How to Choose Wedding Color Schemes

Whether it will be just you and your beloved barefoot on the beach with a minister taking your vows, or the gala social event of the season at the altar of a big church with a full reception in a grand ballroom, wedding color schemes are an essential part of your planning and budgeting. Even if you’re just urging the groom to buy a new shirt to complement the bridal dress, casual as it may be, the colors you pick really make a difference.

The most important consideration is what kind of mood you want to create for the ceremony and celebration afterward. A rule of thumb follows that as the feeling of the wedding lessens in formality, more color can be introduced into the wedding color scheme. Very formal weddings almost dictate classic white for the bride with just a splash of pastels in the bouquet, subdued colors or pastels for bridesmaids dresses, black tuxedos for the groomsmen and black or gray for the groom.

Starting with the Bride’s Dress and Bouquet

Bridal Bouquet of Lilies

Wedding Color Schemes Center on the Bride

As more color and textures are included, they must center around the bride’s dress color and her bouquet. These in turn must be determined by the bride’s taste, of course, but also by her hair color, eye color, and skin tone. Bridesmaids dresses and shoes need to pick up a color of the bride’s color scheme, but not overwhelm the center of attention. It’s a good idea to actually use a color wheel to choose complementary hues in your color scheme. Pick one up at an art supply store or print one out from the internet. Even experienced professionals use them to create soothing consistency throughout.

A lesser, yet still important consideration is the environment of the ceremony and reception. Churches and chapels are often rather dark inside. This can be especially problematic for the photographer and videographer if your wedding color scheme calls for darker colors. The reception hall may also have a definite color dominance; wood paneling, strong color paint on the walls and some dreadful carpeting, for instance. You can’t do much about the carpeting, but if you and your wedding planner make a visit to the locations, you may be able to do something to brighten up the decor to complement the wedding dress.

Don’t forget your guests! You can clue them into the mood and theme of your special day with the wedding invitation. Again, a formal black and white theme can be reflected in an elegant embossed card with gold or silver calligraphy. You might also mention “black tie” if appropriate. A colorful, fun design with some hints of the wedding color scheme will let your guests know the level of informality of the event so they won’t show up overdressed and feel out of place.

About the Author

KatRama BrooksI'm a risk taker and visionary fascinated with the myriad of possibilities available to us as we journey through life. Brought up in Shanghai, I lived in La Paz, Bolivia and now reside on Kauai. I speak three languages fluently. I used to be a graphic designer, now own two wedding companies, and love to do ritual and ceremonies. I am also an astrologer and like working with subtle energy fields. I'm married to a wonderful man who is also my business partner, a great wedding photographer and writer. I love nature, dancing, singing, and traveling.View all posts by KatRama Brooks