Chic brides are choosing a range of complementary colors for their celebration

Brides are committing to color, and many are getting inspiration from the Pantone Color Institute, which forecasts a move toward the cooler and softer side of the spectrum.

Pantone’s color of the year, Marsala, is a deep burgundy-brown. Other on-trend colors for summer weddings include Aquamarine, Scuba Blue, Strawberry Ice, Tangerine, Lavender Herb and Custard.

“Brides should pay attention to color because many different industries involved in bridal, including floral, paper, tabletop, textile, beauty and fashion, are clued into Pantone’s color of the year. That means they will have some offerings that will be new and fresh and show they are up to date,” said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute.

Using a palette

Gone are the days when a bride walked in to meet with a wedding planner with two paint chips, said Lauren Kay, The Knot’s senior style editor. Now brides want an overall feeling of color or a color palette for their wedding, she said. Using a palette gives brides more versatility, allowing them to bring in shades and hues of a color that complement each other.

“Having a well-planned color palette can be the thread that helps bring together the florals, the invitations, the cake, the fashions, making it all feel cohesive and edited,” said Abby Larson, founder and editor of Style Me Pretty and Style Me Pretty Living. “While color palettes don’t need to feel matchy-matchy (think a range of hues in the same family from nude to Marsala), they help to define your wedding ‘look’ and they communicate to your vendors and your guests your style in a much clearer way.”

A color palette is also easier to work with. Just ask anyone who’s tried to exactly match a bridesmaid’s dress to a table linen. Multiple colors and their shades offer options and interest.

Color of the year

The dark, rich and dramatic Marsala will “absolutely work for summer,” especially with floaty summer fabrics like organdy, chiffon and sheer silks, Eiseman said. It pairs well with peachy pinks, rose and apricot. “It also sparkles in summer with metallics like gold and bronze, and the complementary turquoises and cobalt blue are a breath of fresh air,” Eiseman said.

Marsala can also be a pop of color through a bridesmaid’s lipstick, a ribbon on a program, or in a signature drink, Kay said. Also, color the little details like tassels, which are big right now, seen tied to chairs and canopy ceilings, Kay said.

Obviously, color brightens typical decor such as flowers and table linens, “but let’s not forget the groom and the groomsmen,” Eiseman said. “Think of fun places, other than ties and cummerbunds. Socks and shoelaces in the lead color are a great accent, and so are colorful sneakers for the guys,” said Eiseman.

Have fun, use caution

When it comes to playing with color, creativity captivates, but use caution, too.

“We always advise, ‘Don’t follow it off the cliff.’ Use your color palette as a guide,” Kay said.

No matter your personal style, color pairing can add variety and sophistication.

“Color pairing in weddings is much like color pairing in your home or with your wardrobe. Think in color families and neutrals. Champagne, blushy pinks, marsalas all blend beautifully together. Then you can layer in neutrals like greens (think florals), black, grays, metallics or browns (think wardrobe, vases, decor),” said Larson.

“If the bride is a bit on the conservative side, she can always use neutral colors like Pantone’s Dove Gray or Bleached Sand for pairing,” Eiseman said. “But more effective is to use monochromatic combinations, those that come from the same color family as the main color, like Marsala and peachy pinks and roses. Colors that lie across from each other on the color wheel, like Marsala and Turquoise, will always be the most dramatic.”

Keys to success

The best piece of advice when it comes to building your color palette is to really allow your venue to set the pace.

“Forcing a pink and green palette into a space that is rich reds and gold will feel out of place and will take much more work to get the style you are looking to achieve,” Larson said.

How do you know if you are successfully pairing colors?

“You just have to trust that ‘aha’ moment when you really love the colors together,” Eiseman said. “If you are the bride, trust your own judgment and go with favorite colors. Remember, the bride is the star of the day and she gets to pick what pleases her.”

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