Rhoad to the Altar: Picking your wedding colors

Photo by _rockinfree/Flickr.com
Purple has been my favorite color since I was a kid. My first bedroom was lavender.

My favorite color is purple, and almost as soon as I told my friends I was engaged, they asked if my wedding colors were going to involve purple.

If I had it my way, they would.

However, I am not the only person getting married. And when I happily hinted that I wanted purple as one of our wedding colors, Christian said, “But that’s YOUR favorite color. It’s too Abby.” And I understand where he’s coming from. It would definitely be a very Abby wedding if everything was purple.

Christian’s original color suggestion was cranberry and navy, which would be very pretty for a fall wedding. However, neither color really seemed to excite me.

Because we’re getting married in the fall, I wanted our colors to pop against the fall foliage. I suggested coral and navy, but my mom pointed out those are two trendy colors, not really that classic. All I kept thinking about were the “trendy” yet horrible greens, browns and yellows of the 1970s. And the last thing I want is to look back on my wedding in 15 years and think, “Oh God, what was I thinking?” Plus, navy and coral also seem more like summer wedding colors.

I Googled fall wedding colors, and the most popular combination that seemed to come up involved oranges and browns. I’m not a fan of orange because it’s about the only color that looks absolutely awful on me, so I’d rather not surround myself with it on my wedding day.  Plus, I wanted my colors to stand out against the leaves, not blend in.

When discussing colors, we knew Christian wanted grey suits, so we went to Jo-Ann Fabric to get an idea of what shade of grey he wanted and what colors (other than purple) would pair well with the suits.

After pulling several fabrics, we decided that teal and grey look really nice together — while teal really pops against the reds, yellows and oranges of fall. After tentatively deciding on these as our colors, we again turned to Google to see how other couples incorporated these two colors into their wedding decor and fashion.

Daily Record/Sunday News — Kate Penn
These are the tentative color swatches Christian and I picked. Who knew there were so many shades of teal?

On a visit to Christian’s parents’ house in New Jersey, his mom suggested using paint swatches to nail down what shades of grey and teal we wanted. It was interesting because Christian and I actually had two completely different colors in mind.

I definitely recommend heading to Lowes or Home Depot and finding out exactly what you want as your colors. I wanted something bright with a lot green as the base, and Christian was thinking of something darker with more blue. Who knew there were so many varieties of teal?

Next, we will need to decide on how much teal we are going to incorporate into our decorations and whether we will use it as a main color or as more of an accent. We decided that a teal table square would add a pop of color over a white table cloth. We also might use teal paper lanterns or teal ribbons as an accent to votive holders or hanging jars. As we get farther along in the decorating process, we will determine how much teal or grey will come into play.

Courtesy of Abby Rhoad
The bridesmaids dresses I liked didn’t come in the swatches we had picked out, but I think I like the darker teal with an ivory wedding dress.

I also suggest taking the paint swatches with you when you go dress shopping, so you can compare each store’s color swatches to what you envision as your wedding colors. Some stores might come close to your idea of blue or red, but some stores completely miss the mark. It’s also nice to have the color swatches to compare to your wedding dress, depending on whether you pick a white, ivory or champagne dress.

After wedding dress shopping, I decided that I really liked champagne better than white or even ivory, and after some thought, the teal I had originally picked out might not be the best choice. The ivory and champagne wedding dresses looked better with my skin tone, and I think white would be too glaring in the outdoor setting of a cobblestone courtyard and the informal look of a barn reception. White also would be very harsh against the fall foliage. With the more subtle wedding dress color, the original teal that I had wanted seemed too bright.

Courtesy of Abby Rhoad
It’s darker than the teal I envisioned, but I really like it with one of my top 3 dress choices.

I even ended up liking one style of bridesmaid dress that was much darker teal than I would’ve considered.

How did you pick your wedding colors? Were they based on the season or did you just choose your favorite color?


  • Miss any earlier Rhoad to the Altar posts? Catch up on them here.
  • Also, check out our Pinterest page to see what progress we’ve made on wedding decorations, flowers, cakes, invitations, ways to save money and more.

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