This one is a biggy! I am bringing you the ultimate guide to creating a color palette for a wedding or event.
Now, this is aimed at those wanting to really dig deep into colors. It goes in-depth, we chat about color theory and phycology and working with colors from a design perspective. Head to my quick 5 step process if you just don’t have time for all the faff! If you are a geek like me then carry on reading for the deep dive!
I also share different palette options and how to use them for events. If you are a bride or groom looking for advice on color palettes or a wedding supplier, or a creative business looking to learn more this is the blog for you!
If you prefer to print/download and read later grab the printable version. Full of extra information and some templates.
I believe having an understanding of color, how they work together and the feeling they can create is a must for any designer. Most creatives in the wedding industry will have elements of design in their work. Cake makers, florists, planners, and of course stylists and designers. This guide will help those wanting to get into event design but also any creative wanting to understand color palettes and how to work with colors.
So I throw some words around in this blog and it is not imperative you learn them but having an understanding will help you with your color knowledge. Like most, I am still guilty of saying what a lovely shade of blue!
Really shade? That is a tint actually!
This is not something we hear often, never in my case, so don’t get caught up with the terminology but they are useful.
Also, when working with other designers, especially stationers it is good to be able to communicate clearly. Knowing the right terms will help.
Colour is the term we use to describe every hue, tint, tone, and shade we see.
Colour is relative! An object appears colored because of the way it interacts with light. We perceive color through vision, light, and individual interpretation and understanding.
This is important to remember when working with clients or others in general. If I say to you the color blue, each one of you will picture a different color in your head, a slightly different shade or tint of what we would consider true blue. Even with added description. dusty, pale, dark blue we will all picture a different color.
With the digital world, we can create unimaginable amounts of colors. A lot can’t be recreated in the natural world so easily. That is why it is important to work with a mix of shades, tints, and tones when creating an event color palette.
Ask for pictures, and swatches, and share the colors in different formats for clients so they understand a true reflection of the color palette.
Even in digital form, a color may look different not just to someone else because of perception. Screen lighting and setting will affect the look.
A good example is that dress that went around and how people saw two different color sets! Crazy that we can look at the same colors at the same time but see them differently.
We also feel different when looking at colors, which we will discuss next in color phycology.
Color psychology is the study of how colors affect human emotions and behaviors. Each color has a different meaning and feeling that it is associated with.
Some examples of colors and their meanings are listed below:
• Blue is often thought to be calming and soothing. It can be used to create a sense of trust and security.
• Green is associated with health and nature. It can be used to create a sense of balance and harmony.
• Orange is associated with happiness and vibrancy. It can be used to create a fun and festive atmosphere.
• Red is associated with passion and excitement. It can be used to create a sense of energy and urgency.
Primary colors & secondary colors. In the traditional sense, Red, blue and yellow are our primary colors and we use these mixed with each other to make our secondary colors and tertiary colors, and all the rest.
Tertiary colors are double colors if you like, blue-green, red-purple, etc.
In the digital world, things get more complicated. We work within RGB and CMYK and the primary colors are cyan, magenta, and yellow. This is because we are working with light and inks for printing.
Without going into too much depth here I just wanted to mention this. It is something to be aware of especially when working with different suppliers. A graphic designer over hand-painted stationer. Also, cake makers will mix their fondant colors in a traditional sense of colors.
It also affects the color wheel and how we see compliment and analogous colors. We discuss more by looking at the traditional and modern color wheels.
Traditional and modern color wheels. Digital primary colors are different from traditional colors. Because the colors are used by light rather than mixing of colors like traditionally. It is all beautiful maths but I won’t go into all that here!
I just wanted to explain as the wheel and its contrast and compliments are slightly different.
Red, blue and yellow are the primary colors. Orange, green, and purple are the secondary colors.
The tertiary colors are double colors: red-orange, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green, blue-purple, and red-purple.
The color wheel can be split into warm colors (reds, oranges, and yellows) and cool colors (greens, blues, and purples). Warm colors are associated with fire and energy. Cool colors are often thought of as calming and soothing.
Colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel are called complementary colors. For example, blue and orange are complementary colors. When used together, they can create a striking contrast.
Analogous colors are colors that are next to each other on the color wheel. For example, blue, blue-green, and green are analogous colors.
When used together, they can create a harmonious and soothing effect.
The color wheel can also be divided into four quadrants: primary colors (red, yellow, and blue), secondary colors (orange, green, and purple), tertiary colors (red-orange, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green, blue-purple, and red-purple), and neutrals (black, white, and gray).
Primary colors are the most important colors because they cannot be created by mixing other colors together. They are the building blocks of all other colors in the traditional color wheel.
The modern color wheel is slightly different from the traditional color wheel. The primary colors are cyan, magenta, and yellow. These are the colors used by light rather than pigment.
The secondary colors are red, green, and blue. The tertiary colors are double colors: cyan-blue, magenta-red, yellow-green, etc.
As with the traditional color wheel, the modern color wheel can be divided into warm and cool colors. However, because of the difference in primary colors, the division between warm and cool is not as clear-cut as it is in the traditional color wheel.
Colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel are still called complementary colors. However, because the primary colors are different, the complementary colors are also different. For example, cyan and red are complementary colors.
Analogous colors are still colors that are next to each other on the color wheel. However, because the primary colors are different, the analogous colors are also different. For example, blue, blue-green, and green are still analogous colors.
The color wheel can still be divided into four quadrants: primary colors (cyan, magenta, and yellow), secondary colors (red, green, and blue), and tertiary colors (cyan-blue, magenta-red, yellow-green), and neutrals (black, white, and gray).
The main difference between the two wheels is that with the modern color wheel the color combinations increase and with this there is an audience of colors that can be created.
Hue is the name of a color on the color wheel. For example, blue is a hue. The tint is a hue to which white has been added. For example, light blue is a tint of blue. Shade is a hue to which black has been added. For example, navy blue is a shade of blue. The tone is a hue to which both black and white have been added. This makes the color less intense and more muted. For example, pale blue is a tone of blue.
Value is the measure of how light or dark a color is. A color can be made lighter by adding white (this is called a tint) or darker by adding black (this is called a shade).
The value of a color can also be changed by making it more or less intense. This is done by adding a color that is opposite it on the color wheel (this is called a tone). For example, orange can be made more intense by adding red or less intense by adding yellow.
The value of a color is important because it affects how easy it is to see. For example, light colors are easier to see than dark colors.
Saturation is the measure of how pure a color is. A color can be made more saturated by adding another hue that is similar to it on the color wheel or less saturated by adding a neutral (black
So I have given so much theory and rules around color! I have done this as I do believe knowledge is power! Having a good understanding of colors and how they work together means you can experiment and be adventurous!
I also believe in throwing out the rule book and being a rebel! As mentioned before color is relative! If you love a palette, or your couple loves it and it works for the space then go for it!
I think having the underlining knowledge though can help give you the confidence to do this and also the skill to make it work and look amazing.
Here I will share popular color schemes and ways of mixing colors together. Again to give ideas and inspiration.
Again this is a big subject and we will briefly touch on it here as it is an important factor when creating a color palette. Contrast is how the color stands apart from another color or colors.
High contrast, easily stands out. Low contrast, neither stands out over the other. A too low contract can lead to a flat dull palette, while too high can lead to a harsh overwhelming color scheme.
It is not all about the color choice. You need to consider the tone of the colors, and how much grey is added. If very similar in all colors you will have no contrast. I usually always have at least one contrasting color in my wedding palettes. This may be the accent or maybe be a tint, shade, or tone within the main color scheme.
It is all about balance and depending on the overall feel on how much or little contrast you add. Playing with a mix of analogous and complementary colors and adapting and using a mix of tones, shades, and tints of the colors.
This color scheme uses colors that are the opposite of each other on the color wheel. This can create a very bold and striking look for your wedding.
I would recommend using one or two complimentary colors with a base of more neutral tones. To break up the harshness you can use tints, shades, or tones of the complementary or main colors.
Head to my best complimentary color palettes blog for lots of ideas like this one!
If you want to use a complementary color scheme but feel it may be too harsh then this is a great alternative. You take one main color and then the two colors on either side of its complement. This gives you a softer palette while still having that wow factor.
Head over to my best split complementary color palettes blog for some inspo!
Analogous colors are colors that sit next to each other on the color wheel. This can create a very harmonious and calming feel for your wedding.
You can use a mix of all colors within this scheme or pick one or two as your main colors and base the palette around these. Again using tints, shades, or tones of these colors helps break up the colors and stops them from being too ‘matchy matchy’
All the tones, tints, and shades are within one hue color. This is usually how I work with my wedding palettes for the base and main color. You can add so much depth, interest, and even contrast using just the shades, tints, and tones of one color.
If you are new to working with colors monochromatic is the best place to start. You can then start to add contrasting tints or play with an accent color to see how it affects the overall feel and look.
Then take two colors or a tertiary color and get creative building color schemes with different shades, tints, and tones that fall within the two of them. I like to think of it as both colors merging together slowly and all the mix of tones, shades, and tints that make it up.
A good way to start is to have a play on Canva or if you have an Adobe program. Pick your main color and select the color picker box and move the picker around. Every single color in that box is a shade, tint, or tone of your color. You can see how much variety there is and how you can make a color palette full of depth, interest, and contrast just using a monochromatic color palette.
For event design palettes neutrals are used slightly differently. The main reason is we are usually working with flowers and nature.
Also, certain colors can work as a neutral for the palette but may not be neutral in the true sense. i.e. certain greens. They are used in a similar way in interior design. It is neutral with a hue undertone.
I like to think of them as having no impact.
They compliment all the other colors so well and in equal measure, that it has no effect. There is no contrast provided. It works as a great base to build on. I usually pick neutral colors based on the venue or area we are setting up. As it not only needs to be neutral to your colors it also needs to work with its surrounding. Done well it can be the perfect merge of the surroundings and the chosen color palette.
I follow a similar process for most weddings and events. I break my color palette up into 3 parts. I have my base-neutral color, my main color(s), and the accent color.
Even if working with a mixture of colors I will break my palettes up this way. Remember what we spoke about before, if you have the same tone in all your colors they mold well together and no contrast is created.
So in a way you can still bunch as one color when working with this method. Of course, they are not but they have no real effect on each other and any added colors neutral or accent will have the same effect on them equally.
The base color is your neutral color. It will take up 70% to 80% of your design.
It doesn’t have to be white, black, brown, or grey. I do use grey a lot as a base though. There tends to be an overuse of bright white as a base color in weddings, it is usually in its purest form. This creates contrast from the start, which is not wanted for most designs.
Softening the hue slightly or adding a slight undertone can make all the difference to the overall feel. Think taupe, grey-white, and stone colors.
As previously mentioned neutrals don’t need to be pure neutral colors. It is about finding a color that works well with your main colors and accent to achieve the desired feel. You can take a Palette from light and airy to moody and dark with a swap of a base color. You can play with tones, shades, and tints of your chosen palette to manipulate the outcome.
Playing with your neutral against your main color can make the color pop or calm it down and neutralize.
Below are some renders. I have changed only the tablecloth color. This is in the simplest sense to show you the effect of changing or choosing your base neutral. Of course, other elements would change in the design with a real wedding.
With the white and black the colors still pop. They are the colors in their purest form. I personally would use a softer black or white and the white is toned down slightly.
With the grey, you see how the darker red pops while the toned-down reds, the pinks, are more subtle. The copper also has some contrast, more than the lighter red.
With the pink undertone neutral, ideally, I wanted less pink, this is white with a really light red undertone. Hard to achieve with this render. Again, the darker reds pop, and the toned-down lighter reds are softer on the eye.
Also, look at each picture and think about the feeling you have. The black adds a moody modern vides and with the copper contrast high adds a warm feel. The grey for me really neutralizes the whole feel and makes it feel romantic and soft. The white adds freshness and vibrancy to me. The pink I feel works similar to the grey, with a soft relaxed feel and more understated look.
These are of course digital mock-ups but I hope they help you understand the effect of your base on your main colors and the role it plays to create the overall feel for the day.
This is where monochromatic comes in. Sometimes I do this with the base also or instead but for the majority of palettes and for simplicity I will talk about it as the main colors only.
As mentioned monochromatic is all the shades, tints, and tones within a hue/color. You can really play with this depending on the color you choose, you can have a vast range. Take Burgundy, which is a mix of red, brown, and a tint of purple. If you work with burgundy as the main color and look at all the shades, tints, and tones then you will see you can range all the way from red to purple.
I also sometimes use a set of 3 analogous colors mixing their shades, tones, and tints so they melt beautifully together. I love to use just the right amount so it is as if you can’t fully tell where one color ends and another begins.
The best way to learn is to set up the picker and have a play. Here I have 4 monochromatic color palettes. No base or accent. I have done pink, blue, red, and purple. I have shown my chosen color and its code and then picked a palette using the color picker on Canva.
Have a look yourself and have a play and see what palettes you can create. Playing with colors is the best way to learn and grow your understanding.
This is usually a metal; gold, copper, brass, or silver. It doesn’t have to be though, it can be a color also. I often use black as an accent color and it is a great modern accent that adds some wow while keeping it elegant.
Look at your colors, venue, and style, and think about what will work best. If you have a period venue and going for a timeless design then brass would work perfectly, think vintage brass candle sticks running down the tables. If you wanted it to look a little more modern then swapping to gold and simpler candlestick it would change the feel while still suiting the venue.
Even though there is a lot of information in this blog it really does only touch the surface of colors and learning how to use them. I have repeated this but the best way is to practice, and try out color palettes. Have fun, experiment, and enjoy the learning. If you have any questions reach out to me.
You’ve set the date, now it’s time to start planning the details! And one of the first decisions you’ll need to make is what colors you want to use for your wedding. If you’re undecided or just looking for some inspiration, take a look at these 11 gorgeous October wedding color combos!
From warm and cozy shades of orange and red to cool and sophisticated hues of blue and purple, there’s something for everyone planning a fall wedding. So whether you’re planning a rustic barn wedding or a glamorous ballroom affair, these combinations are sure to give your big day that perfect autumnal touch.
The first step if you already have your venue should be to look at what colors will work with your venue. Then think about the season and theme of your day. If you have a favorite color or one with special meaning this can be a good base color to start with and build a palette with the points mentioned.
If you’re planning a wedding in October, there are a few things to keep in mind. The weather can be unpredictable, so it’s important to have a backup plan for bad weather. October is also a popular month for weddings, so be sure to book your venue and vendors well in advance.
And since Halloween falls at the end of the month, you may want to incorporate some spooky elements into your decor or menu. With a little planning, you can ensure that your October wedding is both memorable and enjoyable.
Some of the best wedding colors for October are warm shades of orange, red, and yellow. These colors can create a cozy and inviting atmosphere, perfect for a fall wedding. You might also consider using cool shades of blue and purple. These colors can give your wedding a sophisticated and elegant feel.
Some of the most popular wedding colors for October are orange, red, and brown. Usually, people chose darker, richer, and warm tones to suit the nature around them.
September is the perfect month for a wedding! You still have long days and sunshine. The days and evenings are cooler though and this can make for the perfect wedding day weather.
The season is changing and the begging of September can look so different from the end of the month with nature. You can start to incorporate beautiful rich fall colors into your palette while also keeping some of the lighter summer colors. Making for some stunning September wedding color schemes!
Head to our Autumn color palette guide for more inspo!
Having a September wedding means you can probably still marry outside if you wish. Do have a plan B though as you never know how the weather may change. If your reception or evening is outdoors or in a tent think about how you will keep guests warm will the chillier evenings.
Some of the best September wedding colors are rust and teal, copper and blush, peach and purple, and sage green. Work with your venue and the natural colors that are around.
The colors for September of 2022 are rust, tan, and brown. These are the perfect colors to use for an autumn-themed wedding.
The best way to choose your fall wedding colors is to look at the natural colors that are around you. Think about the leaves changing color, the pumpkins, and the autumn flowers. You can also use colors that represent the season, like rust, tan, and brown.
I love a fall color palette. This season brings rich, deeper warm tones that are a dream to design with! As the leaves start to brown and fall to the ground autumn brings a new feel.
People are ready to start to feel cozier, for a slower pace in life, staying in with the fire roaring. You can create a warm, cozy feeling with the right color scheme and design at your wedding.
The first step if you already have your venue should be to look at what colors will work with your venue. Then think about the season and theme of your day.
If you have a favorite color or one with special meaning this can be a good base color to start with and build a palette with. Use your venue and season to add your extra colors to create a complete color scheme.
If you are planning an autumn wedding then you have picked a great time of year! With fall flowers to work with and the stunning change in nature, I really do believe it is great to plan a wedding.
Go and visit your venue during autumn so you know how it will look on the day. This is hugely important if you are getting married outside or have lots of glass windows. The nature around will change in autumn and this should play a part in the wedding colors you chose.
Also, think about how the change in weather may affect your guests. What items can you include in your day to help your guest feel more comfortable? Offering indoor areas, blankets, and warm drinks. Guest experience should be the front of mind always so make sure you think about having a fall wedding affects them.
Fall brings warm shades and nature gives us the perfect palette to work with.
Reds, oranges, yellows, and greens will all be available from your florist. Picking a mix of these colors for your wedding is a great way to get an earthy feel. Speak to your florist about flowers available, look at their colors, and how you can use that to build your color scheme.
There are so many great colors for a fall wedding! I love shades of orange, red, and yellow. You could also go for muted shades like grey or navy.
The best time to have a fall wedding is September or October. This is when the leaves are changing color and the weather is still mild.
October nature will have truly changed and the richer colors will be in full swing. A rich, warm, and moody palette is perfect for October. Head to our October wedding color palette blog for some ideas.
When it comes to weddings, rustic weddings have been on trend for many years and I do not see them going anywhere soon.
If you’re planning a rustic wedding then you need a unique on-trend rustic wedding color scheme.
That’s why I’ve put together this list of 11 must-have modern rustic wedding colors.
A rustic wedding theme is a popular choice for couples who want to get married in a relaxed and natural setting.
This wedding style often takes place in the countryside or at a barn venue.
The decor for this type of wedding is usually quite simple with lots of natural elements such as wood, greenery, wildflowers and vintage pieces.
A rustic wedding aesthetic is for couples looking for a relaxed, natural wedding vibe.
The first step if you already have your venue should be to look at what colors will work with your venue. Then think about the season and theme of your day.
If you have a favorite color or one with special meaning this can be a good base color to start with and build a palette with the points mentioned.
There are no set colors that work for every rustic wedding but there are some key colors and color combinations that work well for this style of event.
Some popular rustic wedding colors include Neutrals like cream, ivory, taupe, and gray. Earthy tones like brown, earthy green, and terra cotta.
Rust tones and greens have to be the perfect rustic wedding color scheme. Earthy, rustic colors that pair together perfectly to give a natural woodland color palette.
Green and grey is a soft natural color palette and is perfect for a luxury rustic wedding aesthetic. The beauty of this palette is you can play with the shades and tones to suit any season or style.
Rustic spring greens, a refreshing stylish rustic spring wedding palette. This color scheme is simple but stylish and will create a fresh wedding aesthetic.
Moody rustic vibes all around with this color scheme. I just love this dark neutral color palette for a winter rustic wedding or event!
Green and brown just screams rustic autumn wedding to me! I adore these colors for any season though but they work so well with the natural colors of fall.
Woodland rustic vibes with this color scheme. Greens and greys all mixing together to create a fairytale woodland style.
The color combo of 2022! Terracotta and green is the perfect modern rustic color scheme. A mix of boho and rustic and it is just so naturally beautiful.
Celestial and rustic and are a match made in heaven! They both tie in the natural elements and the need to connect with the natural world. Using greenery blues creates a perfect palette for this mixed wedding aesthetic.
Rust, orange, and peach is a huge 2022 wedding color ad I see it carrying on into 2023 and beyond! Playing with the tones and shades means you can create the perfect rustic color palette for any season.
Mixing aesthetics is a great way to make a wedding or event truly unique and personal! Minimal and rustic can in ways seem so far apart but with this neural simple color scheme followed through with the styling it could be a super sleek rustic wedding theme.
Is it even a rustic wedding without a wood slice? I must admit I try to push couples away from the typical wood slice centerpiece for a rustic vibe. Wood is a great texture though to use in interesting ways. This color palette pulls all the colors from wood making it the perfect rustic color scheme.
This palette is great for fall/autumn and winter weddings. It is a perfectly balanced palette with the sage green and peach lighting the moody tones.
Possibly still my favorite color to use in events, dusty blue. Mixed with soft blues and grays and lots of lush greenery it creates a stylish rustic aesthetic.
I think green has to be ‘THE’ color of rustic weddings. A room filled with greenery of all kinds is definitely what comes to my mind when I think of a rustic wedding or event.
Red wedding color ideas. February is the month of love! But also I think it is the month of red! So this week I am sharing my top red color palettes. I love how taking a color and mixing it with different colors can change the whole feel of a design.
So I am mixing it up and showing how versatile red really can be! No matter your style, theme, or season red can work for you! You will find a red wedding color scheme to fall in love with!
So I like to break my palettes into 3 colors for most events. I have my base color which is the one used in 80/90% of the design. Then the main color is the color of the event or wedding. The color everyone remembers. You want to use this in pops though, not all over the space so it becomes overpowering. Remember with both of these colors you want to mix in different shades and tones. Don’t stick to the same exact color for every little item.
Then you have your accent color, usually a metal like gold, copper, or brass. This can definitely be a color also though. This I use to either tie the colors together or add a contract if needed. You will be surprised how much effect an accent color can have on the overall design.
You can of course add in a contrasting color or do a mixed color. It really does depend on the overall design of the day. But for the majority of my weddings, we work with this style of the palette.
As you can see with this red wedding color palette there is one base color, a mix of 3 for the main and then the accent. For me here the main colors are two colors molding together and all the shades and tones in between that melt together to make the beautiful burgundy. Which to me is the perfect mix of purple and red.
I love that this palette is modern, and simple but packs the wow factor. Here you can swap the main color to any color and it will still give a cool modern feel. Yellow works well, it is a great way to do pink also but still have a modern feel.
I love this one for an autumn palette. It is the perfect modern boho vibe. Swap the pink base for a cream base add all the macrame you can and you are in boho heaven. Again the main colors some would say are 3 colors. They are one hue and the shades and tints are from darker to lighter.
This palette is the perfect spring or summer red palette. The greens in the accent come from the greenery in the flowers. Crisps whites help the reds really pop. Giving a bright colorful and fresh palette.
This is perfect for an outdoor wedding. Or if you want to create that garden feel indoors. Using pink and red roses as if natural growing around the venue gives a beautiful secret garden vibe. Here we have taken the red and added more and more amounts of white lightens it to create our pinker shades.
The modern way to do red and pink! I love this palette as you can play around with the shade of grey to change up the overall feel. The darker the grey even edging to black the moody the feel. Using mainly light grey will add some freshness and lighten the look and make the red and pink pop more.
With my full design clients, I love to focus on the detail of the design. I always do these mock-ups. Usually the table setting and any feature areas or focal points of the day. Or if I or my couple can’t envision a certain design these are how I show them and fine-tune the tiny detail myself. Now, if I could draw I would but my creative skills never spilled into the drawing! I am so bad!
So we are working with Palette 5. We have the overall mood board, this is a quick design mood board. My couples get one for each area plus a brief in their design plan.
A normal wedding mood board would be more in-depth than this. I still try not to include too many wedding shots. Flowers are okay but not completely styled looks. We want to be creating something unique not copying.
So for this, we want the table to have a modern moody feel, that was still relaxed and welcoming. We still want it to feel elegant and stylish and of course full of romance. This is done by using organic floral displays in pinks and reds. Then just some extra carefully chosen pieces to finish off the centerpiece design. Then clean simple and minimal table settings. Also, something often overlooked the chairs play a large role in the feel of the room. the wood a similar shade to the copper works well and the more relaxed feel of the chairs makes the room more welcoming.
I hope you found this blog useful and you are now full of red wedding ideas. Remember to keep it simple with your base, main, and accents. Use slightly different colors or shades to add depth and dimension.
Check out some more wedding design blogs.