Picking a Palette: How to choose your wedding colours


“The make-up is simply an extention of the personality and colours, clothing and make-up all express something.”

– Gene Simmons

When it comes to planning a wedding, most Brides pick colours that will go with the venue they have chosen, or their favourite flower and they spend hours colour-coordinating the tables and the bridesmaids. Very few stop to think about whether the colour scheme will actually compliment THEM – the Bride. It seems odd to think that one should choose wedding colours according to your skin tone, but which Bride wouldn’t want to stand out on her ‘Big Day?’

Colour affects every moment of our lives, even though most of our colour choices are automatic and unconscious. Colour has a profound effect on how we look, how we feel and even how we are perceived by others. The wrong colour scheme can make us look old, drained and life-less, while the exact opposite is true for a complimentary colour scheme. A woman who wears colours that compliment her skin tone is noticed by others and looks vibrant, young and full of energy.

How do I know which skin tone I have?

Skin tones are classified according to two main categories, each with their own two sub-categories:


Cool toned people are classified as WINTER or SUMMER. They have skin that has rosy-beige or bluish-red undertones.

*Most South Africans are classified as cool toned people.

**Quick test: if you turn your hand up and the veins under your skin from your wrist are blue, you are probably cool toned.

Examples of ‘cool toned celebrities’:


People with a warm skin tone are classified under AUTUMN or SPRING. They have yellow or golden undertones.

***Quick test: if you turn your hand up and the veins under your skin from your wrist are green, you are probably warml toned

Examples of ‘warm toned celebrities’:

Colour Choices:


“All colours are friends of their neighbours and lovers of their opposites”

– Marc Chagall

When you look at the colour wheel, you will see that analogous colours go well togehter (they are ‘friends’), so you can choose a single colour and work with different shades or tints of that same colour for your wedding with great success.

Colours that are opposite each other on the colour wheel are “complimentary colours” (or ‘lovers’) and when you use them together, they tend to make each other stand out and shine. When you pick colours for your wedding, make sure that you pick colours that are complimentary to your complexion so that they make you radiate and shine!

Here’s how to put it into practice:

Cool toned Brides:

– The ‘Winters’

Brides with this type of skin colour look best in clear, true or vivid colours such as reds, magenta’s or emerald greens.

Eyeshadow: Dark, cool brown, charcoal grey, plum, silver and white.

Cheeks: Strong shades of pink

Lips: Medium dark pink, plum or deep red.

Wedding Colour Palette:


– The ‘Summers’

Brides with this type of skin tone look best in soft, muted colours (still very much the same palette as with winter, but a tint of the colour – lighter)

– Summer’s favourite colours are often blue, but they should avoid yellows.

Eyeshadow: Coffee brown, pinks, light grey

Cheeks: medium to light shades of pink

Lips: Light to medium pink, pink red

Wedding Colour Palette:

Warm Toned Brides

– The ‘Autumns’

Brides in this category has a warm skin tone with yellow undertones, best in deep, earthy colours

Eyeshadow: Dark brown, bronze, pink, earthy green

Cheeks: Medium to light shades of pink or very light bronze

Lips: light to dark pink

Wedding Colour Palette:


– The ‘Springs’

Brides with this type of skin tone look best in light, bright, clear colours. they should avoid blue-based reds or very dark colours.

Eyeshadow: Rusty brown, medium golden brown, peach-apricot, light blue

Cheeks: Light, soft shades of peach or apricot

Lips: Light shades of peach, orange or coral

Wedding Colour Palette:


Palette photo’s courtesy of ‘Design Seeds’: http://www.design-seeds.com

*Author: Sunelle van den Berg 

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