By Beth Erickson

Today’s color choices paint a spectrum that seems greater than the rainbow glimpsed by Sir Isaac Newton when he first shone white light through a prism more than 300 years ago. not only is the range of color stunning, but the names are inspired—from sunflower and burnt orange to silver cloud and gunmetal gray—even this year’s Pantone color of the year, honeysuckle.

And that’s good news for the wedding industry—offering endless décor options to create inspired and atmospheric events that illustrate the bride and groom’s personal sense of style.

Paul Versluis Photography Floral: Dan Meiners, ABC vendor member Cake: Rama Sola

Pantone, the international leader and trendsetter on color, announced in December 2010, that Pantone 18-2120 honeysuckle is the “it” color for 2011. “Why honeysuckle? In times of stress, people need something that will lift their spirits. honeysuckle is a very energizing, dynamic, and engaging color that can’t help but get the adrenaline going—a good color to ward off the ‘blues!’ says Leatrice Eseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. She suggests one unique use of the color of the year for weddings is a honeysuckle aisle runner and matching ribbons lining the walkway. Also, “honeysuckle pairs nicely with complementary greens like PAntone 14- 6324 Peapod or a brown such as PAntone 18-1235 russet—both combinations are quite beautiful and unique,” she adds.

Shades of pink are bridal favorites, which is why Millie Martini Bratten, editor-in- chief of Brides magazine thinks honeysuckle is a good choice “Pair it with green and you’ve got a preppy palette, combine it with citrus for a look that’s summery and fresh, add a touch of cream for an elegant evening affair.”

Perfect for spring and summer wed- dings, honeysuckle allows brides to show originality, but not in the extreme.
“Honeysuckle embodies popular wedding colors of recent years, like raspberry and mauve, yet falls somewhere in between. It will go well with muted color fabrics, such as whites and ivories, but may also be used with gold tones to bring a powerful color palette to a weddingevent,” says Michael Davis, owner of Cloth Connection in spring Valley, N.Y. The linen color does not have to match the color palette exactly to evoke the same visual feelings, adds Davis.

“Many colors in the mauve, light fuchsias, and reds would work as well.”

BBJ Linens in Chicago, has added azalea shantung to its line this year to meet the need for honeysuckle. According to Bill Pry, vice president of sales, it’s “a wonderful hit of color to brighten any event.”

Honeysuckle hasn’t cornered the market on weddings yet. Frank—Master Bridal Consultant and event expert in Chicago, says he believes honeysuckle will be the trend for 2012 weddings as most 2011 weddings have been planned. “We take our cue in the wedding industry from the previous fashion year,” he says. With last year’s Pantone color as turquoise, the 2011 top wedding colors are in blue tones with greens, yellows, or purples. “I’m using a lot of peacock feathers this year” as it pairs well with the blue tones,” he says.

Bright orange remains a popular choice. “It adds pop to a neutral reception and pairs well with a surprising array of other colors. Combine it with gray for a sophisticated palette, or with hot pink, for a look that’s bold and saturated,” says Bratten.

Anja Winikka, senior editor with, thinks the popularity of deep oranges along with the vibrancy of rich golds, purples, reds, and oranges can be attributed to hollywood. “As a whole, the country of India offers ‘it’ colors for inspiration. Blame it on Katy Perry who got married there,” she says. “In the past,” she adds, “we saw very complicated color palettes. now, we’re coming back to a more buttoned-up look.”

Deeper hues like dark chocolate, charcoal gray, and silver are also popular. “All shades of gray, from silver to gunmetal, are the new black for 2011. You will see it with everything,” says Pry. Fall colors will return later in the year, but with a modern twist. “Eggplant and acorn have been added to our Contour line to reflect the fabulous colors in nature,” says Pry.

Davis predicts popularity with optimistic colors. “Yellows, ranging from pale yellow to sunflower, as well as oranges, ranging from burnt orange to tangerine, are associated with sunshine and the refreshing outdoors. turquoise and light blues are associated with the vast oceans and wide-open skies,” he says.

Pinks and silvers and greens and golds, suggests Davis. For brides who want to eschew trendy or seasonal colors, browns, golds, white, and ivories with patterns and textures promote timeless style and sophisticated elegance. “elegant neutrals, like bone and blush, are big in fashion right now,” says Bratten. “Cream or bone paired with pale blue looks especially fresh.”

For a visually striking appearance, she suggests combining two shades of one color, such as pairing chartreuse and emerald green. Or “a vibrant shade like orange paired with a pretty pastel blush creates a look that’s both spicy and sweet. Peacock blue paired with purple creates a look that’s rich and romantic,” she adds.

If you think color doesn’t matter, think again. extensive psychological research has proven color is a significant influencer in moods, attitudes, and behaviors—sending powerful messages daily through websites, logos, signage, and in restaurants and homes, messages that make us relax, feel hungry, ready to gamble, or excited and ready to party. In short, color is everything.

“Every couple wants their wedding to be unique, and working with an individual’s favorite colors is a big step towards making that happen,” says Bratten. “Color adds warmth, personality, and is instantly uplifting. Sunny yellows and oranges can transform a dull space into something happy and bright; cool blues paired with icy white can turn a ballroom into a winter wonderland. The creative use of color can make a big impact.”

As a result, wedding industry experts should encourage brides to give their wedding colors much more than a passing thought. It “is the single most unifying element,” says Winikka. “However, choosing colors can seem over-whelming, especially if you’re not schooled in design color theory.” She encourages planners to suggest brides look to the everyday for inspiration—their living room, a favorite dress, a favorite flower, the colors of the season, and even their venue.

Planners and wedding industry experts themselves should “really pay attention to fashion runways, not just bridal fashion. Look at Pantone’s top 10 fashion colors. Pick up magazines about trends. There are incredible home design magazines and blogs,” says Winikka.

When Pantone selects color trends, it’s a very thoughtful and time-consuming process, says Eiseman. Which is exactly why they are a good model for inspiration in color selection. Pantone, she says, “quite literally combs the world looking for color influences. This can include the entertainment industry and films that are in production, traveling art collections or a hot artist entering the scene, technology and the availability of new textures and effects that will impact color, even an upcoming sports event that gleans worldwide attention and the country in which it will be held, hot travel destinations, and other socio-economic conditions.”

Once a couple has chosen their primary wedding color, look to paint chips or consult a color wheel for secondary color ideas. The color wheel is a tried-and-true method for selecting multiple shades of the same color or several complementary colors to complete the palette.

Still, no matter what colors a couple has chosen to set the mood for their wedding, one of the best ways to reflect color selection is through venue, floral, and décor. Consider the colors of the venue’s carpeting and walls when planning the day. “If you have a room that is not exactly what you want,” suggests Pry, the colors in the “linen, the floral, and all the other table décor draw your eye to the focus of the event.”

In the end, “A creative use of color can make [your bride’s] wedding stand out from [others] that have taken place at that venue before,” says Bratten.

RESOURCES—become a member of the website of the global authority on color and create and share palettes.—explore an extensive gallery of event photos or design your event table in the virtual design center.—sign up for their monthly newsletter or visit the interactive design center.—explore what your brides are reading, including the most viewed, most e-mailed, most com- mented on articles.—planning tools, planning basics, hot topics, and more on the leading online community for brides.—explore the portfolio and blog from one of Chicago’s leading wedding consultants.

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