How to Choose Your Wedding Colors

I'm not sure when it happened, but at some point in the history of weddings, brides decided that when picking wedding colors, they needed to pick just two. You may not have noticed, but when you ask a bride today, "What are your wedding colors?," she will likely respond with "oh blue and yellow," or "pink and orange," basically, "_____ and ______" - fill in the blank with two colors, you get my point. 

But there's a problem with this idea, because 9 times out of 10, the two colors are completely contrasting. This is because they are typically chosen for a specific reason, maybe pink is the bride's favorite color and orange is the groom's favorite color - so naturally, they pick pink and orange. Or maybe you pick the colors of your favorite sports teams, etc. And while I love the idea of choosing colors with a meaning behind them, we need to be careful that we aren't just throwing two random colors together. To avoid this, I like to help my brides develop a "wedding color palette" rather than "wedding colors." Today, I'm showing you an example of how I develop a wedding color palette, as well as explain how having a color palette instead of two wedding colors will make your wedding design much more cohesive.

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First, let's start with an example so you can see what I mean. One of my brides (who also happens to be my future sister in law!), is getting married in June of next year. When I first started talking to Stephanie about wedding colors, she told me that they had decided on purple and orange. Stephanie and Mitch love the Ravens and the Orioles, so it wasn't hard to guess where the purple and orange came from! However, I knew that since purple and orange are such bold, contrasting colors, we would need to work on a color palette to make sure they compliment each other well rather than competing with each other. Before their initial consultation, I used Pinterest to come up with some inspiration for a color palette. 

I started off by just searching "purple orange wedding." Here's what my search returned.

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Notice how bold and competing these colors are together. Also, because they are both the darker version of each color, these photos look more like a fall wedding rather than a summer wedding. I knew this look wouldn't work well for their June date, so I started searching for softer colors similar to purple and orange.

Next I tried "lavender peach wedding." Now look what Pinterest returned.

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We're getting somewhere! These colors are much softer and more complimentary. And notice! There aren't just two strong colors sticking out in every picture - we actually see a color palette shining through. Yes, the focus is the lavender and peach, but there are also some greys, whites, greens and pinks as accent colors.

With this prettier group of search results, I started pulling images that I thought incorporated lavender and peach well. Using those images, I then created this inspiration board in Adobe Illustrator.

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I love creating cohesive inspiration boards because they really help you narrow in on a color palette. (I actually talked a lot about using Pinterest and creating inspiration boards in this blog post.) From this inspiration board, we see that the primary colors are lavender and peach, but we also have accent colors.  I love the neutrals - grey, white, and beige - that offer a clean, light, airy feel. The warm peach and tiny pops of green remind me of summer, and while there is mostly lavender, there are also some pops of a deeper purple in the florals. From this process, we successfully took the initial idea of purple and orange and turned it into a color palette that flows and is appropriate for their venue and summer date. 

When picking out your color palette, I suggest picking one or two main colors (complimentary colors, not contrasting colors) and then add 2-3 accent colors. It's good to have some neutrals that can be used for background items and it's important to pick one deeper color that can be used for text or signs so it's easier to read. I recently blogged about an online resource called Violet that provides brides with a free way to create a style guide for their wedding. One of my favorite parts of Violet's online tool is the ability to play around with color palettes. I created the below color palette for our example using their tool!

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Notice how we brought a lot of the colors from the inspiration board into this palette. Violet makes it easy to play around with a bunch of colors and once you create your entire style guide (I cover an example of creating a Violet style guide in this post), they provide you with the exact hex values for all of the colors you chose so you can reuse the colors in all of the design aspects of your wedding.

Having a complete color palette instead of just two wedding colors really helps define a cohesive design. I find that having a color palette allows you to have much more diversity when you are designing the details of your wedding. You're not forced to pick either purple or orange when designing a welcome sign, picking out napkins, or selecting invitations. You're instead picking from a variety of colors that you already know work well together. This ability will allow your design to remain cohesive without being overpowering with just two colors.

I hope this post inspires you to come up with your own wedding color palette! Pinterest and Violet are both great tools to use while you are playing around with colors and I highly recommend using them!

xoxo, Lyss

P.S. - I'm sad to say it, but I think I may miss my very first Monday post next week. This week is crazy busy with my first big styled shoot on Saturday and then the Ashley Virginia Events workshop on Sunday! I'm so excited and it's going to be SO much fun, but after a busy busy week and jam-packed weekend, I most likely won't have time to prepare a blog post. Be sure to stay tuned on everything that's going on over on Instagram though @lovelybubblyevents! I can't wait to finally share what I've been working on!

Meg S.

Meg S. is a graphic designer and blogger hailing from the small state of Rhode Island. Armed with her MFA in graphic design from SCAD and loads of squarespace knowledge, she runs her own studio Meg Summerfield Creative, as well as her food blog Summerfield Delight. She is also the founder and editor-in-chief of Squarespace Design Guild, a membership group for designers who use the squarespace platform.