Wedding Planning Guide

creative summer wedding colors & themes

If you’re planning a summer wedding, chances are you’re looking for the perfect summer wedding colors. Look no further.

Sunny days, warm nights, vacation, and all the popsicles you can eat. What’s not to love? Summer is in itself a reason to celebrate, and the possibilities for a summer wedding are endless. An ideal summer wedding color palette is bold and bright while still lending a touch of romantic softness. Whether you’re having a small, backyard ceremony or a big bash at a beach resort, don’t be afraid to make a statement with your summer wedding colors, theme, decor, and more.

When most people hear “wedding season,” they think “summer.” And they’re not wrong. Even if you’re getting married yourself this summer, you’ve probably also sent back an RSVP or two (or three, or five). It’s one of the most beautiful times of year, kids are out of school, and people are already in the mood for traveling and partying. So of course, you’ll want to zero in on a summer wedding theme that reflects the vibe.

To guide you as you start your wedding planning, you’ll want to choose a theme that is broad enough to inform all your aesthetic choices while still feeling personal and unique. It can be subtle or splashy, whatever feels true to you. Get inspired by your venue or the natural setting nearby, pick a detail from your own love story to share with all your guests, or simply choose your favorite thing about summer and then let your imagination run wild. If you’re looking for the perfect wedding colors for summer, here are a few tips to keep in mind.


Top Wedding Colors for Summer 2020

Summer wedding dinner table

Photo: Sally Pinera

DESERT BLOOM

Taupe + Burnt sienna + Sage

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"Blossoms" wedding invitation by Lori Wemple

CITRUS SPLASH

Mimosa + Turmeric + Terra cotta

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"Tissue Texture" wedding invitation by Carrie Moradi

SUMMER DUSK

Forest green + Blush + Marigold

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"Al Fresco" foil-pressed wedding invitation by Lucrecia

FLORAL CHARM

Flamingo pink + Lilac + Ochre + Onyx

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"Spring Dream" wedding invitation by Angela Marzuki

SUMMERY SORBET

Champagne + Lime + Rosé

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"Color Block" wedding invitation by Morgan Kendall

Let your Wedding Venue Help you Choose a Summer Wedding Color Palette

Reliably gorgeous weather means that you can take your pick of venues and really have fun with your wedding planning without worrying too much about logistics. Want to get married on the beach? In the mountains? Besides a sparkling lake? On a moonlit vineyard patio? It’s all possible.

If you choose a venue that already has a lot of decor or a stylish aesthetic of its own—like a mountaintop lodge, winery, or botanical garden—it's best to work with what’s already there as much as possible. That way, you won't have to bring in much additional decor. For example, a preppy, nautical theme might not make a ton of sense if you’re getting married in the woods, but hey, do you! Either way, wedding colors for summer should reflect whatever’s most fun, bright, and warm about your venue, your event, and your love story.

If you opt for an indoor wedding like a ballroom or art gallery, be sure to ask if there are outdoor spaces you can utilize, like a patio or garden, so guests can enjoy the sunshine. It’s always nice to offer some movement between the indoors and the outdoors, particularly if you’re in a part of the country where heavy air-conditioning isn’t the norm. It's also a good idea to have a backup cool-off plan in case a heat wave strikes, similar to what a couple getting married in April might need in order to deal with the possibility of rain. Consider renting a tent or several patio umbrellas if you're planning on an outdoor ceremony. Also, be sure to provide amenities like sunscreen, parasols, and hand fans so guests can beat the heat. Have a self-serve drink station at the ceremony, so guests can help themselves to ice water and other chilled beverages as they're waiting for the ceremony to begin.

Even if you’re not so much the outdoorsy type, getting married in the summer offers lots of ways to bring a little bit of natural beauty into your special day. Everything’s in season, so your florist should be able to find blooms in any summer wedding colors you can imagine. Your wedding menu is also a great way to incorporate the fruits and flowers of the season. Think fresh local ingredients for side-dishes plus customized cocktails created with lemonade and seasonal berries, or garnished with local edible flowers.

Outdoor summer wedding

Photo: Sally Pinera

Go to the Movies for Inspiration on Summer Wedding Colors and Themes

One great (and fun) way to get some summer wedding inspiration is to revisit your favorite summer movies, whether they’re blockbusters or indie flicks. Think about time periods and color palettes that appeal to you, or take inspiration from your favorite summer love stories. Did you simply adore The Notebook? Maybe go for a vintage mid-century color-scheme, take some inspiration from the county fair scene, or hand out customized notebooks as party favors. For the musically inclined, Grease is another classic story of summer lovin’ with lots of fun 50s flair.

No need to limit yourself to rom-coms, of course. Big fan of The Sandlot? Serve grown-up versions of kid-style cuisine. Or maybe you’re into surfer flicks like The Endless Summer, action adventure movies, or superhero epics, both of which lend themselves to vibrant and eye-catching summer wedding color palettes. Anything you love can serve as your inspiration, and movies are a great place to start.

If you decide to go this route, make sure that whatever theme you choose comes through clearly for the guests who know the film, but isn't so specific that it’ll confuse anyone who hasn’t. And like everything else in life, love, and wedding planning, it’s all about balance. Keep it fun, but not funky and nostalgic but not sentimental. And if you’re taking inspiration from the movies, make sure you’re drawing from a classic film that has aged well (like Grease) or a broad category of film (like surf movies or noir).

So When’s the Big Day? Let the Date Help You Plan

Most couples select their wedding venue first and then let the date fall into place accordingly. Occasionally a couple might have a specific date in mind that happens to line up with their dream venue, but that’s not always the norm. Summer is an especially busy time of year for weddings, so you’ll want to start planning well in advance and try to be flexible on your dates. It’s not unheard of for popular venues to book a year and a half out. And of course, once you’ve settled on the date you’ll want to make sure that you over- communicate with your guests at every step during the RSVP process, as many of them will be juggling multiple events and weddings, plus vacations and other summer plans.

If you're planning to include kids at your wedding, keep in mind that it's a good idea to give your guests with families plenty of notice about your wedding date. Mail out save the date cards six to eight months before the wedding. This will give parents enough time to make plans to attend, especially if they’ll be traveling for the event. And of course you can decide whether you want to include kids in the ceremony and reception. If you do decide kids are welcome, think about providing some kid-friendly activities and possibly even childcare during the reception. An arts and crafts table is always a nice addition, and their parents will appreciate the break.

READ MORE:
The Complete Guide to Save the Dates

Save the Dates

"A Few Words" save the date by Susan Brown
Photo: Katherine Lou

Summer Wedding Theme Ideas

Now for the fun part. Here are a few popular summer wedding color palettes and themes that’ll make your event a blast for one and all.

Pool Party

Let’s say a more casual affair is more your style. Remember how much fun pool and pizza parties used to be? Why not do it again on a grand, romantic scale?

This works well if you’re having your wedding at a hotel and can rent the pool for the day. And of course you don’t actually have to serve pizza. But then again, you could, and probably everyone would love it. Deep aqua will be your main hue, accented with the kinds of bright neons you'd see on swimsuits or pool floats. Think hot pink, electric green, orange, and other loud colors. Serve poolside cocktails like piña coladas and daiquiris. Don’t forget the tiny umbrellas! Project a video of cool rippling water onto the walls or ceiling and invite your guests to dive into a fun day they’ll never forget.

Day at the Beach

Beach weddings are a perfect ode to summer, but if even if you're not having the wedding itself on the beach, a seaside theme offers a lot of great textures and bright colors. Think about deep blue for your main color scheme, accented with bright white, pale blue, or sea green. If you want to add a little pop of brightness, red-and-white stripes always add a little maritime merriment.

Texture is also an important part of this scheme. You could incorporate natural-toned hemp rope into your bouquet wrap or invitations. They don’t call it “tying the knot” for nothing, right? Also opt to decorate your table settings with seashells, starfish, and sand dollars. If children will be in attendance and there’s an appropriate outdoor space, create a mini sandbox for them to enjoy. And beach balls are always a fun thing to have for tossing around a dance floor.

Summer of Love

If you’re a free-spirited couple looking for a bohemian wedding theme that marries a groovy summer wedding color palette with a little bit of sweet nostalgia, this could be the one. After all, the Summer of Love is what started the flower crown trend we’re still seeing in wedding photos all over Pinterest. This theme works some far-out magic if your venue is a park or a garden, but you could adapt it to suit any setting. Think big, blown-out blooms woven in garlands or artfully strewn wherever you like, cupcakes with tie-dye frosting (or maybe a funfetti wedding cake), and at least a little bit of '60s-inspired music for the playlist. It’ll be a hit with guests of all generations. For your color scheme, think in terms of vintage faves like mustard yellow and lime green, or go deep with heavy jewel tones like emerald, navy, and plum.

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Photo: Melissa Gayle

Summer Camp

Did you both love summer camp? If you did, or if you want to turn your wedding weekend into a summer campout, it might make the perfect summer wedding theme. This one works perfectly if you’re getting hitched outdoors or somewhere a little bit rustic like a lodge or cabin. You’ll want a color palette that focuses on green, yellow, and some warmer hues like cinnamon brown, tan, or burnt orange. Think Moonrise Kingdom adapted to your particular venue. If you’re having a daytime wedding and you’re up for some fun and games, there are lots of nostalgic camp activities you can set up for your guests and their kiddos. If your ceremony is at night, use twinkle lights in jars as centerpieces in honor of those warm summer nights spent catching fireflies. Include sparklers on your cake, or end the evening with a small fireworks display (if it’s okay with your venue, of course). And of course, no summer camp experience would be complete without some indulgent desserts. We can smell the campfire s’mores bar now!

Summer Treats

One of our favorite things about summer? Ice cream. And popsicles. And lemonade. And salt water taffy. Basically, anything you’d find at an amusement park. If you decide to take your wedding inspiration from your favorite summertime indulgences, think in terms of the candy colors you’d find at an old-fashioned boardwalk. Can you picture the buttery yellows, mint green, robin’s egg blue, and bright pink? Now those are some summer wedding colors we can sink our teeth around!

And don't forget the delicious fruit flavors the season has to offer. Watermelons are not only delicious, but they also come with a lovely pink-and-green color scheme all their own. We love the idea of serving watermelon slices on a stick during cocktail hour! Lemonade cocktails can be endlessly customized. Add sprigs of fresh rosemary or lavender for a chic garnish. Peaches with their blushing shades of gold and pink make for gorgeous decor or a delightful dessert. Miniature peach cobblers in ramekins, anyone?

Summer Sunset

What’s more romantic than a brilliant summer sunset? A wedding inspired by the very same. It’s romantic and, to be honest, we can’t think of a splashier way to have fun with wedding colors for summer. Some of our favorite sunset hues? Orange sherbert, coral pink, and dusky purple. These are all pretty powerful tones, so of course, you’ll want to make sure you’re blending them tastefully.

At cocktail hour, serve multi-layered tropical cocktails with grenadine and peach puree. If you're having a photo booth at the reception, work with your vendor to set up a sunset-patterned backdrop for the photos.

There are a million other ways to get creative with summer wedding themes. Maybe you’re big baseball fans or obsessed with superhero movies, or maybe you want a mellow aesthetic that’s all about the flowers of the season. Whatever you choose, remember that summer is for lovers and you can’t go wrong.