Choosing and Using Colors in Your Wedding Style

Dangerous Mathematicians DesignFrom traditional whites to brights and patterns, nothing is off limits these days. But remember, great style is timeless. So watch out for colors or patterns that are too trendy. You’ll be looking back at your wedding photos for years to come.

The attire you choose to wear may predetermine your color palette, but there are still many other factors to consider.

Do you both want to wear traditional white gowns?

Make sure your whites go harmoniously. Warm whites (reddish, yellowish undertones) tend to go with warm whites, cool whites (bluish, greenish undertones) with cool whites. This is the one place where using color to accessorize is a can-do! The bolder the better! Why not?!

Do you prefer the traditional black tux/white gown combo?

Again, try to stick with either a warm color palette or a cool one. A warm, or “rich” black, has reddish or yellowish undertones. A cool black can sometimes look like a very, very, dark blue. (There are many different hues that are referred to as “black,” so make sure you look carefully.) Pair cool blacks with cool whites. Pair warm blacks with warm whites, or crèmes. You can incorporate colors when you accessorize.

Gray Palette

Every color has warm or cool tendencies. On the left are warm grays, on the right, cooler ones.

Do you both prefer suits?

You’ll have more color options; just pay attention to all of the other pieces that will make up your outfit (ties, scarves, vests, etc), and make sure they all go together as well.

None of the above?

Once you decide what type of attire you want to wear, decide how you and your partner want to complement each other. Do you want to wear similar colors? Do you want to have some contrast? Do you want to clash? (Clashing can work. We’ve seen it!) There are many ways to “match” without having to do so literally.

Lk and Paula chose an overall palette of black and white (see above), but had lots of other colors and textures present.

If you want to break away from tradition a bit, without going too far, try some softer colors.

Go for a grey instead of black. Grey has a reputation for being dull, but it can be very striking and sensual. It’s also a snap to accessorize with ties, scarves, pocket squares, etc. in both neutral and brighter colors.

Try a dark brown. It goes beautifully with crème.

Have you thought about blue?

It goes great with white, especially if you’re going for something “nautical,” or getting hitched anywhere near a body of water. From French blue to navy blue, there are blue hues for everyone.

If you want to move further away from tradition, find a starting point. Stick with colors you already like and wear. Take fabric swatches (or color cards) of tints and tones you envision yourselves wearing and place them next to each other. Do you like how they look together? Add your wedding venue/theme colors, and (if applicable) your wedding party’s colors. If the color combination makes you feel assaulted and/or unhappy, tone things down a little, or use fewer colors. If seeing them makes you feel good, build on them. Figure out what you want to wear and decide what color each item of your outfit will be.

Your color palette: Too many colors? Not enough colors?

Color Palette

When shopping for your wedding attire, carry around colors/pictures of outfits that you like, or get swatches of fabric in your preferred colors. If one of you already has your outfit, make sure you bring a swatch of it with you when you go shopping for your partner’s outfit. You don’t want to be unpleasantly surprised when you see the two outfits together for the first time. (If you can’t get an official swatch, a nice trick is to cut away a small piece of fabric from the seam allowance inside the garment.)

Whether you and your partner decide to go for similar colors or contrasting colors, fewer colors or more colors, make sure you feel good about them! Whether or not you hire a designer, use your intuition. It won’t let you down!


Math teacher-turned fashion designer Karen Patwa founded her clothing company, Dangerous Mathematicians, in 2005. Her goal as a designer is to celebrate the intelligence, individuality and creativity through exciting and high-quality design. Karen specializes in tailored suits for women, creating garments that suit the needs of each individual.