Choose Your Wedding Colors

Your color scheme for the wedding has the power to set the vibe – so choose wisely. Focusing on the color theme early on is important to ensure that everything else obtained for the wedding is well coordinated and suited to the wedding as a whole. The colors are completely up to you but you will need to take into account where you're getting married, and the formality or informality of your ceremony and reception.

The complexity or simplicity of color schemes are another part of your decision and these will depend on your personal preferences, budget, and patience! Here are the top determining factors to selecting your hues.


  1. Use your favorite shade. You’ve been in love with pale lavender since the first grade, so this is a good place to begin – with what you love. You can tastefully incorporate any color into your wedding decorations by selecting the right hue, and combining it with the right accents.
    • Which colors are you drawn to most? Is there one particular color or several? If there are several colors, are they compatible?
    • Check your wardrobe. Leaving aside the standard office black, what are the other colors that emerge the most? These colors are a good indicator of your general color preferences.
    • Make a color inspiration or Make a Unique Mood Board for Your Room. Get a piece of thick card and place images you like from magazines on the board, images that highlight the colors you're keen on. You can also use color paint charts to help you match the hues and to get subtle shade variations.
  2. Consider the setting. Look at the colors used in your venue’s carpeting, drapery and decorations. If the site has strong colors, you’ll need to select a color scheme that complements. If you already have your heart set on a certain color, you may need to select a more neutrally decorated site but this needs to be sorted out very early on or you may miss out on a good location! However, keep an open mind about colors until you've chosen the venue, because the setting may well suggest the color scheme for you.
    • Older buildings can have very rich, over-patterned curtains and carpets. Check these with care because they can clash badly with your color scheme.
    • If the colors of the venue are very strong and you have your heart set on that venue, consider predominantly white and/or cream for the color scheme as this will be both effective and matching. This will allow you to add a touch here and there of a favorite color without overdoing it, but these splashes of color will tone down any spartan feel of the white theme.
    • For outdoor weddings, look for fresh and light colors that suggest the brilliance of outdoors.
  3. Be prepared to have two different/distinct color themes if your church or wedding building and reception venue are very different in tone. In general, it is probable that you will have more leeway to use colors with the reception than where the wedding ceremony itself is held. However, you can still carry the color theme in clothing and flowers from the place of marriage to the reception, even if you can't decorate the church, town hall, or register office as much as you'd like.
  4. Enlist your favorite bloom. If sunflowers are your thing, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t make it into your décor scheme. Incorporate your predominant flower color – either making it the dominant shade or using it as an accent – and it will all come together.
  5. Consult the season. Decorating is simple when Mother Nature is your guide, so let the natural colors of the season be your inspiration. That doesn’t mean that you’re stuck with prissy pastel decorations during spring or brown and orange during fall/Celebrate Autumn. Just make sure that the wedding colors you choose complement the blooms and foliage that are naturally available during that time of year.
    • Be wary of combinations that usually go with other celebrations, unless it's the right time of year. For example, red and green is associated with the holiday season. While that would be fine for a winter or holiday season wedding, it would be less suitable for a spring or summer wedding.
    • Pastels are best for warmer weather; otherwise they can appear too cold.
    • When thinking about seasonal colors, think of variations of shades and not just the commonly recognizable colors. For example, for fall/autumn, consider maroon, russet, gold, amber, and ochre as well as the usual brown, orange, and red colors.
  6. Remember the Choose Bridesmaids Dresses. If you want your bridesmaids decked "head to toe" in your color, you’ll need to make sure it’s an appealing and flattering shade to wear. You may need to accept variations in the shades to keep each bridesmaid happy, especially if it's a color that one or more of them are not happy to wear.
  7. Get the groom and best man involved. The cummerbund, Make Denim Leg Warmers and a Waistcoat from a Jacket, and tie can all be in the color theme of the wedding. And don't forget the buttonhole.
  8. Incorporate color with care. It is common to have a color palette with up to five main colors for many weddings now but you do need to be careful that the colors don't overwhelm the wedding or create a sense of disjointed themes. Also, exact color matches on everything is overwhelming; instead, go for shade variations on the original colors. Rely on small touches here and there for getting across the wedding color scheme rather than huge bold displays of it, such as the font color on invitations, and little ribbon touches here and there.
    • Use the color theme on the invitations, the place cards, the ribbons around flower arrangements, the flowers, in the flower girl's hair or waist sash, and on the wedding cake.
    • If the color of flowers you really wanted are not in season, rely on white flowers and use the ribbons and other decorative elements in the color of choice instead. This will still indicate the color theme without losing the beauty of the floral arrangements.
  9. Take care with color on the wedding cake. Aim for simplicity of color with the wedding cake, as brightly colored food is not very appealing. Use a good cake maker who is familiar with color matching, and also consider adding flowers to the cake to reflect the color element.


  • Colors that work well with white include: gold, silver, black, pastel pink, fuchsia pink, lilac, and blue.
  • Another consideration when deciding on color is to know the effects that colors have on people's moods. This can help you to decide what sort of "mood" your color theme will suggest or create and may be an important factor for your wedding plans. There are plenty of sites that discuss colors and their mood effects or meanings, just do a Google search, or speak with your wedding consultant for more information.
  • Don't forget that culture plays an important part in wedding colors. Make sure not to choose colors that will, even though they mean nothing to you, have an unpleasant meaning to those around you.
  • Even the bride's dress can be a different color. White isn't essential, it's a tradition from Victorian times but not one you have to follow. There are variants on white (such as ivory, alabaster, cream, and so on) or change the color completely and wear gold, pink, blue, red, or whatever takes your fancy. One warning: it is important to let members of the immediate family know you're not wearing white, so that they can be careful with their own colors.


  • In western cultures it is traditional to avoid black at a wedding. Female guests should also not wear black to a wedding. Black is associated with funerals, and can be perceived as sending the wrong message at a joyous wedding.

Things You'll Need

  • Color swatches

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Sources and Citations

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