Color Trends

By Kristen Castillo

April 15, 2011 5 min read

Sure, white is a traditional wedding color, but accent colors are getting more noticeable and a lot more interesting, too.

Colors are getting brighter as the economy picks up, which is a welcome change for vendors and brides.

*Color of the Year

Pantone, the world's authority on color, has chosen "honeysuckle" as the color of the year. The company says, "A dynamic reddish pink, honeysuckle is encouraging and uplifting."

Last year, turquoise was Pantone's "it" color, credited as being an "effective escape from the everyday troubles of the world" and "at the same time restoring our sense of well-being."

Bridal stylist Marek Hartwig says this year's choice of honeysuckle is "more hopeful," noting the color has been popular recently on fashion runways.

*Brights Are Back

"It's definitely getting brighter," says florist Paula Rae, who's tracking the popularity of bold colors such as "fuchsia pinks and bright purples."

Even traditional brides are more interested in expanding their color choices. "They're opening the entire palette of colors," Rae says. "The sense of limitation is completely gone."

With this change in attitude, the color wheel can spin more freely. "It has a much richer feel," Rae says. "It's working in a little bit of fun."

You can't get more fun than mixing shades in the same color family. Rae suggests combining neon yellow with mustard yellow and soft butter yellow.

"Charcoal gray is a huge accent color," says Debbie Orwat of Save the Date Events, noting that gray has replaced chocolate brown as the accent color of choice.

*Classic Colors

From white to ivory, some colors are classics in the wedding world.

Spring weddings call for lighter, muted colors, whereas summer weddings are bold and bright. Fall and winter weddings embrace jewel tones and rich colors.

"We're seeing purple, plum and sage green," Orwat says.

Hartwig suggests brides choose a bridesmaid gown that looks great on each bridesmaid. Dresses can be different styles but within the same or a similar color family. He says universally flattering colors include black, navy blue and chestnut brown.

Some brides are choosing patterned dresses for their bridesmaids. Orwat says one bridesmaid can wear a patterned floral dress while another wears a paisley pattern in the same color. "As long as the base color is the same, it can look good," she says.

*Accents and Accessories

From colored linens to dynamic florals, wedding d?cor can be a great place to add color.

"I think the most dominant way to use color is to do lighting," Orwat says. "Uplighting can completely change the room."

Brides also can showcase color by accessorizing with it. Think colorful flowers in the hair, as well as pashminas, to coordinate with wedding hues.

"I love the costume change," says Hartwig, who recommends adding a vibrant accent, such as a colored belt, for the reception.

"Adding a deep accent, such as a deep green or a deep purple, adds richness and gives more drama and glamour," Hartwig says. "A belt, a brooch, a statement necklace -- mix it up."

Colorful shoes in red, pink, blue or another color are also practical. Whether the wedding gown is long or short, a glimpse of a sexy shoe will give the look just enough oomph to wow everyone in attendance.

If bold colors are too much, consider nude shoes, which elongate one's legs.


"I pull a lot of red carpet into the wedding," Hartwig says. "Brides are pulling away from the fairy tale and getting into glamour."

That's why many brides are looking in magazines, on TV or in the movies to spot color trends that work.

"Inspiration comes from visual images," Rae says. "If there's something that appeals to you, there's a way to make it work."

Many brides get color inspiration from wedding blogs.

"If you have one signature color, you'll probably want to use it throughout the wedding," Orwat says. "If there are five colors, choose two dominant ones to use often. If you have a good designer to pull the look together, it's OK to have a lot of colors."

Work with your stylist or coordinator to create a "style file" for your event, including preferred colors. "We can bring it all together," Orwat says.

It used to be that brides chose flowers first and then chose their colors. But nowadays, they're selecting their colors first and then looking for flowers. Some flowers are better than others at being versatile.

"Ranunculus has taken off in the past year because it comes in so many colors," explains Rae of the seasonal flower that blooms March through May each year. "It's one flower with so many possibilities."

From bold blooms to vivid accessories, a splash of color is here to stay for a while.

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