10 Fresh Color Combinations for Summer Wedding Decor

Summer is a great season for bright wedding décor.
Summer is a great season for bright wedding décor.
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Now that you're engaged, a lot of conversations you have will go like this: "You're engaged! How did he propose? When's the wedding? What are your colors?"

Your colors are one of the more important aspects of how you plan your whole wedding day. From dresses to flowers, from linens to place cards, the colors you choose will set the tone for the entire event. The minute a guest receives her save-the-date invite to the thank yous sent after the wedding, your colors will set the mood. Choose the right color, and you'll have a fabulous-looking wedding -- choose something a shade off, and you might have some angry bridesmaids on your hands saying, "I can't believe she's making us wear puce!"

No pressure to choose a good color, right? Luckily, summer is an easy season for colors. Pretty much any color looks fantastic at a summer wedding (except maybe puce). On one hand, that's great; but it can also make your decision even tougher. Let's take a look at 10 of the freshest color combinations to hit the wedding aisle.


Pink and Green

Use outdoor greenery to your advantage with pink.
Use outdoor greenery to your advantage with pink.
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Don't let your fiancé think that pink is just a girly color. The great thing about pink and green together is that they can be fun and flirty, soothing or elegantly rich. It all depends on which shades you choose.

A bright pink and lime green combination is perfect for a summer afternoon outdoor affair with a preppy beat. Outdoor weddings can also play up any lush greenery at the venue. Hang pink lanterns from green arches, weave lights on bushes. Work Mother Nature into your design and color scheme.

However, if your wedding reception is in a banquet hall that's heavy on darker colors, fuchsia and lime might not be your best choice. That's when a pale pink and forest green combination would look stunning.


Pink and Yellow

Pink and yellow flowers can be great for an outdoor setting.
Pink and yellow flowers can be great for an outdoor setting.
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Pink is many a girl's favorite color, but sometimes we arch an eyebrow at yellow. Why? A lot of women don't have the proper skin tone to pull off a yellow dress. That's where pink comes to the rescue. Outfit your bridesmaids in pale pink, and use yellow as the perfect accent color.

Pink and yellow can be a great combination at the dinner table as well. If you're renting china, see if you can do pink and yellow place settings. Also try using colored linens -- no one says the tablecloths and napkins have to be white.

Think about using the colors independently, like pink flowers on the place card table and yellow ribbons adorning the bar. They'll still complement each other.


Light Gray and Pink

Silver can go with pink and gray, too.
Silver can go with pink and gray, too.
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Gray is the new black. It's even the new brown. Why are designers going gaga for it? It's one of the most elegant colors around, and it's putting a modern spin on the classic wedding. Use it for your summer wedding, and you'll cool down a hot day.

One of the best things about gray is that it's so versatile. It goes well with just about any color. When you have a popular color like gray, its versatility means your wedding doesn't have to be cookie cutter. People go to a lot of weddings every year, and the last thing you want them to do is go to their fifth gray wedding of the season.

Pale pink and light gray is one of the best color combinations out there, because it looks really elegant and can go two ways. Gray can be the main color, with pink as an accent, or vice versa. Think of gray bridesmaid dresses with pink sashes, or pink dresses with gray sashes. Gray stationery with soft pink lettering -- or you can choose the reverse. Use silver vases with soft pink roses as your centerpieces. Let your imagination go wild!


Blue and White

Blue and white can give you wedding that breezy summer feeling.
Blue and white can give you wedding that breezy summer feeling.
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You've seen those buildings in the Greek islands, right? The white buildings with the blue roofs? Try that look for your summer wedding. Nothing says summer like the beach, and the color of the Mediterranean is perfect for a summertime wedding. Using a tropical shade of blue will give your wedding a calm, relaxed feeling, and pairing it with a crisp white can capture that cool, beachy feel. Let's also mention that Pantone, the company that writes the book on color, has named turquoise as the 2010 color of the year, so you should be able to find great ways to use blue everywhere. It doesn't hurt that most people look good in blue, so your bridal party will be happy to wear almost any shade of this color.

White can keep the blue from going overboard. Use white flowers, and add blue ribbons for bridal bouquets, boutonnieres and flowers along the aisle. Look for blue vases to use as centerpieces on stark white tablecloths. Having your wedding outside? Create cozy, romantic cabanas with couches adorned with blue and white pillows, all covered with gauzy white fabric. String up white lights everywhere for a twilit touch.


Yellow and Blue

Yellow can really make a vibrant blue stand out even more.
Yellow can really make a vibrant blue stand out even more.
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If you tell some bridesmaids that yellow and blue are your wedding colors, they might say, "If you think we're wearing yellow dresses, you're crazy!" Really, though, yellow and blue are an ideal combination, especially in the summer sun.

Here, it's really important to think about the way you combine colors, and using one color as the main shade for your wedding, with an accent color complementing it, can change your wedding from "blah" to "wow."

The yellow/blue combo is one of these "wow" combos. Blue dresses with yellow accents or flowers really make the blue pop. Yellow roses with blue ribbons along the aisle will complement the attire. This one's pretty interchangeable -- just take into account your bridesmaids. Not everyone looks good in yellow, and if your bridesmaids won't, don't force them to buy a yellow dress.


Red, Black and White

You don't have to use red, white and black everywhere in your wedding. Small accents of red can make white and black stand out.
You don't have to use red, white and black everywhere in your wedding. Small accents of red can make white and black stand out.
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Black and white is a classic wedding color combo, because it'll never go out of style. Add some red accents, and you'll keep your wedding from being boring.

What's black and white and red all over? Not your wedding. Don't feel like you have to make every accessory in your wedding black, white and red. Use the red as pops of color here and there. Maybe put a red accent on your cake. Use red ribbons to make invitations stand out, or use them to hang flower arrangements from the ceiling or walls in a reception area.

You can also try red as an accent in your aisle runner. Some companies produce customized runners to match your colors. It's a great way to include that particular accent. Put it where guests will least expect it, and they'll remember your wedding for a long time.


Coral and Gray

The bright hues of coral really stand out against natural color shades.
The bright hues of coral really stand out against natural color shades.
Lisa Romerein/Botanica/Getty Images

Want a beachy wedding but blue isn't your thing? Try coral and gray. You'll bring the beauty of a tropical coral reef to your wedding. As we've mentioned, gray is one the hottest colors today, and one great color to pair with it is a bright shade like coral. These two colors work beautifully together -- coral brightens up the entire party, but the gray won't let you go overboard into a coral extravaganza.

Think about coral dresses with a gray sash, or have grey dresses with coral sashes and coral necklaces. If you're dressing the men in gray suits, a coral boutonniere will liven them up. You could even play up the theme with coral centerpieces. Just don't let your guests bring their scuba gear.

Coral also gives you an opportunity to make your color part of the entire wedding theme. Love the ocean? Opt for coral, and not only can you make a beautiful statement with color, but you can incorporate a cause as well. Instead of wedding favors, make a donation to a coral reef conservancy.


Orange and Yellow

Yellow and orange are quintessential summer colors.
Yellow and orange are quintessential summer colors.
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You'll be walking on sunshine as you go down the aisle, so why not choose bright colors that are as radiant as you are? Orange and yellow are fabulous colors for a summer wedding. They're bright and cheerful, and they won't fade out in the summer sun.

One of the fun parts about orange and yellow is that you can do really unusual things to set your wedding apart. When life hands you lemons, make a table arrangement. Using citrus fruit as a centerpiece will not only have your guests talking, it's another way to add a favor. Let your guests take home the fruit when the party's over!

With orange and yellow, you can also interchange how they're used. Try alternating orange and yellow in seat covers. DJs can also put orange and yellow gel filters on their spotlights to brighten up the dance floor.


Several Shades of One Color

Several shades of blue might suggest the ocean or a summer beach trip.
Several shades of blue might suggest the ocean or a summer beach trip.
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You don't always need a color combo to make a beautiful wedding. If you have one favorite color, go for it. But there's color, and then there's overkill. In order to keep your wedding from being a spectacle of one color, pick a base color, and then accent it with shades of that color. This works particularly well with blues and greens. You can take a basic blue, and then play with sky blue, royal blue and even navy to create interesting accents.

Check out paint Web sites to see how shades of color work together -- just think of your wedding as one big palette.


Neutral Colors

Neutral colors like beige will almost always work in a summer wedding.
Neutral colors like beige will almost always work in a summer wedding.
Art Montes De Oca/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

What happens when your perfect ceremony site and reception hall don't match? If the church has dark colors and your reception hall is decked out in pastels, you don't have to pick one or the other to match. Choose neutrals! They go with everything, and they'll ensure that neither venue's décor will stand out in your guests' minds.

Neutrals are also great for playing with textures. If you don't want color to be the focus, use brocades or interesting fabrics to help bring some nuance to the table. Adorn an ivory brocade tablecloth with a square vase of white roses. Or you can put a complex flower like an orchid with a simple ecru, or beige, silk tablecloth.

Use white lights or candles to make everything shiny. Even the texture of your invitations, place cards and thank yous can make neutrals interesting.

Another great reason for neutrals? They'll always be in style.


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  • Albright, Tia. "Wedding Style: Wedding Color Q&A." TheKnot.com. (April 9, 2010) http://wedding.theknot.com/wedding-planning/choosing-wedding-colors/articles/wedding-style-color-qa.aspx?MsdVisit=1
  • Keith, Amy. "Wedding Style: 15 Tips for Choosing Your Wedding Colors." TheKnot.com. (April 9, 2010) http://wedding.theknot.com/wedding-planning/choosing-wedding-colors/articles/weddings-with-color.aspx
  • Pantone. "Pantone Unveils Color of the Year for 2010: PANTONE 15-5519 Turquoise." Dec. 8, 2009. (April 9, 2010) http://www.pantone.com/pages/pantone/pantone.aspx?pg=20706&ca=10