simply look better at certain times of year. For example, bright colors like pink and yellow tend to ‘pop’ in the bright summer sunshine, and look out of place in the gloom of winter. But cool-toned and muted colours, like navy, burgundy and olive, very much suit cooler weather.
Find Your Accent Colours
Once you’ve chosen a base colour, it’s time to take a look at the colour wheel and find matching hues for your accessories. It’s important not to choose too many colours: focus on 2-4 shades. You should also choose some neutral accents, such as silver, grey, beige and ivory.
Colours that look good together can be:
● Complementary. This means they’re directly opposite to each other on the colour wheel, such as yellow and indigo.
● Analogous. This refers to colours that are right next to one another, such as various shades of blue and green.
If you’ve decided on a base colour, but can’t find anything that looks good with it, don’t worry. You can simply use different shades of the same hue - picture an ombre or gradient effect. Alternatively, pick one main colour and select lots of neutral accessories. For example, royal blue with white, grey and silver accents.
Don’t Be Afraid to Stray from Trends
It can be tempting to buy every wedding magazine going, and frantically scour the pages for the latest colour trends. And although this is good for getting some general inspiration, remember that trends come and go. A mint and coral wedding sounds great right now, but is it going to look dated when you’re browsing your wedding album in 20 years’ time?
Of course, if you genuinely love a certain colour and it happens to be on trend, feel free to use it. But you shouldn’t choose a colour scheme just because it’s hot right now. Otherwise, you might end up regretting it. Pick something that appeals directly to you, whether or not it’s popular at the moment.
And remember, rules are made to be broken. If you want an all-white wedding, go for it! Or if you have your heart set on a rainbow theme, with each bridesmaid wearing a different hue, feel free to ignore the 2-4 main colours rule. It’s your special day, and what matters most is that you and your partner are happy.
Design Your Wedding Invitations
Once you’ve chosen your wedding colour scheme, it’s important that you find matching wedding stationery that shows off your colour scheme. Your wedding invitations are supposed to give your guests the first glimpse at your wedding colour palette.
As well as looking good, and tying your wedding together into one cohesive aesthetic, the colour of your wedding invitations will serve a practical purpose. Your guests will use your invitations as their first clue as to how to dress for your wedding. For example, female guests will want to steer clear of your main colour, in case they get mistaken for bridesmaids.
So, be sure to use an invitation that incorporates at least 1 or 2 of your main hues. And make sure that the style of the invitation matches your theme. For example, a glamorous invitation bedazzled with gemstones and satin would probably not suit a rustic wedding in the woods. Instead, this nature-inspired willow wedding invitation might fit the bill. Your guests will appreciate a glimpse of what’s to come!