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The Special Meanings of Colors

Color selection is extremely important even at the very beginning of special event planning…but where do you begin?  Things to consider when picking colors for your special event are as follows:

  • pick colors you love or that inspire you
  • pick colors that fit the theme of your event
  • pick colors that coordinate well together
  • pick colors that reflect your style, the time of the year, or that have some personal significance, and colors for which you can find products for your special event out in the marketplace without too much difficulty.

Color affects every aspect of your party planning, from selection of the invitations, party decorations, food selection, party favors, bouquets, flowers, linens, formal apparel, to the thank you notes sent after the event has concluded. 

Colors also have symbolic meaning and psychological effects on our moods and emotions, so this is important to consider as well.  Below is a listing of the meaning of colors in alphabetical order and their varied (Western culture) symbolic meanings (color symbolism can vary dramatically between cultures) that can help you in your decision making process of selecting the perfect colors for your wedding or special event.



Aqua blue is a calming cool and refreshing color that is reminiscent of the beautiful blue of the ocean.  Aqua blue is believed to have a soothing effect – it can help to release anger and negativity and offers mental peace and clarity by providing emotional and mental balance.  Aqua blue is a universal symbol of youth, fidelity, hope and health.  Aqua blue is also associated with speech and communication, confidence, strength, and idealism. 


Black is the color of formality, modernity, power, elegance, wealth, mystery, and style.  Black also signifies fear, evil, solemnity, mourning, seriousness, self confidence, and strength.  Black is associated with Halloween when used with orange.  Black is authoritative and powerful because black can evoke strong emotions.  Black is mysterious by evoking a sense of potential, possibility and excitement.  Black is a timeless and classic color but it can also be sexy and sophisticated. 


Blue is the color of the seas, the sky, peace, unity, harmony, tranquility, calmness, coolness, confidence, corporate, commitment, conservatism, ice, loyalty, dependability, cleanliness, technology, winter, wisdom, royalty, strength, peace, truthfulness, sadness, and power.  Blue has the psychological effect of lowering blood pressure and decreasing respiration.  Almost everyone likes some shade of the color blue.  Blue is the least “gender specific” color, having equal appeal to both men and women.


Brown is the color of stability, hearth, home, the outdoors, comfort, endurance, reliability, and approachability.  It is also the color of calm, boldness, depth, simplicity, steadfastness, friendliness, dependability, richness and tradition.  It is the color of our earth and is associated with all things natural or organic.  Brown conveys a feeling of wholesomness, and provides a connection with the earth and gives a sense of orderliness.  Brown is a Fall foliage color and is expressive of Thanksgiving.  Brown is a natural, down-to-earth, warm and unifying neutral color.


Gold is the color of royalty, wealth, opulence, grandeur, prosperity, riches and extravagance.  Gold is a warm color that can be both bright and cheerful as well as somber and traditional.  Bright gold catches the eye while darker subdued shades of gold lend richness and warmth.


Gray is an elegant neutral color that conveys balance and sophistication.  It is a cool, conservative color that seldom evokes strong emotion although it can be seen as a cloudy or moody color also.  Like black, gray is used as a color of formality as well as a color of mourning.  Dark charcoal gray is more dramatic and carries with it some of the strength and mystery of black.  Gray tuxedos are common for men at weddings!  (see also Silver)


Green is the color of life, nature, restfulness, calmness, fertility, youth, wealth, good luck, vigor, and generosity.  Green is also a color that symbolizes Spring, St. Patrick’s Day, and Christmas (when used with red).  The natural greens (from forest to lime) are seen as tranquil and refreshing.  Green is considered the color of peace and ecology and offers a sense of renewal, self-control and harmony.


Ivory is a relaxing and soft neutral color that isn’t quite white and has some of the earthiness of light browns.  Ivory is the color of quiet…pleasantness with a touch of luster.  As a neutral color, ivory is calming.  It carries some of the same pureness, softness, and cleanliness qualities of white but is slightly richer and a touch warmer.  Using ivory sets a relaxed tone of understated elegance.


Lavender is a graceful and feminine color.  This shade of purple suggests refinement along with grace, elegance, and something special.  Lavender is also a favorite flower (lavender, orchid, lilac, and violet) that are considered delicate and precious.  While purple is the color of royalty, lavender is the color of femininity…it is a grown up pink!  Using lavender suggests something unique or very special without the deeper mystery of purple.  Lavender also invokes feelings of nostalgia or romance.


Orange is the color of happiness, energy, balance, heat, fire, enthusiasm, flamboyance, playfulness, creativity, aggression, overemotion, warning, autumn, desire, September, and Halloween.  Orange has less intensity than red and is calmed by the cheerfulness of yellow.  Orange stimulates emotions, activity and appetite, and encourages socialization. Orange represents the changing seasons so in that sense it is a color on the edge, the color of change between the heat of summer and the cool of winter.  Orange is synonymous with autumn yet the brighter oranges are seen as a summer color. 


Pink is the color of Spring, gratitude, appreciation, admiration, sympathy, femininity, love, marriage, and joy.  Pink is also a soothing color that is soft and delicate and is used to relax muscles and relieve tension.  Brighter pinks are youthful, fun, exciting, and stimulate energy and can increase the blood pressure, respiration, heartbeat, and pulse rate – they also encourage action and confidence.  Vibrant pinks have the same high energy as red but they are sensual and passionate without being too aggressive.  Toning down the passion of red with the purity of white results in the softer pinks that are associated with romance and the blush of a young woman’s cheeks! 


Purple is the color of sensuality, mysticism, spirituality, creativity, wealth, royalty, ceremony, mystery, wisdom, enlightenment, flamboyance, pride, and opulence.  Purple has a special, almost sacred place in nature: lavender, orchid, lilac, and violet flowers are often delicate and considered precious.  Lighter purples feel romantic and delicate.  Purple embodies the balance of red’s stimulation and blue’s calm.  Purple uplifts and at the same time calms the mind and nerves.


Red is the color of passion, strength, energy, fire, love, sex, excitement, infatuation, speed, heat, arrogance, ambition, leadership, power, danger, confidence, gaudiness, blood, war, anger, revolution, radicalism, and aggression.  Red is both a summer and an autumn color.  Red is also expressive of Thanksgiving and Christmas. Studies show that red can have a physical effect, increasing the rate of respiration and raising blood pressure.   Red is cupid and the devil in modern Western culture.  Red conveys fun and draws attention!


Silver is the color of security, reliability, intelligence, modesty, maturity, and conservatism.  Silver, especially a shiny metallic silver, is cool like gray but more playful.  Silver can be sleek and modern or impart a feeling of tradition and ornate riches.  Silver is a cool unifying color.  Silver can be glamorous and distinguished.  Silver is wonderfully versatile – it can be earthy and natural or sleek and elegant.  Silver can also symbolize high technology or an industrial look. (see also Gray)


Turquoise is a cool color that conveys calm.  Turquoise is refreshing and sophisticated.  As a mix of blue and green, turquoise has a sweet feminine feel while the darker teal shades add lively sophistication.  Some shades of turquoise have an old-fashioned 50s and 60s retro feel.  Use turquoise with other colors to get a variety of responses – keep the soft, feminine qualities going by mixing it with lavender and pinks.  A bright turquoise with pink creates a sparkly clean retro look.  Make it art deco by pairing it with white and black.  Or use turquoise with orange or yellow for a fresh, sporty look.  Turquoise is tropical!


White is the color of light, softness, reverence, purity, snow, stability, trustworthiness, conservatism, peace, innocence, cleanliness, and simplicity.  White is a sacred and pure color – the color of angels and gods.  White is considered to be a neutral color in most cases.  White aids in mental clarity, encourages us to clear clutter or obstacles and evokes purification of thoughts or actions.  White means fresh beginnings. Brides traditionally wear white wedding gowns. 


Yellow is the color of sunlight, youth, imagination, joy, happiness, optimism, intelligence, idealism, cheerfulness, summer, hope, hazards, sociability, and friendship. Yellow is a warm color that denotes excitement and fun, and it is also a color of nature and earthiness.  Yellow improves concentration which explains all of those legal pads, post-it notes, and highlighters!  Yellow, along with other pastel colors, also represents Easter.  Yellow (along with Fall foliage colors) also is expressive of Thanksgiving.  Yellow is a color that energizes, relieves depression, encourages communication, improves memory, and stimulates appetites!

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