How to Create Wedding Color Palettes

Colors Run Deep

After saying "yes" to the proposal the real work starts. Planning your wedding is truly a labor of love because it involves merging elements that you and your spouse-to-be would like incorporated into the big day. Weddings are by definition colorful events and all it takes is a keen memory trip back to the one you've recently attended.

From the blushing bride's white wedding dress to the colorful selection of posies and the decor choices that deck out the reception venue; you can see that colors play a vital role in the wedding planning process. You are possibly facing the tough decision of choosing your preferred wedding colors, and most likely, you've realized that it's not as simple as settling for your best hues.

Different colors have symbolic meanings and each pigment also exudes a range of emotions and feelings. Besides just choosing a cohesive wedding color palette you want to make sure that beyond the surface, the pigments are a true reflection of your aesthetic and they also have the power to create the right kind of vibe.

So whether you are considering jetting off to look for wedding venues in London or getting married in a hip city like NYC, the colors you select can set the stage for a fabulous affair!

How To Choose Your Wedding Colors

You have one or two favorite colors and your future spouse also has one or two of their own. It's an easy choice to settle for a combination of your favorites but you might soon realize that the pigments don't exactly compliment each other or they create an outlook that's a bit off. That's the reason why you should approach the wedding color selection process pretty much how you would handle other aspects of the big day.

Your preferences matter but there should be some room for compromise. In general, here are some tips that can help you out with the process of choosing your wedding colors.

Don't Overthink It

Yes, the process of choosing the right wedding colors isn't simply one but neither should it be an overly complicated process. In most cases, you already know the color palette that would be ideal for your wedding. One look at your wardrobe and home decor choices should point you in the right direction.

Perhaps settle for one color you both love and consult the color wheel to choose one or two more complementary tones. The unwritten rule of thumb is to settle for one primary/ focal color, one or two undertones, and introduce texture in the form of metallic accents.

Get Inspired by the Wedding Venue

If you've already locked down the perfect wedding venue, then use the location as inspiration for your wedding color scheme. Outdoor venues tend to bring out the best of cheerfully vibrant tones. On the other hand, locations like refurbished lofts and warehouses function as blank slates and allow you to get as creative as you would like.

If the venue has preset decorative elements, say a cafe location or museum, you can allow those details to guide your choices. Elements like the type of light fixtures, the color of the carpet, and the paint on the wall can also spark ideas in terms of your color choices.

Consider the Season

Just like wardrobe changes, wedding colors can also be influenced by seasonal considerations. For instance, moody tones favor the fall/autumn seasons while bright colors are usually preferred for the summer/spring months. Pastel colors are often associated with spring weddings. Muted mauve pigments paired with silver create a perfect winter combo.

Gold, bronze, and silver accents can also lighten or darken your color scheme in favor of different seasons. Colors like navy blue and earthy neutral tones like gray, black, gold, and blush are versatile and can blend perfectly with various other pigments to create seasonal color palettes.

The Mood You Want to Create

The choices that you make for your big day all come full circle to create a certain mood. By default, weddings should be cheerful occasions and it isn't only vibrant pigments that can create this mood.

It's all about coordinating the right colors and eye-catching combos including yellow, bright pink, turquoise, and red will always exude a fun and lively vibe. Basics like black, white, and navy blue combined with metallic accents create the right outlook for a classic luxe event.

Use your Wedding Theme to Guide Your Color Choices

Again, you might have already settled for a wedding theme and in that case, it should serve as a point of reference when choosing your preferred color scheme. Certain pigments instantly elicit a certain vibe like in the case of burnt orange and marigold yellow which give off an eclectic boho feel.

Mention beach weddings and varying shades of blue, white, and light green come to mind. You also don't have to go for a matchy-matchy aesthetic, particularly if you've settled for a rustic or vintage theme.

Each year highlights certain wedding trends that most couples usually end up incorporating into their weddings. The same applies to wedding colors and in 2021 for instance, metallic gold topped the list of the most popular pigments seen at various nuptials. Navy blue was a close second, and historically, it's often one of the trending wedding colors.

The projections for 2022 reveal that bright colors have gained a resurgence. Peachy pink, green, and the Pantone Color of the Year, which is Veri Peri, are the pigments worth considering for your nuptials.

Settle for what you Love

More than often, you'll end up repurposing some wedding linen, vases, lanterns, and decor pieces that you've bought after the wedding. With that in mind, you should choose these items in colors that you love because they'll double up as home decor once the big day is done and dusted.

Also, work with a wedding mood board to get a bigger picture of how the different colors you've chosen will translate into various aspects of the big day. Make sure that they are colors that look gorgeous on everything from the wedding dresses to the wedding cake and decor pieces.

How to Create Color Palettes

You know the feeling when someone asks you how to ride a bike and wants you to explain it? Or how to write? It is something you inherently know how to do… something you can do without thinking. But when you try to explain it to someone else it seems impossible to put into words.

Well, that was the feeling I always got when people asked me how I create color palettes, or to explain why certain colors go together so well. I knew it in my bones and I knew it when I saw it, but I was never able to put words to it. That all changed this past weekend when I attended Alt Summit’s Alt For Everyone. It was a fabulous series of classes focused on things bloggers and creatives care about – and it was all online!

Laurie Smithwick’s design courses simply blew me away. They were amazing! What she did for me was invaluable: she put a vocabulary of what I know and do here on a daily basis. So now I’m all pumped up and ready to explain how to create color palettes!

Laurie Smithwick’s design courses simply blew me away. They were amazing! What she did for me was invaluable: she put a vocabulary of what I know and do here on a daily basis. So now I’m all pumped up and ready to explain how to create color palettes!

How to Create Color Palettes

These base colors of the color wheel can be divided into warm and cool colors. Basically, your blues and greens on one side and your yellows and reds on the other. Colors right down the middle can go either way depending on what you pair them with. With regards to wedding styling and design, you want to avoid primary colors. I tried it here and it was mission (nearly) impossible to keep it from looking like a kindergarten class.

The basic color wheel can be broken down even further with tints, shades, and tones. These are key because when you are creating your palette, you want to use a family of colors, not just one.

How to Create Color Palettes / tints, shades, and tones

We learned about six ways to use the color wheel to create your palette: monochromatic, complimentary, analogous, split complementary, triadic, and  & we’re going to go over each of them (with examples!). Another thing to keep in mind when creating your color palette is that you always want to include a neutral. This is pretty easy to do with weddings – these are your ivories, whites, tans, browns, beiges, grays etc.

For a monochromatic wedding choose a color, break it down into its family (aka: tints/shades/tones), and add your neutrals. For the inspiration board I chose green and then the neutral I used was white. Monochromatic weddings are my absolute favorite and they look ultra chic and sophisticated when done right!

How to Create Color Palettes / monochromatic

Complimentary color schemes are easy to come up with and look fabulous. Simply choose a color and go directly across from it on the color wheel to find its complimentary color. Pick one color to dominate and break it down into its family. Add your supporting color and then add a neutral. For the inspiration board below the purple family dominates and the yellow supports.

How to Create Color Palettes / complimentary colors

People like analogous color palettes because we see them everywhere. They are found in nature all over the place (for example: think of the different colors on the skin of a peach). To create an analogous look pick two, three, or four colors on the color wheel that are next to each other. You can either use them equally throughout the look you are creating or use one as a dominant color and the others to support it.

How to Create Color Palettes / analogous colors

Ok, that was all pretty easy, right? Now things get a little more complicated. For a split complimentary color palette, choose one color, find its complimentary color directly across from it on the color wheel, and use the colors on either side of it.

If you’re finding complimentary color palettes too much of a contrast, this split complimentary is a great way to go because it softens the look while still remaining bold and visually interesting. For this inspiration board I used red and then blue-green and yellow-green with white for a neutral.

How to Create Color Palettes / split complimentary colors

For vibrant and diverse color combinations use a triadic color scheme. These are colors that are spaced equally around the color wheel. For instance – the yellow, blue, and red each have three other colors between them. And yep! These three also happen to be primary colors – and unless you want that kindergarten look I talked about earlier, you need to break each down into its family to find tints, shades, and tones between them that you love. Then combine with your neutral and enjoy!

How to Create Color Palettes / triadic colors

Color palettes come in either the rectangle (as shown below) or square varieties and work best when one color (and all its shades, etc.. Is dominant and the others serve to support it. Choose one color to be a ‘pop’ color.

Colors might look complicated – but look again. It’s simply two sets of complimentary colors. For the inspiration board shown in this example the dominate color family is red, the yellow serves as the ‘pop,’ and the greens and purples are supporting colors.

How to Create Color Palettes / tertradic colors

I’m so thankful that I was able to take Laurie’s design classes at Alt Summit. It’s so nice to have the words to put to what I love to do! And I really want to know – which of these ways of combining colors is your favorite?

Credits: Inspiration boards in order: green // purple and yellow // sorbet colors // red, white & blue // poolside with burgers and beer // pantone’s vivacious.