How Many Colors Should Be in Your Wedding's Color Palette?

You'll want to strike the right balance.

copper and pink wedding color scheme
Photo: Alexes Lauren Photography

There are dozens and dozens of colors to choose from when selecting your wedding color palette, which can make it tough to limit yourself. But here's the thing: Too many colors can make any palette seem disjointed—and too few can leave you without options when it comes to planning out your wedding details. There is a sweet spot, however, experts agree. As it turns out, the ideal wedding color palette is somewhere in the neighborhood of three to five colors.

"I would say that less is more, and even accent colors like metallics can be considered," says Valarie Falvey, owner and event planner of Kirkbrides in Cleveland, Ohio. "In my opinion, an ideal number would be three [colors], as it translates through on the focal elements and accent pieces, and allows you to create a beautiful, full overall look," the pro says.

Daulton Van Kuren, owner and creative director of The Refined Host in Buffalo, New York, agrees that three primary or neutral colors are a good base for any color palette, but adds that one to two accent colors can also be incorporated. However, both Falvey and Van Kuren agree that any more than five colors in a color palette is simply too many. "This can end up looking messy and uncoordinated," Falvey explains. Or, as Van Kuren puts it, "using more than five colors will start to complicate the overall look and will lead to a confusing and disjointed design, since you won't have enough of each color to apply to each element."

To limit yourself to only five colors, Van Kuren recommends narrowing down your favorite hues, then weighing them against your venue and the season. "For example, at a winter wedding, you may shy away from very bright colors," she points out, "or if you are getting married in an all-white room, you may want to embrace bold tones to make a statement."

Falvey recommends you steer clear of uber-specific colors in your palette, too. "Don't try to work with one specific shade or swatch because this makes it very difficult to get exactly right and could set you up for disappointment," she warns. "It's best to be open to different shades of a hue as it adds more interest to the decor as well and isn't so matchy-matchy."

Van Kuren agrees about staying open when it comes to your color palette—and adds that being realistic can help you hone your hues. "Sharpening the color palette requires realistic expectations when it comes to researching the items that are actually available to you," she explains. "If your dream vision includes a red velvet lounge furniture in the bar room but you cannot find the pieces from local vendors within your budget, you may have to switch to black leather or navy velvet—which leads to adjusting your other colors in the palette."

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