When brides are struggling to pick colors at the beginning of the planning process, one thing they wonder is, what do the colors “mean?” What vibe do they give off? What traditions and sensibilities are they grouped with?

I’m going to try to answer that. Given, some colors stay pretty stable from year to year, while others shift along with the bigger fashion upheavals. And despite their close ties to the catwalk, some hues have a meaning and feeling all their own when it comes to weddings.

Diamond-White. When brides around the world think “Western wedding,” they picture this. Ever since Queen Victoria, bright diamond-white has enjoyed strong associations with purity and the privileged, but these days, white may have (a lot) more to do with modernity. This is the same breeze that brings us minimalist Calla bouquets and lace-free-zone Vera gowns.

Ivory. Ivory is elegant, old-world and soft-spoken. Ivory speaks of hand-polished silver and ironed linen. Or in Economist-speak, ivory is New York’s Brooke Astor to Leona Helmsley’s scarlet.

Champagne. Refined and traditional, rich and conservative. A gentle look with a slightly vintage feel.

Lavender. Soft, dainty and ladylike, this color often appears in weddings that hark to the past, with traditional-looking cakes and florals.

Pale Pink: The lighter shades of pink speak to happiness, playfulness, and a sense of fun, not to mention a special fondness for love’s super-sweet early years.

Hot Pink. Energized, “girl power” hue with an almost-punk edge. Think Gwen Stefani, and as possible accents, black, brown or vibrant green.

Red: Passionate, dramatic, and dripping with desire, this romantic hue hints at deep lows, higher highs, and a triumphant peak (which of course coincides with the wedding). Often paired with crisp white and black in gorgeous toiles or other classic patterns, and sure to show up in tandem with tons of rose petals. What else? 1) It’s no coincidence that Longoria-Parker’s red wedding took place in Paris. 2) You’re a chocolates and champagne kind of gal. 3) When the wedding’s over, he’d best not forget your anniversary.

Coral: In weddings, this color often has an indie vibe. It might have a Latino, East Indian or Caribbean feel, or just a strong designer foundation. You see it show up in fresh pairings like coral and rust or coral and teal, or more conventionally, with chocolate brown, pink or yellow.

Going to a coral wedding? Don’t be surprised to see a bit of mendhi on the bride’s hands, paisley patterns, custom stationery courtesy of a hotshot graphic designer, luscious linens with lots of shimmer and tassels, or cinnamon-chocolate truffles. Oh, and don’t forget to bring me.

Yellow: Optimism, cheerfulness, a strong appreciation for friendship. Yellow is 100% angst-free. It’s also Martha Stewart’s signature color, so yellow often goes hand-in-hand with that clean, grounded New England look, with lots of buttery porcelain and handmade papers.

Gold: Lavishness, luxury, warmth, tradition. As platinum continues to make inroads in the jewelry world, “yellow gold” is more of a statement than ever. Think Louis XIV, “The Sun King,” warm Italian weddings, and unstinting shows of abundance.

Aqua: Fun-loving, fresh and vibrant. A favorite of beach brides, especially tropical ones, and an anchor for poolside weddings. But aqua shows up in plenty of other places, too. It’s a favorite paired with chocolate brown for brides who want a fun and modern palette, and aqua and pink aren’t uncommon.

Royal Blue: Grand, traditional, and casting an eye toward an idealized past. Evokes ballrooms, Cinderella stories and happily-ever-after. Often combined with a paler blue, yellow or gold.

Navy: This ultra-classic color signals a preppy wedding. Often paired with mint green or dusty orange, and loads of crisp white, this color puts tradition first, and adds a certain masculine gravitas to the palette.

Purple: Purple has strong, historical associations with royalty, especially in sacred contexts (think: Lent’s purple to mark the royal approach). But thanks to lots of shakeups in the fashion world, purple’s taken on a whole new life, and become challenging and mysterious, glamorous and grown-up, and ever-so-slightly Euro star, especially when paired with other complex hues like charcoal or even black. Rock this latter look with feathers, brooding florals, and few Goth-Edwardian touches.

Silver: Restrained wealth and glamour, sophistication. Silver says, “I can afford it, but prefer not to flaunt it.”

L: David’s Bridal. R: Cakes By Gina.
Gray: Modern, understated, retro-informed and sleek. Lately, gray has deposed champagne as one of the hottest neutrals in weddings. Bridesmaids in gray with deco-rhinestone buckled sashes look up-to-the-minute … and stunning. Pair with wheat or heather for the ultimate urban, slightly Swedish palette.

Chocolate Brown: So everywhere, it’s hard to pin down, but chocolate brown is the cornerstone to most of today’s modern palettes: brown with pink or aqua, or increasingly, coral, mint green or purple.

Green: In weddings, green reveals a modern sensibility, and often comes with inventive, non-traditional florals (think green button mums or wheatgrass). Thanks to the increasing volume of eco-talk, green’s also a prominent hue at environmentally-conscious weddings. Lime green + hot pink says “pop princess.” Olive or bright green combined with black & white looks downright regal, in that new-millenium way.

Black: Sophisticated, mysterious, assertive or even nostalgic, black shows up when couples have strong opinions about design. Black might lend a clean, graphic look to the wedding, or show up in evocative, Victorianesque forms, such as black Callas and rooster-feather collars.

Legions of black-draped bridesmaids continue to make a showing from summer to winter, with more attention to detail than in seasons past (contrasting sashes, more elaborate hemlines, or bouquets designed to pop against a black background).

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562 Responses

  1. Omowunmi

    My wedding is coming up October 2014, I av interest in d fflg colours; Orange, peach, mint green, blue and red. My inlaw choose Wine colour, how can I combine this colours, taking note of my inlaw’s choice?

  2. odyssa

    Hi im getting married this coming december..i prefer the color of forest green ang silver..is it okey for the month of december???and what should be the best theme for my wedding??thank you…

  3. DeeWill

    I’m getting married June 2015 in Negril Jamaica my colors are Aqua, Silver, White & yellow. I’m having my wedding dress designed and made besides white, which one of these colors would you suggest.

  4. Joel Omale

    I have interest in the following colors for my wedding in April, purple, pink, Orange, lemon and cream. Please how do I go about combination.

  5. Katherine

    My wedding was Dec 2002. I wore Ivory with Titanium satin up top and lining the bottom creating the train, also with silver beads throughout. So my colors were silver and red. I carried calla lilies and decorated with mirrors and floating candles and roses, silver bells and huge Christmas trees and poinsettias.
    I’ve been very ill for 3 years and after brain surgery this Fall we are planning to renew are vows for our 12 year Anniversay (small ceremony with CTholic church in May 2002). So I’m looking for ideas. I know I’m wearing a colored tea length dress. It will either be on a mountain or beach. This page has been very helpful. :thankyou:

  6. Manelle Eunice

    I always prefer white themed wedding design anyways thanks for your post. I’ll definitely share it on my co-workers about your color insights about wedding.

  7. martha

    I need pictures of a green theme outdoor rather garden wedding please help with decorations and bridemaids dresses i want different styles

  8. Jacqueline

    I’m getting married May 2014! So, I’ve got a long way to go with the planning. I feel like I’m over thinking the color. I can’t get pasted Royal blue and aqua

  9. Tracy Bogan

    I would like to get a copy of the green cake and cupcakes, as this is what I would like to have for my wedding on June 29, 2013
    Thank You

  10. Shir


    I need some help for selection of my wedding theme. I am having my wedding in 1 Dec 2013. I do not know what to choose for my theme.

    Another concern is that I have choosen my evening gown in fresh red in color.

    So currently, I am kinda lost dunno wad theme is good for my wedding.

    Look forward to hearing from you.

  11. Kayla

    I am getting married springtime of 2013, and we’re goinng to have a beachside wedding. I like the colors pink coral, khaki beige, and a llittle aqua blue.. Good idea, or no? Pleasssse help!

  12. jessica

    Hi there I am getting married in June. My colours are turquoise ans charcol my theme is country with a few starfish decorations in there. Do you thinj this will go together?

    • trisha

      thanks madell that doesnt sound like a bad idea. i will keep that in mind. 😀 😀 but also i am planning on having my wedding outside n the late afternoon part of august 17 2013. my colors are going to be turquise n silver. do you think that will still work. also i was thinking maybe a beach theme. what do you think. plz let me know if you have anymore ideas.

  13. LuLu Belle

    I am planning a wedding for early Nov 2013. This will be a 2nd marriage for the both of us but will be a mid-afternoon church wedding. The guest list is very small with our families and very close friends. We plan to only have coffee and deserts in the church hall afterward then go to dinner with siblings and our children. I am having a hard time picking a color and style for my dress we both consider blue our favorite color (was thinking silver/blue…cocktail length). I am open to suggestions. I am a natural blonde, he has silver salt and pepper hair, neither of us is overweight and we both have lighter blue eyes.

  14. Melony

    I wanted my wedding color to be champagne, is there a time of year that would look best with? I was thinking end of summer/early fall? My fiance and i started dating oct 29th, would that be top late for champagne? Thank you

  15. Madison Muller

    Hi I am getting married march 23rd I am 47 and my son wants me to have a real wedding I need help with colours.
    I dont know where to start

    • Elena Vaara

      I also am an older bride, getting married on March 22. As an older bride I think do what you want. Think of your venue. When we went brides maid shopping, I was thinking champagne, when we left the shop, the girls (daughters in their 20’s) were in coral and the mother of the groom was in champagne. It will be a beautiful beach wedding on Maui! Have fun with the process and expect things to change. 😛



  17. trisha

    :thankyou: :thankyou: I am planing on getting married September 17, 2013. I am planing on my wedding colors being royal blue and silver. The problem is i do not know what type of theme to have. Do you think this is a good idea? Can you give me a theme idea?

  18. Gofah

    Hello there,i want to knw which combination can i use if i have these four colors i.e yellow,orange,pink and white becoz i really like them.I am still confused on which colors can best suit the bridesmaids.Please assist.

  19. Chinyere Linda

    how about having a chocolate brown and cream wedding? Is d combination cute, or is there a better one? But I really want chocolate brown.

  20. Kuwornu Aseye

    yazzys services,please is it possible that u can decorate for me on my wedding which God willing is coming off soon and how much will it cost to decorate the temple and the reception.Please the wedding will be held in Accraand please i need your response as soo as possible to enable me plan.Thanks

  21. karbear22

    I am wanting to do a tradition black, White, Red wedding, and wondered when you thought would be a great month to get married. Some people keep telling me those colors are winter colors but I wanted to see what month you thought was best??


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