How to Choose a Theme and Color Scheme for Your Wedding

Creating a beautiful wedding is like creating a piece of art. You want to have unity, balance, interest, excitement and rhythm. Actively choosing a theme and color palette allows you to imbue your wedding with your personalities and create a backdrop for your special day that contains all the elements of a well-designed piece of art. Your colors and theme can be expressed in the overall feel of your wedding day as well as the many details that make your wedding both unique and memorable. Choosing a theme and color palette makes the design of your event easier and ensures that you will end up with a cohesive ambiance and overall sense of beauty. A wedding theme may be subtle or complex and above all, should reflect your style. How do you go about choosing a theme and color palette for your wedding? Here are some tips and ideas to help you along the way to your perfectly designed wedding.

How to Pick a Theme
Choosing a wedding theme doesn’t need to be difficult. When you start thinking about a theme for your wedding begin by doing some brainstorming. Here are some things to think about when trying to choose a theme:

  • Hobbies – things you both like to do together as a couple
  • How you met – consider how and where you met as a possible theme
  • Proposal – a fantastic proposal can bring special elements to the wedding design
  • Favorite things you enjoy together – opera, famer’s market, hiking, paddle boarding
  • Favorite piece of art, music, movie, food
  • Fashion/design sense

Think about all the things that you enjoy, things that are special to you, places that you’ve traveled or places where you would like to travel. Your theme can be general, like all things Italy to something very specific, like a favorite painting or movie. You are both unique individuals so don’t be afraid of looking for a way to “marry” special elements that may not be obviously related. For example, steampunk and the movie “Somewhere in Time”. 

Have fun exploring the various possibilities, open a bottle of your favorite wine and grab a pen and paper and start writing down your ideas. Maybe even make a fun picnic out of it. You might want to take a couple of days and then go back and revisit your list and make a decision on what theme you like best.

Describe Your Theme
Ideally, you want to be able to articulate your theme by using a couple of nouns and several adjectives. This helps you and everyone assisting you plan your wedding and express your vision. Some themes can be rather complex and you want to be able to adequately communicate your vision in a way that all involved can understand. The description of your wedding theme should be an “aha” moment of instant understanding to anyone who hears it. Shabby Chic – rustic elegance, artfully reused, distressed vintage with a little glam, as an example. 

Popular Wedding Theme Choices
There are many popular choices for wedding themes that you can choose from or you can create your own. Some of the favorite themes for weddings include:

  • Beach/Tropical
  • Vintage
  • Butterfly or Dragonfly
  • Blossoms
  • Country
  • Western
  • Romantic
  • Oriental
  • Shabby Chic
  • Seasonal
  • Retro
  • Gatsby Glamour 

Choosing Colors for Your Wedding
Finding the right color pallet for your day is important. If you have already settled on a theme you will find that certain themes lend themselves to certain colors. For example, for a beach theme you may want to use shades of aqua and sand or perhaps coral and white. You might want to consider having a primary color with a couple accent colors that have a more supporting role. Understanding how colors work well together will help you put together the perfect color palette for your day. Here are some basic color pairing concepts to keep in mind when making your color selections.

Monochromatic – In this scheme there is only one hue (color) and various values, shades (add black) and tints (add white) or tones (add gray) of the hue. This can create a unifying and harmonious effect that can be quite subtle and classic. An example might be pink, with blush and pale rose. Adding a small element in a contrasting color that is repeated and sprinkled throughout can give this scheme a fresh and fabulous feel. Imagine an all-white and grey wedding with pops of turquoise.

Analogous – these colors are adjacent to each other on the color wheel and can create a pleasing effect that lends a sense of harmony. Think blue, purple and magenta, for example.

Complementary – two colors opposite one another on the color wheel. This color scheme can be fun and vibrant especially if the colors are of high intensity. Finesse needs to be used when using this color scheme so that it is not overdone. Split complementary and triad are a couple variations of this scheme to consider where one color has two complements directly to the right and left of its true complement or where there are two complementary colors on each side of the wheel. This scheme is a little softer and easier to work with then the true complimentary scheme. 

There are great sources that can help you select some color combinations on the internet. It helps if you can decide on your main/primary color and then research some good accent colors to go with it. Try checking out the paint swatches at your local hardware store for some ideas.

Using Your Theme and Colors
Now that you’ve chosen a theme and colors for your wedding you can incorporate them in the various aspects and details of your wedding. Try to not go overboard with the theme. You want the theme to be a tasteful backdrop for your wedding, understated and classy not a gaudy circus atmosphere. Here are a few aspects where you might want to express your colors and theme:

  • Paper elements and graphics – invitations, programs, seating/escort cards, menus
  • Floral arrangements and centerpieces 
  • Lighting
  • Linens
  • Decorations
  • Favors
  • Wedding cake
  • Pre-wedding parties

Discuss the colors and theme with everyone involved in your wedding planning including the wedding planner, caterer, florist, DJ/Band, graphic designer, dress store, and baker. You’ll be able to get plenty of ideas from magazines and online resources once you have settled on a theme and the colors of your wedding. Have fun and enjoy the journey that is planning your dream wedding.