The selection of your wedding colors or wedding palette will be one of the most important planning decisions that you will make. Your colors will help shape and determine many choices including your aisle decorations and flowers, your table pattern and centerpieces, and your bridesmaid dresses and bridesmaid jewelry.

Depending on how formal you want your wedding to look, you will need to select two, three, and possibly more colors for your theme. There are three types of wedding colors:

* Your dominant color is the principal color, the one most frequently used throughout your wedding scheme. Think bridesmaid dresses.

* Secondary or complimentary colors are also a part of your official scheme. By matching these with your dominant color you set the tone of your wedding and reception.

* Supplementary colors, while not a part of your formal wedding scheme, add liveliness and spontaneity to the look and feel of your wedding. These are the additional colors that will work their way into the mix in many little ways.

Together these colors make-up your wedding palette. When you select your color scheme you will want your secondary colors to compliment your dominant color. Likewise, you want your supplementary colors to compliment both your dominant and secondary colors. Each time you add a color into your official scheme you limit the number of supplementary colors that will work within your palette.

Structure is created by the number of colors and shades that you use. The fewer colors you use the more formal your wedding will appear. For example, if you limit yourself to using only blue and ivory, your wedding will look very formal. As you add more colors your wedding will look more spontaneous and lively. By adding an official secondary color or two to your wedding scheme you can achieve a balance that is both formal and festive because the different supplementary colors that will work within you palette will become limited.

Instead of setting your heart on one dominant color from the outset, pick four or five different potential colors that you can test. Visit your ceremony and reception sites and find out what colors will work in these locations. Your wedding coordinator, reception site staff, or rental company will be able to assist you. Try your potential colors on your bridesmaids to find out which ones will make them look pretty and flattering. A fun way to do this is a group visit to your bridal shop or local fabric store. Will your wedding take place in the spring, summer, fall, or winter and what are the colors of that season?

Be sure to consider the different emotions or moods that colors evoke. Vibrant colors will add a sense of drama; softer colors romance:

*Red: strength, power, passion, desire, love, drama

*Green: nature, fertility, growth, harmony, freshness, safety, money

*Blue: cheerfulness, wellbeing, creativity, persistence, depth, stability, trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, faith

*Purple: royalty, mystery, spirituality, luxury, wisdom, dignity, independence, creativity, magic

*Peach: energy, enthusiasm, happiness, creativity, success, stimulation

*Yellow: energy, intelligence, friendship, joy, gladness, new beginnings

*Pink: love, friendship appreciation, admiration, gentleness, grace, gladness, joy, sweetness

*White: purity, innocence, perfection, fairness, tranquility, security

*Black: elegance, power, formalness, mystery

There are several places where you can draw inspiration when choosing your wedding colors. A good place to start is by visiting the Pantone company. Pantone publishes free copies of their Fashion Color Reports in the Fashion + Home section of their website. This is the best place to find out, in advance, which colors will be in style during the upcoming fashion season. Other popular sources of inspiration include the bride's birthstone color or Swarovski crystal birth colors, the color of a favorite flower, family crest or a meaningful symbol.

Most of all give yourself plenty of time so you will not feel pressured to rush your decision. Include family and friends and of course your fiancé. Selecting your wedding palette should be a fun and joyful part of your wedding planning experience.