Belles Buzz: Color Theory

On March 25, 2016 by admin

This week we wanted to talk a bit about Color.  More specifically how to pick an appealing color palette for a wedding. We believe color is the most important aspect of event design.   All of the paper goods, and the bridal party’s wardrobe, and of course the flowers, are all effected by an event’s color story.  And that’s not to mention the reception decor, the cake, and perhaps even the Bridal Shower…  All-the-things start with color!  As floral designers, ‘what is your color scheme?’ is one of the first thing we ask new clients about.  But it’s not always easy to tell what colors look best together, so we wanted you to have the tools to create a well thought out event for yourselves.  To get some inspiration flowing try working through this quick list of questions and just make note of what colors come to mind.

  1. What season is the wedding?  Spring weddings are perfect for pastels such as pale pink and peach.  Summer events look great in bright, bold colors, like sunshiny yellows and hot pink.  Fall affairs are gorgeous in warm tones, like the burnt orange and apple red. Winter weddings are stunning in whites, sparkly metallics and cooler colors like icy blue.
  2. Is there a predominant theme?  Perhaps peacocks strike your fancy.  Teal, blue and green with a hint of metallic gold, the colors found in peacock feathers, would be perfect. Dreaming of a beach affair? Go with sky blues, soft greens and sandy neutrals. Just let your theme guide you, and keep it simple.
  3. What inspires you everyday?  Take a look around at a favorite piece of artwork, and even your home decor.  Do you always keep a stocked fruit bowl in the kitchen, why not take a cue from your food?  Colors inspired by citrus fruits in Orange, Lemon Yellow and Lime Green would give you a fresh summer feel, and Berry tones of Raspberries, Blackberries and Blueberries would be very rich and regal.   Your closet may also be a great indicator of color combos you are drawn to. Inspiration can be found anywhere, if you’re looking.
  4. Where is the event taking place?   Be conscious of strong details such as intricately patterned carpets, bold colors or ornate lighting fixtures.  Don’t work against those features, you won’t win the battle.  Instead, let the venue shine and opt to complement the space with your decor choices.  If the venue’s setting is rustic and outdoorsy with a lot of wood tones, maybe glittery silver, black and red aren’t the best choice, and sage green and coral are better options.
  5. What does the Groom think?  While a lot of guys only care about the meal, the bar, and maybe the band, it’s still a good idea to at least ask the Groom about his preferences.  Maybe he wouldn’t be caught dead wearing blush pink or periwinkle.  If he’s no help, consider turning to your Bridesmaids for input.  What color dresses would look best on each of them?  Have they attended weddings where the colors were a distraction or enhancement?
  6. What kind of mood are you trying to create?   Cool colors promote a calm and soothing atmosphere, while Warm colors are more lively and energetic.  Refer to the diagram below.  Do you want everyone on the dance floor, celebrating the night away, or do you prefer a relaxed, quiet dinner party feel?  Your color choices can invigorate or comfort your guests accordingly.

warm cool

Now that you’ve taken some notes, how do you use that information to compose a cohesive color combination?   With the help of a color wheel and a few basic principals, you can easily choose a perfect color palette based on your inspiration.

color_wheel colors

First, let’s get a basic understanding of the wheel.  There are 12 spaces, and they fall into one of three categories. There are three Primary colors, three Secondary colors and six Tertiary colors.

  1. Primary colors are Red, Yellow, Blue.  Think of them as the base set from which all other colors are made.
  2. Secondary colors are Orange, Green, Purple.  These colors are created by mixing 2 primary colors together.   Red+Yellow=Orange,  Yellow+Blue=Green,  and  Blue+Red=Purple.
  3. Tertiary colors are those that are created by mixing a primary color and a secondary color together, Red-Orange, Yellow-Orange, Yellow-Green, Blue-Green, Blue-Purple, Red-Purple.



If you need a little assistance in the wedding color department start with a color from the questions you answered above, then apply it to the color wheel properties below.  Creating a cohesive color scheme will be a breeze.

Consider picking colors that are Complementary to each other, which means 2 colors directly opposite each-other on the color wheel.  Start with your inspiration color, draw a line straight across the wheel to find it’s complement. For example, Red and Green, Orange and Blue, Yellow and Purple are all complementary sets of colors.  Imagine Christmas colors, a Chicago Bears logo, and L.A. Lakers uniforms.  These colors will always pair well together.  Because they are furthest from each other on the wheel, there is a very strong visual contrast, and they make each other POP. When you use the true, bright shades, like Red and Green, you’d get a very bold look. But try those same colors in their softer shades, like Mauve and Sage, for a more subtle and sophisticated feel.



Another option is Analogous colors, those that are side by side on color wheel, or color neighbors if you will, like Blue-Green, Green, and Yellow-Green.  Analogous colors all have one color in common so they easily blend together.  See how pretty theses 3 are together? It’s because they all have green in common. Analogous colors are often found in nature and are pleasing to they eye as they are so cohesive.



If you are after a vibrant, almost tropical feel try Triadic colors. Those are 3 colors that are evenly spaced on color wheel, like Yellow-Orange, Blue-Green, Red-Purple.  Start with your inspiration color, skip three spaces, select that color, skip three more, select the next color.  This group has no base colors in common, but they work well together because they are at balanced positions on the wheel.  Its best to use one as the dominant color and the other 2 as accents.  Picture Blue-Green dresses with Yellow-Orange and Red-Purple flowers, there’s a PUNCH of color for your eyes!



After a little more unusual option?  Try Split-Complementary.  That’s a base color plus 2 colors adjacent to the complementary color.  Pick your main color, draw a straight line across the color wheel, then pick the two colors on either side of that line. In this instance we started with Red-Orange,  drew a line straight across to Blue-Green, so we added the neighbors, Green and Blue to our composition.  There is a lot of contrast in the colors with this method, but the overall effect is softened a bit. Does this selection look familiar?  This just happens to be the color scheme for the bouquet we use as our logo!

split complementary


If there’s only a single color that appeals to your senses, and you want to keep things on the simple side, opt for a Monochromatic set.  That just means several shades of the same color, light to dark, like the Blue-Green below.  Add a neutral like Black, White, metallic Silver or Gold to round out the palette.hombre


If the wheel isn’t quite working for you, here are a few easy go-to pairings.

  • Green + Anything = a Fun and Fresh look.  Example: Purple and Green, or Hot Pink and Green.
  • White + Anything = a Dramatic look.   Example: Red and White, Blue and White, Pink and White.
  • Gray + Anything = a Chic look.    Example: Purple and Gray, Yellow and Gray.

One thing to be wary of though, Don’t use too many colors.  Our rule of thumb is not more than 4.  And be prepared that as you proceed in your event planning that not everything will match exactly.  Flowers, ribbon, paper, linens may vary slightly, a touch lighter or darker.  And that’s OK as long as the basic idea is there.  Some events may even require different color schemes at the ceremony and reception.  As we mentioned earlier, the space sometimes demands something specific. The church may warrant muted tones because of a carpeting color that clashes with your desired look.  So you may have white pew bows and alter flowers for the ceremony, but the reception decor gets the burst of color because that specific space allows it.  It’s common and perfectly normal, no worries.

We hope this little lesson in color theory makes things easier in successfully planning the color scheme for your big day.




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