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choosing your wedding colors

8 Steps to Choosing Your Wedding Colors

Picking your wedding palette isn’t exactly as easy as choosing your two favorite colors and making them the foundation for every wedding detail. Get started with our guide for selecting your wedding hues.

Photo: Katelyn James Photography

1. Get Inspired by Your Setting

First things first: location. Have a color palette in mind as you start your venue search. Think about what colors you’d like to use, and whether you’d want to prioritize finding the perfect venue or having your perfect color palette. If you find a venue that you love, but it doesn’t work with your colors, you’ll want to switch up a hue or two so you don’t bust your budget on trying to cover up or distract from the fact that it doesn’t match. Venues like converted warehouses, lofts and tents are all blank slates, meaning you can really add as much or as little as you want to carry out your vision for color and style. If you’ve already found the perfect venue, use the space to help you come up with your color scheme. The colors of your reception space and its surroundings, whether it’s the vintage Persian rug in the dining room or the view of the ocean, can spark an idea. And that way, you won’t have to work against a clashing color palette and your colors will enhance what you love about your venue.

2. Keep Your Priorities In Mind

While the venue is usually the biggest choice you have to make in your wedding planning, sometimes there are other details to consider that might come before choosing your colors too. If you’ve always dreamed of having your wedding overflowing with purple dendrobium orchids, then you should use that as a starting point for your palette, instead of trying to figure out a way to work it in later. You don’t want to choose a color scheme only to find that a must-have, like your grandmother’s ivory table runner, looks out of place or may get lost in the décor rather than standing out like you want it to.

3. Think Seasonally

Just like your wardrobe, your wedding color scheme can be inspired by the time of year you’re saying “I do.” Think about the shade you want to use to bring out the season in your color palette. Rosy pink is perfect for spring, while a brighter coral is a summer staple. For fall, a rich fuchsia pairs well with other jewel tones, and blush and silver are a pretty wintry combo. Don’t shy away from colors you love though just because of seasonal color “rules,” which have pretty much gone the way of wearing white after Labor Day. Light pastels and barely there hues, like buff, can work for a fall or winter wedding. The trick is to concentrate on texture, and maybe even bring in a stronger accent color.

4. Set the Mood

Your wedding colors can also help create a vibe for your wedding day. If you’re going for a lot of drama, then a dark or jewel tone palette, like ruby red and black or emerald and gold, is a better choice than, say, light pastels. Think about the style and atmosphere you want to have, whether it’s relaxed or nostalgic, and what colors put you in that mind-set.

5. Look to What You Love

The colors that inspire your home décor are ones you know you can live with for a long time (and it’s an extra perk that leftover items like Moroccan lanterns will get used after your wedding day). Open your closet: What color clothes and accessories are you drawn to? Use that as a starting point for choosing your wedding hues.

6. Do Your Research

Magazines, art galleries and friends’ weddings are all great sources for inspiration. While you wouldn’t want to choose a color combo just because it’s on trend, looking towards art and design may help you see colors you already love in a new way.

7. Consult the Color Wheel

You don’t need a degree from art school to pick your palette, but there are some basic principles to follow. Typically, colors that go well together are ones that are opposites because they pair a cool and warm (examples include orange and sky blue and turquoise and coral). Other color pairings that work are “neighbors”—they’re similar to each other and share a primary color (think: sunshine yellow and melon orange or fuchsia and blush). A classic way to build your color palette is by pairing a bright, saturated color with a neutral, like violet and gray or blush and gold.

8. Don't Overthink It

It’s easy to get caught up in the idea that you have to have a strict wedding color palette. If you’re early in the planning process, you’ll probably get asked, “What are your colors?” a lot by friends and family, and that can put pressure on you to pick the “right” hues. But color doesn’t have to play the major role that it’s sometimes made out to be. While your palette will inform a lot of your wedding decisions, like your flowers and your bridesmaid dresses, you should use it as a guideline instead of a rule. Not every part of your wedding has to match perfectly, so don’t stress on having every detail color-coded just right. Instead, think of your wedding planning in terms of style, formality, texture and mood, in addition to color.

-- Simone Hill

See More: Wedding Colors , Wedding Style