How to Choose Your Wedding Color Palette

Find the perfect colors for your wedding with this advice from event designer Sasha Souza.

As you begin to consider the look and feel of your wedding, think about color: The hues you love — as well as those you dislike. "Before I start any wedding design, I always create a color palette," Sasha states. Once you know where you’re having your wedding and when, every event vendor you meet with will want to know the details, meaning your colors and the overall look.

wedding color palette
Photo Credit: Damion Hamilton

Weddings are rarely monochromatic, says Sasha. “Even white has hundreds of thousands of shades.” White can be mixed with lime green or accented with peach, creating a chic, subtle palette — but why stop there?

Do not feel you have to go with the oft-suggested one bold color and one accent color, Sasha says. Her romantic, spirited palettes typically comprise anywhere from five to eight colors and are used throughout the event, from ceremony to cocktails, reception and after-party.

Take a nuanced approach to how you will use color, allowing for variations on a theme. For example, your wedding could start out with lighter tones for the ceremony, making its way through several shades to deeper, more saturated versions as the celebration unfolds, creating a gorgeous ombré effect. These palettes are a particular favorite of Sasha’s: “They let us use a wide color spectrum and make each part of the wedding feel connected.”

It is not uncommon to be unsure of where to begin when determining your palette. First, you need to find something to inspire you throughout the design process. Maybe it's a place, either real or imagined: The azure blues of a favorite seaside spot; a multi-hued Downton Abbey-esque english garden. Or a mood: serene and uplifting or joyously high-energy. Get your creative juices flowing by spending time perusing paint chips at a hardware store or fabrics at a craft center. “My best advice is to find a photo that moves you,” says Sasha. A single photo can contain many palette possibilities, depending on which color combinations you choose to focus on. Put your colors together and then wait a day or two, Sasha says. “If you come back to your palette and it still makes you feel joyous and excited, you’ve found your color inspirations.” 

Once you've chosen your palette, it’s all about implementing your colors. The best and easiest places to incorporate your palette are going to be in floral design (bouquets, centerpieces, ribbons), tabletop (linens, tableware, vessels), lighting and printed items — all can be used to display color and introduce your palette to your guests.

If you're designing your wedding yourself, try to lay out a full table design before you get too far along in your planning so you can see your palette come to life in full color. Call the rental company where you are getting your chairs, linens and tableware to schedule a preview meeting where you, either alone or with your floral designer, can create a mockup table. If you want outside opinions keep them limited to your groom and two trusted friends, tops.

Once you've determined your overall design, it is best to turn it lover to somebody who can properly implement it for you on the day of the wedding, whether a hired event designer, floral designer or a trusted group of friends. Designing your wedding should feel uplifting and exciting. Use your newfound color skills to make it the best wedding that your guests —and you — have ever been to.

Get 10 ideas for your wedding color palette >>