Our Expert Designer Shares How to Choose Your Wedding Colors

Whether you’re choosing your wedding colors for your day, or you’re a planner working with clients to help them choose, having the right color combination is one of the foundational elements of all planning. 

Your wedding colors are the root of so many different design choices. Wedding party colors, tablescape designs, invitation suites, and floral arrangements all depend on a curated wedding color palette. 

That’s why our in-house expert is sharing her best tips and secrets to help you learn how to choose your wedding colors:

A luxurious reception complete with a perfectly paired wedding color palette
Photo from Lilly Red Photography​​

Why Is a Perfectly Paired Wedding Color Palette Important:

Having a cohesive wedding color palette that is seen throughout the entire event makes a major difference in the overall look and feel. It creates a unity between each element of the wedding that makes the couple, the guests, and even the vendors feel something special. 

That’s why there is such a heavy emphasis on creating a wedding color palette that is filled with hues that go well together. When they go well, they work together to manifest a mood, a feeling, a vibe, or an aesthetic that everyone can enjoy.

A bride and groom kiss at an altar made of flowers in multiple colors, after couple learned how to choose your wedding colors
Photo from Lilly Red Photography​​
Reception table decor includes vibrant, pastel wedding color palette
Photo from Lilly Red Photography​​

How Many Wedding Colors Should You Have:

There’s no rule that says you can only have a set number of wedding colors in your palette. But, the idea is to not have so many colors that you overwhelm your palette (and therefore you and your guests!). 

Instead, you want to aim for a number that leaves your entire color scheme feeling cohesive. Generally, couples prefer to stay between three to five colors. However, that is a flexible suggestion. Some couples come up with palettes that are only two or three hues. While others create color schemes that are more than five. 

You’ll need to find a balance between your main shades and supporting shades that make the primary one stand out above the rest. We’ll talk about that in a minute!

Bride holds a bouquet of flowers with a vibrant, tropical color palette
Photo from Lilly Red Photography​​
A tropical-inspired wedding reception including a color palette of red, orange, pink, purple, and green
Photo from Lilly Red Photography​​

How to Choose Your Wedding Color: Where to Start

Before you can start building out the technical side of creating your wedding color palette, you have to start with an idea. You’ll need to get inspired so that you have a starting point. After all, there are so many different colors, shades, and tones to choose from. 

So without the proper inspiration, you may feel as though you’re picking randomly out of a hat. And that may leave you less than thrilled with the color scheme you eventually decide on. 

Our in-house expert designer prefers to start with intention. That means finding inspiration with purpose and looking at what matters to you as a couple, instead of what you randomly find on Pinterest. 

Here’s how she suggests doing that: 

1. Consider What’s Sentimental and Personal

First and foremost, you (or your clients) have to consider what’s special to them. Think about things that are sentimental and personal. A wedding day is a deeply intimate affair, which means couples shouldn’t make planning decisions solely based on what they can find on Pinterest or the internet. 

Instead, take the time to reflect inwardly about what colors might mean the most to you. Is there an annual trip to a specific destination that you never miss? If so, what about pulling inspiration from that location? 

Is there a special memory the two of you share that you want to be reminded of on your wedding day? If that’s the case, what colors can help you recreate that in your wedding palette? 

Before anything else, and before getting swayed by the thousands of wedding color combinations online, think of what’s important to you.

Bride and groom kiss at a white wooden altar with bohemian macrame and large green palms with pink and white tropical flowers
Photo from Lilly Red Photography​​
A vibrant, tropical color palette for a wedding on the beach in Jamaica
Photo from Lilly Red Photography​​

2. Always Think of the Location

The next way to get inspiration involves considering your location. The location, whether it’s an epic destination or a venue in your hometown, plays a major role in what your wedding day looks and feels like – regardless of the color palette. 

So, it’s always a great idea to find something that balances with the location. 

You can also think of the location as a source of inspiration itself. For example, are you jetting off to a beach wedding in Jamaica? If so, you can choose a vibrant, tropical color palette that is cohesive with the destination. 

Depending on the mood you want to create, you can keep your wedding colors simple and allow the destination to do most of the talking, like in this wedding here. 

Or, if you want a more extravagant wedding, you may want to choose your wedding colors based on how you can transform the location. If you prefer to take this route, our design expert recommends finding wedding colors that still complement the destination, such as this Villa Astor wedding on the Amalfi Coast.

A large flower arrangement at the entrance to a wedding venue filled with a perfectly created wedding color palette
Photo from Lilly Red Photography​​
A large flower arrangement filled with different color flowers after the couple learned how to choose your wedding colors
Photo from Lilly Red Photography​​

That said, if you are creating a tented wedding or reception, then you’re starting with a blank canvas. In that case, you have much more freedom and flexibility to create a wedding color combination that still creates that unified experience.

3. Decide What Kind of Wedding You Want to Have

Since any kind of color combination creates some kind of mood and feeling, you have to take the kind of wedding you want into consideration. Then, you can base your color choices around that. 

For example, deep ruby reds mixed with marigold and jewel-toned blues create a much different sensation than a sage green and blush wedding color scheme. So if you’re wanting a romantic, garden party-inspired wedding aesthetic, then a winery color palette wouldn’t match. In that case, you’d want to opt for something more along the lines of green and blush. 

If an opulent, storybook, formal wedding sounds perfect, then a winery color palette of reds, emeralds, deep yellows, and more would be a great route to consider.

A moody, opulent wedding color palette with jewel tones
Photo from Lilly Red Photography​​
A winery color palette of reds, emeralds, deep yellows, and more.
Photo from Lilly Red Photography​​

But if you like the sound of a beachy, relaxed wedding day, then a vibrant tropical color palette, such as green and coral,  may be an excellent choice! 

The point is to consider the mood and the aesthetic you want to create for you and your guests. Then use that to base what colors you should look at.

4. Choose Based on What Fits You

Finally, when it comes to how to choose your wedding colors, you’ll always want to consider what fits you. You shouldn’t opt for a color palette that doesn’t fit you well just because it matches your destination or location. 

If you know that you don’t like red and that it’s not your best color, then don’t opt for a red color palette. There are plenty of options when it comes to choosing wedding colors that will still match your location and that will fit you better.

A lavender inspired wedding color palette seen at the wedding reception
Photo from Lilly Red Photography​​
A soft, floral wedding color palette of lavender and light blues
Photo from Lilly Red Photography​​

How to Technically Create a Wedding Color Palette

Once you have your inspiration and a starting point for choosing your wedding colors, it’s time for you to start creating your palette. 

There is an art to curating a scheme, so if you ever find yourself stuck, work with a planner or a designer who has the experience to help you pair hues together.

1. Balance Your Colors Using a Wedding Color Chart

When you see a wedding featured in Brides or Vogue, you’ll immediately fall in love with it – even if they’re not your favorite colors. That’s because those color palettes are balanced. 

There’s a reason why colors like turquoise and beige don’t go well together. They’re not balanced on a wedding color chart. 

When choosing all of the colors for your palette, find ones that complement each other. They’ll usually be opposite each other on a color chart.

A Puglia, Italy wedding filled with a fresh, light wedding color palette of white, green, light blue, and light pink
Photo from Lilly Red Photography​​

2. Start with Your Main Shades First, Then Add in Supporting Shades

Before you start combining all kinds of colors together, take it slow and break it down into steps. 

The first thing you should do is start with your main shades. And yes! We do mean shades. You can have more than one main color if you’d like. There’s no rule saying that’s not allowed. 

Think of your main colors as the star of the show. Then, your supporting shades are like your side characters. Those supporting colors should “boost” that of the main character. It should make the primary shades feel richer, deeper, or more vibrant. 

For example, in this Villa del Balbianello wedding, the main hue of the day was a rich burgundy color. To make it stand out even more, the designers paired it with marigolds, hints of magenta, and even jewel-toned blues. Those supporting shades truly made the red pop.  

Deep ruby red wedding color palette with pops of orange, yellow, pink, blue, and green.
Photo from Lilly Red Photography​​
Bride holds a bridal bouquet of pink, red, merlot, and sand colored roses
Photo from Lilly Red Photography​​

3. Consider Having Slight Variations of the Color Palette for Different Vendors

It might sound counterintuitive, but it’s actually perfectly okay to have slight variations of the color palette for different vendors.

We definitely aren’t saying that you should have a teal and coral color palette over here and pair it with a sage and champagne color palette over there. 

But we are saying that you can create one main wedding color palette. That can be the inspiration for all of the different elements you’ll need to choose colors for. From there, you can create slight variations to add visual interest while still maintaining cohesion and consistency. 

For example, your wedding party colors may all be green. But you may decide that you want each person to wear a slight variation of the hue, like at this wedding on the beach in Jamaica. 

Or in this Autumn Villa Lario wedding, the floral arrangements for the wedding ceremony differ just slightly from the bridal bouquet - which has pops of yellow. 

And finally, this Villa Erba Lake Como wedding balanced color palettes between the villa’s natural hues and the couple’s tablescape designs. Rather than competing with the rich, jewel-toned walls of the villa, the couple paired it with a soft, elegant table-setting design.

Villa Erba wedding venue in Lake Como with large crystal chandeliers and opulent wall murals
Photo from Lilly Red Photography​​
A soft wedding color palette pairs with an ornate wedding venue
Photo from Lilly Red Photography​​

When it comes to how to choose your wedding colors, the task can feel overwhelming because of the many different choices you have. But finding the foundations of choosing a color palette and then pairing it with the technical aspects of creating a color palette can make the decisions feel much easier! 

And to help you keep the inspiration alive, we’ve created a 2023 Color Trends Report which is complete with mood boards and color palette ideas to help you get started!

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