By Wendy Dahl, PBC™, Chic Productions, Huntington Beach, Calif.   
Barbara Diez Event Planners

Color breathes life into every wedding design.  Choosing the right colors for a wedding is a key decision that affects the personality and aesthetics of the environment.  Some brides are design savvy and use colors with ease, while others seek guidance from wedding professionals.  Confidence is vital when creating color combinations and using color to bring the bride’s vision to life.

The colors for 2013 revealed
Three color authorities drive the trends by releasing their color forecasts and top pick for the most predominant color of the year. Trend and color experts work with these organizations one to two years before the colors arrive in mainstream fashion and design. These experts base color selections by combing the world for color influences in everything from entertainment to popular travel destinations to socio-economic conditions. Luckily, color influencers share their research making it simple for wedding professionals to stay current and help brides make confident color choices. What are this year’s colors?


Emerald green is Pantone’s 2013 Color of the Year
Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, says, “Green is the most abundant hue in nature. The human eye sees more green than any other color in the spectrum.” Weddings are already seeing green in varying shades of emerald in both décor and formal wear.

_DSC4112Re-Blued is the Color Marketing Group’s selection
Reminiscent of clear skies and warm seas, re-blued is the Color Marketing Group’s (CMG) 2013 Color of the Year. Re-blued works well with the other colors in CMG’s forecasted palette, and it combines well with warm or cool colors. “This color can be darkened for a classic look, lightened to reflect coastal inspiration, or grayed off for an urban look,” says Mark Woodman, CMG president. “This year’s colors are cleaner than last year’s.”

Atlantis Blue is the top choice for The Color 
Association of the United States
A much brighter and vibrant blue, Atlantis blue was chosen as the “it” color for 2013 by the Color Association of the United States (CAUS). Colors are “neutrals, naturals, and soft-tones in early 2013, moving to dark and bright tones. Middle of the road colors are not in play,” says Leslie Harrington, executive director.  Adding that this year’s colors are “less saturated, where colors are neutralized and softened, as if viewed through a film or filter.”

Colors and patterns make bold or subtle statements
The blues and the greens named as top colors for 2013 work well together, with a variety of other colors, and with today’s popular patterns and styles. Patterns are gaining in popularity in wedding design. It’s not unusual for high-contrast patterns to grace tabletops, adding visual interest to the overall design. Woodman says opposing colors used in patterns create “sharp, new, and very modern looks that appear a little shocking, unexpected, and boundary-pushing,” which is wonderful news for brides who use color boldly.

For brides who don’t have an affinity for high-contrast patterns, Rebecca O’Dea from BBJ Linens has a great solution. She says, “A subtle pattern adds depth and dimension to the table especially when used on a colored linen.” This can be achieved using patterned fabric or overlays.

Spin the wheel for correct color combinations
Use a color wheel to help you combine colors correctly. This year’s colors can either stay in the spectrum of cool tones or reach across the color wheel to complimentary vibrant pink and rose tones. With blues and greens, color has a multitude of possibilities. Woodman suggests creating “an urban look involving violet blue, charcoal, and white, or rustic elegance using heavier textures and satin in linen, beige, and white.”  This is an excellent suggestion for brides who still prefer an all-white wedding to make the design more visually appealing.

bushmerson - details (66 of 82)-1Emerald green combines nicely with many colors, including blues or pinks. Eiseman advises creating a dramatic combination by “using another jewel tone from the purple family, like amethyst or plum.”  Emerald green pops against neutrals and whites as well. Monochromatic color schemes, where a single color is lightened or darkened, remain popular. This technique can be used when adding texture and dimension to florals and linens. “Color combinations should be complex, which is achieved through using colors that are not in high contrast,” says Harrington.

In addition, Veronica Taylor, from Designer Specialty Linens, says, “Brides add sophistication to their color palette by incorporating metallics using overlays and tabletop items that make their colors pop.” Elegance is making a comeback to wedding design and using metallics to complement décor is a simple way to increase the level of formality, she adds.

Using colors confidently equals success
Many brides and wedding professionals alike get comfortable using the color palettes that are seen in wedding media. Remember, these images are from past weddings and colors trend forward. If a bride is stuck in the realm of “already been done,” give her a twist that updates her look.

When working with color, says Woodman, “combine colors that you love. Something that brings you joy usually brings confidence.” His advice is a great foundation to using color confidently. With a bit of research into the current color trends, and direction from the bride, you can easily navigate the color spectrum and create visually stunning designs. Be familiar with your bride’s comfort level when using color before you make combination suggestions. Give her options by showing the difference between staying in cool tones and combining complementary colors that are across the color wheel. “Look for combinations that have subtle shifts in only one dimension of color like hue, value, or saturation,” says Harrington.

Use the bride as your guide. Be mindful of what she is telling you, even if you are tempted to head in another direction. “This is the bride’s day and she needs to choose what resonates with her,” says Eiseman. “Brides should say ‘I love that color!’ when colors are selected.”

Quick Facts
Hue—color family of a particular shade.
Value—lightness or darkness of a color.
Saturation—brightness of a color.
2013 Spring Colors—neutralized and softened.
2013 Fall Colors—darkened and brightened.
Pantone’s 2013 Color of the Year—Emerald green.
The Color Association of the United States’ Color of the Year—Atlantis blue.
Color Marketing Group’s NEXT Color—Re-blued.

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