If you haven’t noticed, there are a LOT of real weddings and styled shoots meant to inspire couples to choose their wedding style and color palettes.
(okay, who are we kidding, you totally noticed).
And while using real weddings and styled shoots as inspiration can be helpful, they don’t give you a PLAN, especially when you’re starting at zero, which can make things feel a little terrifying.
But here’s the deal: If you only use real weddings and styled shoots for inspiration, they’re not going to serve you as well as something designed JUST for you and your personality as a couple. Trust me on this-you absolutely WANT to define your wedding style.
So, today I’m going to share a step-by-step wedding style and color palette plan to help you discover your personal wedding style even if you’re starting from the beginning. Looking back, this is what I’d do if I had to plan my wedding all over again.
Step 1: What do you love?
A wedding style can be defined as something that describes a wedding’s look and feel. Often times a wedding style is an adjective-modern, elegant, vintage, rustic, etc.
You should choose a style that works for you and your fiancé and reflects your personality and style. You don’t want to copy ideas and wedding trends just because they’re popular. In 10 or 20 years when you’re looking back at your wedding photos, you want them to capture your taste and personal style, not what was trendy at the time.
It can be really tempting to jump in and choose a style based on what you see online and any trends in weddings for that matter. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to channel a different part of your personalities, but it really should be YOUR personalities you’re channeling.
So… the starting point in finding your wedding style should always be with yourselves. Just put aside weddings for a moment and go back to this question: what kinds of things are you drawn to? What is your own style like (clothing, accessories, home décor)? What sort of colors, patterns, and styles do you see in your closet? We all have things that we are naturally drawn to visually so spend some time with your fiancé chatting about colors and styles that appeal to you. A great tip to get started is jump on Pinterest and take a look at what you’ve pinned to see if there is a similarity among the pins-it could be colors, a style, or a theme. I’m pretty confident that you’ve been secretly pinning wedding pins but take a look at what you’ve pinned outside of the wedding category. Perhaps you can define your wedding style without even having to think about it, and luckily Pinterest is a great visual tool for that.
Then think about your love story, your cultures your shared interests. Maybe there are some elements of how you met or moments that are particularly meaningful for you. Maybe your first vacation together was in Mexico, and you’d like to include some Mexican design elements, colors, or favors. You don’t need to come up with all the answers now but making a list will help bring all of these special elements to your attention. Make your guests think “that was so them” when they leave.
Step 2: Define your wedding style
Consider the feeling you want your wedding to have. Have you both envisioned a day that is relaxed? Sophisticated? Formal? Traditional? Talk about this, and starting collecting images that embody that feeling.
Now it’s time to define that feeling and style that come to the forefront in your discussions. Listen to your gut and come up with a word or name for it. This activity might seem silly but it will really help when communicating your vision to your vendors. It could be something super defined like “vintage botanical” or it could be something more vague like “beachy” or “rustic.” This is the time to also decide if you want a theme for example “Gatsby” or “nautical” or even a motif like “geometrics.” You definitely don’t need to have either, but they can help bring all of those elements together.
Step 3: Choose your venue
Decide on your general style first, then choose a venue or any vendors as your style will influence these decisions. Choosing your venue is going to be a huge part of defining your style and your color palette as well. Indoors or outdoors? Vintage or modern? Some venues have colors and textures that are very much a part of their design while others are a blank slate. If your venue does have a very specific look or color palette, work with it. Once you’ve decided on the “big picture” of your style, then look for venues and vendors that will complement that style and start fleshing out the smaller details like fabrics, flowers, and décor.
Step 4: Narrow down your colors
And finally, we come to my favorite part. Colors! We leave this to the end because unless a particular color is one of your must-haves, your palette is something that should develop organically from your wedding style. Based on all the work you’ve done so far, you should now have one or two colors that are starting to come to mind. If not, start with the answers you already have. As I mentioned, some venues will dictate the color scheme. Other times, it will come from the atmosphere you’re trying to create or the theme you choose. For example, if you’re looking to have a Gatsby theme, you’ll probably want to work with a gold and black palette. Here are some other elements that can suggest a particular color palette:
- Season: Don’t feel limited by the seasons, but seasonality is a great contributing factor to wedding style. Think about which flowers and food will be in season, the colors that show up in nature at that time of year, and the ones that will help to create the atmosphere you want. For example, sunny outdoors or cozy indoors.
- Flowers: This is a great time to think about the flowers you’d like to have. You’ll want to think about the availability of particular blooms, as well as your flower budget, since it might be a contributing factor.
- Your bridesmaids’ dresses: You may have fallen in love with a particular look like gorgeous gold dresses or pretty pastels. Your bridesmaid dresses don’t have to dictate your wedding color palette, but they should complement it.
You should now have one or two colors, or a general idea of a color palette but keep in mind you don’t need to have a palette. I like to think I’m a bit of a rule breaker and this is one rule you can confidently break if you so choose. Some brides choose to just use neutrals or a mix of things like and both can come together beautifully.
Step 5: Play with your palette
This is when it gets really fun! Of course you can have a single color or two but that can sometimes get a little matchy. So what you will often see is that weddings will have a range of complementary shades. You’ll start with the colors you already know and love. Then add in one or two neutral. Think colors like navy, grey, black, white, etc. You could even add in a pastel for depth or a metallic for brightness and glamour. Think gold, silver, rose gold, copper, or even mix! If your palette is on the softer side, maybe you need to work it the other way and have a bright for variety which will really make a look pop. Head to your local paint supply store and take a look at some paint samples and play around a bit. See what you’re drawn to. Visit sites like The Perfect Palette and check out their inspiration boards.
You may also want to look at the traditional color wheel. It’ll help you make one of three main color combinations:
- Complementary – those colors opposite one another on the color wheel
- Analogous – those colors next to one another on the wheel
- Monochromatic – the various different shades of a single color
Pantone is also an awesome source for color inspiration. I wouldn’t suggest that you get too hung up on working with exact shades, but how Pantone will be especially helpful is in distinguishing between two shades. For example, is you tell your florist your color is purple, you’ll find a huge difference between lilac and deep purple. Being able to clearly communicate to your vendors what color you’re looking for will dramatically affect the ultimate look.
Now that you have settled on a color combination you like, it’s time to pull it all together and create an inspiration board. This is the best way to share your wedding day vision with your suppliers and keep yourself on track. Create your inspiration board on Pinterest or even use a tool like Canva to completely customize your inspiration board.
Finally, if you’re still totally clueless about your wedding style (which might possible be and that’s okay), enlist the help of a professional. Maybe you’ve been wondering what exactly a wedding designer does-this my friend, is one of the things that they do! It is their job to help couples define their wedding style and deign their wedding around it.
Have questions about selecting your wedding style and color palette? Want to share a strategy that’s worked for you? Leave a comment below and let me know what’s up.
DON’T FORGET IT: PIN IT!