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Top Colors for Summer Weddings


For the happy couple, summer weddings are all about warm connections between the couple and their soon-to-be newly united families. For florists, a summer wedding is an opportunity to showcase your unique talent to create the scene of their dreams. Warm connections can also be made for you because weddings are the perfect venue to display a continuous artistic creation that can simultaneously tell their story and get YOUR name out there.

A constant leader in all things color, Pantone can be referenced to help determine what color combinations might be a popular selection. Of course, the Pantone color of the year this year is “Living Coral,” which is described as “an animated, life-affirming shade of orange, with golden undertones.”

The rest of the Pantone lineup for spring consist of some warm and engaging colors, perfect for a party atmosphere that will complement the heat and spice of summer. The colors are bright and captivating without being overwhelming and offer florists many options for combinations of both understated colors to soften the look and those bolder colors that your creativity can make dazzle.

The list of Pantone’s summer colors is made up of 12 fun, vibrant shades like Fiesta - a fiery orange-red, Jester Red – a very bold, deep red, Turmeric – a lively orange, Pink Peacock – a dramatic pink, Toffee – a reassuring, nurturing brown, Sweet Lilac – a soft, childlike mix of pink and lavender, and more colors that are similarly interesting and deep.

To contrast and enhance the 12 shades, Pantone suggests four colors. Soybean is a versatile option leaning towards a neutral cream that looks fresh and sweet. Eclipse is the sort of navy you only find on a dark night sky before a storm and can be a bold choice for groomsmen. Sweet Corn may be the star of the show for brides because it is a soft and delicate selection form of off-white. The last neutral shade is Brown Granite, a grey yet earthy tone.

“Vibrant without being overpowering, highlighted shades illustrate our desire for authenticity and our continued need for creativity and relatable, accessible design,” said Laurie Pressman, vice president of the Pantone Color Institute.

When it comes to coral, note that blue is complimentary on the color spectrum. The two hues give each other strength.

For several years there has been a pattern with colors. Within the pattern, there are variations involving the leading colors of purple, green, yellow and blue. There are always subtle changes in each shade, but the pattern is still there.

Billy Idol sang the song, “It’s a nice day for a white wedding,” and that is certainly true for summer. According to Jackie Lacey, Director of Education at Floriology Institute, “white is major for this summer.”

Even though we are talking about the top colors for summer weddings, white is not actually a color. White is what is known as a “non-color.” Black and white do not have specific wavelengths. White possesses all the wavelengths of visible light whereas black is the absence of visible light.

Contrary to the opinion that white can be plain, there are many ways to incorporate white. Black and white together are traditional standards as these colors can be elegant or dressed down. A nice bonus is that black is slimming and white is always perfect for summer.

In a recession or time of unrest, we all go back to black and white and choose variations of red as accent colors. Many people may not recognize the connection, but the popularity of certain colors is influenced by what is happening in the world and any emotion world news or current events may be provoking.

Like any other trend, types of colors gain popularity and are then replaced by different versions and cycle around. Color schemes are either bright, medium or pale. Last year’s colors were much brighter, and the year before last, colors were pale. This year, colors are medium in intensity – not very bright but not dull, either.

When colors are paired, they typically fall into a medium scheme. Blue and yellow are generally accent colors. Blue has reigned in popularity but is finally fading and is being replaced by stronger accent colors.

For brides, Sweet Corn is a soft color that is a new twist on the traditional and very reassuring creams and off-whites. Sweet Lilac, Mango Mojito and Princess Blue are great for accent colors. Living Coral and Jester Red will add a pop of very vibrant and memorable color to the scene as part of the florals or even on an embellishment, while Eclipse is great for groomsmen.

Blue and green go well with coral. Blush can incorporate a lot of possibilities for many different color schemes and can also add another layer of romance.

Whenever you take on a wedding, it is important to recognize that it will be a large and often lengthy process, so maintaining a comfortable relationship and open communication with the engaged couple and anyone else involved in the planning process is essential. In fact, the relationship you have is one of the most important components and will directly impact the success of the wedding and the satisfaction of the couple from start to finish.

One of the first questions we are conditioned to ask is what “wedding colors” the engaged couple has chosen, but for some couples you may be skipping a step by asking this question too soon.

As florists, we imagine that the rest of the world sees the way we do. While you can view an arrangement or a painting or even the design and décor of a room and dissect color and lines and critique balance or lack thereof, clients may not have a discerning eye for these details. Not all people are visual. Some may need additional guidance.

For clients who have no idea what colors they would like to choose, have examples you can show to represent the ideas you have and how they can be executed. Be prepared to add additional elements as if you are telling the couple a story. Whether people learn visually, audibly or by writing down ideas, we all universally appreciate a good story. Tell your couple little stories to illustrate different color combinations in florals and what they can say when combined.

Start by asking the couple for details about their relationship. How they met is important, but what may be more important is getting an idea of the mood and the setting. They may want to recreate certain aspects of how their surroundings looked and felt during pivotal moments in their relationship.

Another detail to pay attention to is what colors you see around the couple. Each time you meet, note what colors they may be wearing. If you meet in one of their homes, note how the home is decorated and what colors show up on the wall or as accents. The colors they are surrounded by may not work for a wedding, but it gives you a glimpse of what color combinations they favor. For instance, it is important to find out if the colors they like are muted or bright.

By the time they are meeting with you, most couples have likely already chosen a venue, which will help determine what colors and florals will best accentuate the surroundings. If a couple has a suggestion for colors that you think may clash, be open and honest about your opinion without sounding too critical. Make sure to offer alternatives.

When in doubt about a color they have selected, show them why you feel the colors they chose may not be the right colors to complement their venue or the scene they want to create. Examine ways to honor their choices while still creating a picture-worthy scene.

The season that a couple chooses for their wedding also gives hints into their color choices. Summer is wedged between Spring, which has always been synonymous with softer, more romantic colors, and Fall, which characteristically consists of rich, bold jewel tones. Where does Summer fall in between the two contrasting color schemes?

Summer has characteristically been a season of muted colors with blue undertones. Summer conjures thoughts of the contrastingly playful and tumultuous ocean, warm sand and fragrant blossoms. In the past, blues have played a major role in summer. This time around, blues are present but no longer center stage, and we see more earthy greens and oranges fit for a party on a hot afternoon.

For the summer wedding you are designing, there are some very fun color combos that can be influenced both by the venue and the vibe. For unique, tent-style weddings, consider the bold Pink Peacock or a similar color that can be toned down with a more mellow blue.

If you are planning a fun wedding that feels more like a party, consider going bold with hues that are either complimentary, which exist opposite each other on the color wheel, or those similar hues that are neighbors on the color wheel. If you stick to either of those choices, you can avoid clashing colors.

The bride’s look can be accessorized with a gorgeous flower crown of anemones or a similar statement flower. You can also place a single red or orange bloom in a loose updo.

There has been an ongoing push toward what is natural and organic. For weddings with the more natural feel, such as those at a lake, consider muted green shades or softer blues. These can be paired with neutral tones of taupe, greys, beiges and light browns.

Those color palettes are inspiring and breathtaking in the natural environment of a rustic or outdoor wedding. Options for blue florals can be limited as it is the rarest of flower colors, but blue hydrangeas, delphinium, clematis, grape hyacinth and morning glories are all stunning in their different shades of blue.

If you are really looking to make a meaningful statement with blue flowers, forget me nots are delicate and light. These natural blue summer blooms with yellow stamens have always symbolized lasting love. It was once believed that people who wore this flower would not be forgotten by their lovers. Details like that will be appreciated and enjoyed by brides, so definitely share your knowledge about the meaning and history of different types of flowers.

There may be a popular television show called “Orange is the New Black” but when it comes to style, color and weddings, orange is the new pink. If you want a hip take on a romantic classic, think sunset, Hollywood, vitality, a zest for life and orange.

Because of the many muted tones available to peacefully coexist with orange, this is an easy trend to incorporate and work into your designs. Also, flower options abound for these tones, so embrace the new trend of softer orange, peaches and of course, coral. This instantly makes your arrangements more interesting and more charming.

For garden party style weddings, consider the updated, bolder version of pink, Pink Peacock paired with cheerful yellows or pale greens. These color pairings are garden-inspired, so the floral options are plentiful, bright and happy. Peonies are the perfect statement flowers for garden party weddings that lean toward being a bit preppy.

Pink Peacock or a variation of it also looks good on all skin tones, especially when used in floral arrangements, bouquets or even adorning little accessories. Just remember that garden parties rely on florals, so the flowers that are selected and displayed will be the backbone of the entire presentation.

These are just a few examples of how the venue can determine your color palette and assist you in your quest to create the scene the engaged couple want for their unforgettable moment. The colors listed are some of the top colors for summer weddings, many influenced by the Pantone selections.

The florals are the backdrop and often part of the décor, but if carefully chosen, they can even represent aspects of the couple. They become part of the story itself. Like a marriage, the temporary partnership you have with the couple will involve communication, patience, honesty, flexibility and of course, compromise.

Stand up and step out at your next summer wedding. Show your experience through design and education. Our wholesalers at Hardin's Wholesale in Liberty, NC are here to help with all the products you’ll need.