Updated: Feb 8, 2021
The Pantone Color of the year is actually a couple of colors: A duo! This year a gray (called Ultimate Gray) and a yellow (called Illuminating) hit the 2021decorating scene.
Although I like the combo, I'm a bit surprised by the choice. And, although I've not witnessed a lot of this duo in weddings, I certainly have used the combo for baby showers in the past 5 years. It's a lovely grouping for a nursery using yellow giraffes and gray elephants. It's also very gender friendly, so those parents who choose to be surprised about their baby's sex, can bring their little one home to ready room.
But what about a wedding? As you can see from my collage above, there are sweet options. But up front, if a bride had just called me inquiring about my services and shared with me this color palette, my first question would be, "What's your wedding date?" You see, I base my shades of yellow on the time of year. If the bride was opting for a summer wedding, I would definitely consider the bright sunshiny yellow you see above. It would pair perfectly with the groom dressed in a light gray tux and a peppy yellow bud on his lapel. And of course, the flowers would be yellow and white, unless the bride wanted to add an additional color. But we'll talk more about that later.
If however, the bride has chosen a winter wonderland for her big day, then I would go with shades of deeper yellow, more akin to mustard or gold. Instead of wearing a white dress, I'd lean more towards ivory and have the groom/groomsmen sport a deep dark gray, more of a graphite! I would keep the flowers simple but very opulent, choosing cream/off white clusters with sprigs of small dainty yellow Tansy. Jewelry and any headpieces would be gold, as would the boutonnieres. In fact, for the boutonnieres, the choice of a Mustard Yellow Rose would be perfect. I would even say the entire bouquet could look pretty spectacular with this regal specimen!
As for the reception, if the bride is game, I'd suggest using elements such as soapstone, gray granite, and even some succulents. And the tables could go in so many different directions using either white, yellow, or gray plates (depending on look the bride wants to achieve). Of course, the flatware could be silver or gold! Glass goblets could be a combination of yellow/gold, gray, white, and clear. And the linens, again can be as simple as white/ivory (always my favorite); yellow/gold for a good color punch; or light gray for a basic color that actually has more pigmentation than an ivory would. Or if the bride wanted a deeper/richer feel, the choice of dark gray tablecloths would make the room look very sophisticated.
Centerpieces could be elaborate with yellow/white flower arrangements. Or a modern vibe could be attained by using rocks, soapstone or, granite features. Or if it's a summer wedding, I'd choose single stems of flowers, dispersed down the middle of rectangular tables.
All in all, I would attempt to keep the large areas full of simple basic colors (white, cream/off-white, light gray) and only use the yellow as an accent color to give the space a pop! This includes the bridesmaids. I would not choose yellow for their dresses unless it's a summer wedding and the bride wants a very "fun"atmosphere. However, yellow could be very appealing as part of the reception buffet. Lemons and lemon dishes/desserts would entice guests!
I have chosen to address this color combo from my own standpoint: what I would recommend to a bride. The reason is simple! I frankly do not care for this color combo for a wedding. I recognize that, as a stylist, my job is not to push my preferences on the bride. So if a bride came to me with this duo and absolutely loved the idea of a bright colorful wedding, then I would use my discretion, ask a whole lot of questions and then proceed to give her exactly what she pictured. However, if the bride comes to me and also feels like this combo's appeal might fade in time, I know we could pull it off while still making it look classy. After all, have you considered a wedding photo hanging on your wall for 30 years with these colors? I mean come on, most of the walls in my home are grayish, but there is not one wall where a picture with yellow and gray would blend. Granted, this duo is in style now so we will be seeing more and more homes with this color combo. But, I like to think long term about my weddings. Not only do you want what you want in the moment, but you must consider what those memories will look like hanging on your walls in the future.
Let's move onto flowers/greenery, and some possibilities using this dynamic duo!.
Grays: Dusty miller (greenery) - soft, varied sizes, beautiful
Eucalyptus - some of these have a gray hue
Silver Tree Leucadendron - nice for a Tropical theme
Pussy Willow - absolutely love this!
Cotinus Smoke Bush - pretty greenery
Thistle Silver Flower - Make sure it's gray b/c there are also bluish ones!
Succulents - These vary in shades of gray & some have yellow foral buds.
Yellows: Rananculus - looks like a minature peony
Peony - a variety of shades but also consider yellow with a hint of pink (lovely)
Garden Rose - always a favorite
Roses - so many options
Sunflowers - a big pop!
Tulips - always a sweet choice
Dried Foxtail Millet Grass - grayish with yellow!
Billy Balls - so much fun!
Gerber Daisy - classic fun
Yellow Daisy - sweet
And a final word on flowers: I don't normally ascribe to spray painting flower/greenery. I have personally done it when some berries arrived in white instead of the blue/purple I was expecting. It worked, so I know you can be successful in this endeavor. However, I would be careful and not ever do it with your biggest or most dominant flower. You will want your bursts of color to be natural.
Finally, let's look at adding a 3rd color. For all the reasons I expressed earlier, I find this option very appealing. I honestly cannot think of a color that would look bad with yellow. Depending on the vibe you hope to give off at your wedding, any one of these options could nail it:
Blue - A deep contrast to yellow! Love a dusty blue paired with mustard yellow.
Pink - goes with every color
Green - fresh
Purple - I'd lean towards the pastel version of this color and go with lavender or a very
deep purple such as eggplant, black purple like the Black Jack Tulip.
Orange- I like this combo, especially if you're using variations of both colors. Peach is
Red - Well, I've reconsidered what I said...I would not combine this strong color with
yellow unless I was using more of a gold/mustard instead of yellow to pair it with.
And, honestly if pairing with red, I'd lean more towards the burgundy red.
White/cream - of course these colors are always ok to add, and honestly it's kind of
expected! These colors are considered neutrals so they will always work.
As you can see, this hot new duo can definitely look lovely for your upcoming wedding. It doesn't even matter that this stylist does not care for the combination. They can, indeed, work together! You just need to know what you want your end result to look like. Then a good ole brainstorming session with your stylist will figure out the details! Happy color combining!!! And best wishes on your wedding!