A theme is a popular way to plan a wedding, but using colors to inspire the design for the event is a practical alternative offering greater flexibility. By choosing the right color palette, letting one’s style and personality come through without adhering to countless thematic-driven elements provides a fun opportunity to plan the wedding party’s decorations, table settings, centerpieces, and other key details like the favors for guests.
Working with a favorite color may make it tempting to use just that one hue throughout the décor. This will only create a dull and artificial atmosphere. Far more appealing would be a palette of contrasting colors applied to the various decorative elements. The following examples illustrate just how versatile and creative such color palettes can be as inspiration for a wedding look - whether these use light color contrasts, warm color contrasts, or cool color contrasts. The results are startlingly distinct—both visually and emotionally.
(1) Light Color Contrasts
Base Color: Pink
Contrast: Yellow and Green
Pink is a sweet, feminine color, but too much of it throughout the décor may make the party appear overly saccharine and juvenile. A color palette with pink as the base color can use lemon yellow and lime green accents for contrast—instantly creating a light, cheerful look. This color scheme is perfect for a wedding reception held on a springtime afternoon, as it brings to mind a fancy English tea party.
1. Cotton tablecloth in pastel pink
2. Cake with creamy yellow frosting
3. Guest favor - a white tulle purse filled with French madeleines
4. Basket of bright pink mini roses tied with a pastel pink organza ribbon
5. White porcelain teapot with silver trim
A pastel pink cotton tablecloth can serve as the backdrop for the entire table display. Pink-trimmed white plates may be laid on cream-colored place mats, accompanied by a white porcelain teapot with silver trim. A cake with creamy yellow frosting may serve as part of the decor as well as a delightful dessert for guests. A basket of bright pink mini roses tied with a pastel pink organza ribbon carries the same color palette, but with darker hues.
Such a celebration calls for favors as pretty as they are delicious. A goody bag may be used to carry such treats as cookies, marshmallows, French madeleines, or chocolates.
(2) Warm Color Contrasts
Base Color: Red
Contrasting Colors: Burnt Orange and Brown
Red as part of the color palette of a wedding celebration certainly makes a bold statement, but using a palette consisting solely of red shades may be overpowering. Thus, warm colors such as burnt orange, brown, and a muted shade of gold are recommended as contrasts in a red-based table setting.
1. Lacquered gold leaf tray
2. Porcelain favor box wrapped in a 12″ red organza circle
3. Heart-shaped chocolates
4. Red roses in a dark green pot
5. Porcelain favor box wrapped in a 12″ gold organza circle
These colors are best played up in a glamorous centerpiece laid on a tablecloth of white linen. A lacquered gold leaf tray can play host to the elements of the centerpiece, such as a scattered handful of heart-shaped chocolates and scarlet roses in full bloom arranged in a dark green pot.
The earthy tones of this palette’s accents are perfect for an Italian-inspired event, such as a reception with a Roman or Tuscan theme. In keeping with such a theme, special treats like chocolate-dipped biscotti or amaretto cookies may be presented in tasteful packaging in colors of red or olive. For petite-sized candies, these items may also come tucked into boxes with a fleur-de-lis motif and wrapped in fabric. Trays or platters in an antique gold finish may be used to display them as part of the party décor.
(3) Cool Color Contrasts
Base Color: Light Blue
Contrasting Colors: Navy Blue and White
Light blue is a lovely, relaxing color. However, if a party’s color palette is based solely on this hue, the setting may appear pale and washed out—not exactly befitting a festive occasion. Wedding party décor with light blue as its base can be enlivened with touches of navy blue and white.
1. Light blue satin tablecloth
2. Miniature porcelain shoe filled with white Jordan almonds
3. White brocade gift boxes with satin and organza ribbons
4. Clear crystal beads
Showcase this color palette in a towering centerpiece created out of stacked favor boxes in white. This approach offers an economical way to fashion an attractive centerpiece on a limited budget—not to mention doubling as packaging for the items hidden inside. Assemble this centerpiece on a light blue satin tablecloth that complements the white boxes. Navy blue comes into play in this arrangement with miniature porcelain shoes reminiscent of Delft blue ceramics. These petite mementos serve as whimsical decor elements for the table.
To extend the fairytale effect of this centerpiece, fresh rose petals may also be spread at its base for a soft, natural appeal. As a finishing touch, clear crystal beads and blue and white faux pearls scattered on the table add a delightful twinkle to the entire display.
While a party theme may be an exciting challenge for many, planning a theme in the hope of ensuring a perfect wedding can be limiting at times. The good news is that, in lieu of a theme, color serves as a wonderful unifying element that can be parlayed as a great source of inspiration for the party décor. After all, a wedding party is not about staging a theme. It’s about celebrating that once-in-a-lifetime moment.