How to choose a wedding colour scheme

They’ve done it! That special someone has finally popped the question and wedding planning is in full swing. Potential dates, venues, dresses, suits, and 1,001 other things need organising. It’s exciting, thrilling, and a little daunting. It’s almost absurd that creating your personal wedding colour scheme might be an intimidating idea. Of course, those colours have to match, complement the venue, hit the ambience, and support, well, everything.

Where do you even begin? Do you go for dusted rose or royal emerald, pale apricot or muted teal? What even is hunter green?

Feeling a little overwhelmed? That’s ok, step back and take a breath. Just because planning the big day is stressful doesn’t mean you and your fiance can’t have fun making preparations. And let’s face it, there’s something entrancing about mixing and matching potential colour combinations to find that perfect fusion of hues that is you.

So sit back, pour a glass of prosecco, and we’ll walk you through how to create a selection of potential wedding colour schemes. We’ll even share three of our favourite palettes at the end!

Picking Your Base Colour

At this point, you’ve likely already got a few colour combinations in mind. That’s good, keep them handy, but first, we need to narrow your choice down to one specific colour.

This is your base colour, the foundational element of your potential wedding colour scheme palette. While we want a varied and complementary selection, having a base colour is vital to ensure the rest of your chosen tones blend perfectly rather than clash horribly. And as the most prominent colour in your palette, getting it right is essential.

Fortunately, it’s very easy to do. It could be as simple as picking your favourite colour or matching the hues of your chosen flowers. Perhaps there’s a colour that means a lot to you and your partner or that compliments you physically? Make sure you check out our complete guide to choosing wedding flowers to give you some inspiration!

Thinking about these things is a great place to start while considering how your chosen colour is going to interact with other key wedding elements.

What Is Your Venue?

Arguably the most important part of any wedding after the date, your chosen venue is going to play as much a key role in your choice of base colour as yourself. You don’t want your choice to contrast sharply with the venue’s decor so there are a few things to consider.

Is it indoors or outdoors? Certain colours complement certain places. More natural colours are going to suit an outdoor venue far better than bright pastels.

Will that first dance in a dazzling ballroom or rustic barn? Barns and marques again offer more neutral colours, letting you be more daring in your wedding colour scheme. Preset venues on the other hand, like stately homes, are going to have elements you can’t change. If the carpet’s a deep navy blue, you’re going to want a colour that compliments it.

What Atmosphere Are You Going For?

Going the traditional route? Black or white are the obvious choices and both lend an air of sophisticated style. Planning something more bohemian? Perhaps select a forest beige or green.

It’s important to consider the type of vibe you want your wedding to have. Striking jewel colours like ruby and emerald give off drama and Hollywood glitz whereas lighter hues like sky blue give a more carefree feel.

What’s The Season?

Spring, summer, fall, and winter all give off different moods and you might want your base colour to reflect that. Here are some of the more popular colour choices for each of the seasons:

  • Spring – Blush and dusty greens all lend themselves well to the more romantic time of the year.
  • Summer – Bright reds and light purples add even more glow to the summer months.
  • Fall – Burnt oranges and deep reds really hit the fall vibes and act as perfect transitional colours, much like the falling leaves.
  • Winter – Deep greens and whites help capture that wintery feel and provide an almost regal feeling to the celebrations.

And the season you choose is going to dictate what’s in bloom. Consider what colour might compliment your flower choice or vice-versa if you haven’t already.

With all that in mind, it’s important not to rush this part. Take your time, experiment, and narrow your options down to four or five potential colours.

Picking Your Accents

Once you’ve settled on a selection of base colours, it’s time to pick the tones to compliment them.

Don’t let the wealth of options and their myriad names intimidate you, especially if you’re unfamiliar with what colours work well together. There’s a very simple way to pick your accents.

Take one of your base colour options and find its colour wheel. Now, look at the colours that sit directly opposite and either side of it. Those right there are your complementary colours.

Want your accents to stand out? Go for the colours opposite. After a selection of similar tones? Pick the shades that sit either side of it.

Now don’t go overboard here if you see a lot of shades you like. It can be tempting to throw in every colour that takes your fancy but you don’t want to overwhelm the base colour. Most experts recommend your wedding colour scheme be made of  2-3 shades on top of your base colour, 2 complementary colours and one metallic or neutral tone that takes the edge off.

Making It Your Wedding Colour Scheme

With all these things in mind, it’s time for you and your partner to let your arty side out. Mix, match, and have fun making exotic combinations before building a list of palettes, and finally pick your favourite. (This is where you can finally go back to those earlier preset colour schemes that took your fancy.)

Remember, there are no hard and fast rules to picking your wedding colour scheme and it’s up to you and only you to pick what colours you want.  Don’t let a current trend or overzealous wedding planner dictate your selection. You don’t need to choose any of the set wedding colour combinations. If you like a particular shade or tone that works with your base, go for it!

And that’s it. Pretty simple, right?

So go out there, find your colours, and make the big day that much more memorable!

Wedding colour combinations

And as promised, here are three of our favourite palettes:

Emerald, ruby, and mauve

Classic rich jewel tones. Going with a deep emerald and ruby combination gives a luxurious vibe to your wedding while avoiding any ostentatiousness. Adding in the mauve helps give a more relaxed feel.

Neutral hues

Brown might not be a colour you often relate to weddings, but using a variety of muted brown hues can be the perfect compliment for a down-to-earth, naturally themed wedding. White, cream, and even beige can be mixed in to add that extra flavour.

Pumpkin, sage, and blush

If you really want to capture that fall vibe then nothing beats going down the classic route of autumn colours. Matching the falling leaves instantly makes any fall outdoor wedding that much more memorable and adding in brass or bronze lends an old-fashioned yet modern feel to the occasion.

Looking for some more wedding inspiration? Check out our essential wedding planning checklist, guides to