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How to Use the 2021 Pantone Colors of the Year (Ultimate Gray and Illuminating Yellow) at Your Wedding
Pantone has a way of tapping into popular culture and giving us the exact color we need when we need it most. Take the 2020 Pantone color of the year, for example. When Classic Blue was announced, it seemed like such a demure color choice. It was chosen for its constancy, and it reflected solidity and dependability. None of us could have predicted just how spot-on this color choice would be. Now that we’ve all experienced the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, we have all learned to appreciate this true-blue hue.
This year, the 2021 Pantone color doesn’t include just one color, but two. Ultimate Gray provides us with a foundation of strength and stability, much in the same vein as Classic Blue, which are things we will continue to need as the pandemic continues into 2021.
Illuminating is the second Pantone color of 2021. It reminds us that the sun will always come out again and happy times are just around the corner.
Pantone’s color choices are always great inspiration for weddings, but these colors are especially good for brides and grooms who are searching for meaningful colors. After all, every marriage requires strength and stability as well as happiness and positivity!
If you want to pair Ultimate Gray with Illuminating at your wedding, here is some inspiration to get you started when planning your big day.
Even if you have your eye on a white dress and you want your groom to wear a classic suit, color is going to find its way into the attire you wear on your big day. There are ways to do it tastefully so you don’t end up regretting your or your bridal party’s attire when you look back on your wedding photos years down the road.
If you’re feeling brave, try a bridal gown with yellow details. That doesn’t mean you have to wear a yellow dress! Try layering yellow tulle under a white skirt, choose a dip-dyed dress, or try a patterned fabric that features white and yellow.
If you have your heart set on a traditional white or off-white bridal gown, add a few yellow details. Yellow wedding shoes, a yellow hair fascinator, or yellow nails can be great ways to add Illuminating to your wedding-day style. For a long-term reminder of your wedding day colors, choose a yellow diamond engagement ring or wedding band set in white gold or platinum.
If wearing yellow isn’t really your thing, choose gray or sparkling Chrome, which is part of Pantone's Orbital collection. A sparkling gray veil, gray pearls, and smoky eye makeup can look just as stunning in lieu of yellow details.
A suit in Illuminating yellow would be on-trend for 2021, as brights are going to be popular this upcoming year, but you can incorporate this hue in more understated ways if a bright yellow suit isn’t really for you.
Choose a classic gray suit and wear a yellow shirt underneath. Even more understated ways of incorporating yellow include wearing a yellow pocket square or yellow socks. Consider a yellow tie, or have a little fun and wear a yellow belt or yellow shoelaces!
The groomsmen will always look sharp in an Ultimate Gray suit with some of the yellow details mentioned above, but your bridesmaids would look beautiful in gray too. It’s an especially good choice if you have bridesmaids in your wedding who don’t feel confident wearing yellow, as yellow can be quite an attention-grabbing color.
Just don’t shy away from asking your bridesmaids to wear yellow if you really want them to! Consider a lighter shade if you want your bridesmaids to match, or mix and match shades of yellow and gray so everyone in your bridal party gets to wear a color that makes them feel comfortable and confident.
Flowers instantly elevate any wedding, but the choices can be overwhelming. Zeroing in on a color, like yellow, can be a great way to narrow down your choices. Not only does it eliminate any blooms that don’t come in that color, it can also provide you with seasonal inspiration. For example, a spring wedding might utilize classic yellow flowers, like daffodils or tulips, while a summer or fall wedding might feature sunflowers and dahlias.
Bouquets and Boutonnieres
Choose a yellow flower that you love, but don’t feel like your bridal bouquet has to be one-dimensional. Many different colors can be added to your bouquet to give it depth and ensure it matches your personality.
If you are known for your cheerful disposition and positive attitude, consider a bouquet of billy balls and daisies. Billy balls look quite striking when incorporated in boutonnieres!
If you want your bouquet to be a bit more understated, choose lighter shades of yellow with flowers in crème and off-white. You can also find plants in gray and silvery shades. The Florentina Iris is perfect for spring weddings, while dusty miller is the perfect addition to a winter bouquet or boutonniere.
Choose the blooms you like the best from the advice above, but when constructing centerpieces using those flowers, opt for a deconstructed, natural approach.
While Pantone is the authority on the color of the year, Florists' Review is the authority on floral trends. One of their trends is all about taking a cue from nature. Terratory not only utilizes an earthy color palette that's very reminiscent of Pantone's Aviary theme, it also requires you to create flower arrangements that appear as if they were plucked from nature in lieu of arrangements that look like they have been meticulously arranged by hand.
Aisle Décor Featuring Yellow and Gray Ribbons: Leo DJ Photography, Gray and White Pumpkin Décor: United With Love, Yellow and Gray Contemporary Floral Arch: Belle The Magazine, Aisle Scattered With Yellow Rose Petals: Wedding Wire
Although your ceremony is likely to be much shorter than your reception, it is the most important part of your celebration. After all, it’s your ceremony where you become partners for life!
Don’t overlook the decorations at your ceremony. Here are tips for using Ultimate Gray and Illuminating yellow while you say “I do.”
Aisle and Seating
If you’re looking for a whimsical look at your wedding, you’re in luck. It’s one of our favorite ways to use these two 2021 Pantone colors!
Tie yellow ribbons to the backs of each chair so they dance in the wind at an outdoor ceremony or hang mason jars full of sunny blooms from the backs of chairs that line the aisle.
For a more formal look, sprinkle yellow and white rose petals down the aisle. Utilizing yellow fruits and vegetables, like apples and lemons, as aisle décor can look quite striking, as can using gray pumpkins as aisle décor at a fall wedding.
It doesn’t matter whether you have your ceremony indoors or out, no space is complete without an arch. You can make the arch your own by creating a minimalistic style or an opulent design because when you use Pantone’s colors for 2021, it will look stunning either way.
If you like a modern or industrial look, consider using a geometric metal arch in an interesting shape with a few sprigs of yellow blooms, or go all-out with an arch covered in hundreds of cheerful sunflowers.
Centerpiece Featuring Lemons: Martha Stewart, Simple Yellow and Gray Place Setting: Colour Lovers, Yellow Candle in a Metal Lantern: Bridal Guide, Outdoor Living Area Featuring a Yellow Couch: Postcards and Pretties
The reception is where most brides and grooms use the bulk of their decorating budget, and for good reason. From dinner and dancing to drinks and conversation, this is where your guests are going to spend hours during your celebration. Here are some creative ideas using Pantone’s Ultimate Gray and Illuminating that go beyond flowers.
Centerpieces can feature magnificent floral displays, but if you don’t have the budget for thousands of blooms, or you’re simply looking for a different look, you aren’t out of luck.
Sliced and whole lemons are a great way to incorporate yellow into your décor, especially if you’re planning a summer fête. Candles and lanterns are a great addition to every table, especially since you can find smoky gray candle holders and yellow wax candles.
A tablecloth is a must. Flat gray and solid yellow are always options, but why not make your reception space shimmer by layering yellow organza over white tablecloths.
When you think of spaces where guests are going to socialize, you probably think of reception tables and the dance floor, but we encourage you to think outside the box when you plan spaces for your guests to chat.
Lounge spaces are gaining in popularity at weddings, especially when it comes to 2021 weddings where social distancing is still at the top of our mind. Create cozy nooks throughout your reception space with couches and chairs in shades of gray and yellow. If you don’t have the money or the ability to hunt down the perfect yellow couch, decorate existing sitting areas in your reception space with gray pillows and yellow throw blankets.
Yellow Candy Bar: Style Me Pretty, Sugar Cookies With Gray Icing: Icing Bliss, Lemon Cocktail: Arizona Foothills Magazine, Herbed Cod Featuring Lemon and Olive Oil: Coley Cooks, Yellow Wedding Cake: Belle The Magazine
Food and Drink
Your guests come to wish you and your partner luck as you embark on your life together, but they also come for the food! Although you will want to choose delectable options that go with any color scheme, it can be a lot of fun to work with your caterer to develop menu items that reflect the Illuminating and Ultimate Gray tones that are featured at your wedding.
By all means, give your guests traditional options like chicken, pork, or beef, but have a little fun trying to incorporate Pantone’s color of the year.
When serving fish, top each filet with a slice of lemon or incorporate gray by serving oysters. Pineapple, deviled eggs, yellow cheeses, yellow soups, and mac and cheese are all great foods to serve at a wedding that features yellow and gray.
Cake and Dessert
It’s a lot easier to add splashes of yellow and hints of gray to your desserts than it is to add them to the dinner plate! The easiest way is to cover your cake in yellow frosting or ice sugar cookies with gray icing.
Don’t be afraid to get creative with your dessert table! Yellow macarons always look cheerful, while a lemon wedding cake will surprise your guests' taste buds while staying on theme. Fill clear apothecary jars with yellow candy, set out lemon squares, or serve yellow meringues.
You can also have a lot of fun with drinks when you choose Illuminating as one of your wedding colors! Signature cocktails can include a variety of yellow liqueurs, while a tropical wedding is the perfect setting to serve margaritas.
Not all themed drinks have to have an alcoholic component. Make your younger guests and those abstaining from alcohol happy by serving lemonade or pineapple punch. Of course, they could always be spiked with your favorite libations for guests who do want to enjoy an alcoholic drink.
At the end of the day, you and your partner will be married, which is what’s really important, but if you want guests to rave about your wedding and talk about it for years to come, you have to pay attention to the details. That includes designing beautiful flower arrangements, serving a delicious dinner, and choosing a show-stopping dress, but it also means paying attention to things like invitations, favors, and signage.
Your invitations are the first taste guests are going to get of your big day. Make sure you give them something to look forward to by designing colorful invites.
Embrace colored paper. Use dark gray print on yellow paper or print in white on gray paper. Incorporate floral, filigree, or geometric details, depending on the tone you want to set for your wedding day.
Don’t forget about the envelopes! If you want to keep your printed invites fairly simple, choose an envelope that is lined with silvery gray paper or a bright yellow floral print for a little extra fun.
Don’t let your guests leave your wedding empty handed! Passing out favors can be a great way to make sure guests are able to take a little piece of your big day home.
Food favors are always popular. Wrap a yellow macaron in a clear acrylic box with a gray ribbon or let them fill their own boxes with their favorite candy from the dessert table. If you’re hosting a summer wedding, pass out paper fans and jars of golden honey, or make homemade yellow cherry jam to pass out at a fall or winter wedding.
Every wedding needs at least one or two signs. Paint wooden directional signs in yellow and gray that show guests which way to your ceremony, which way to your reception, and where they can find the bar.
If you want to do something a little different, consider displaying signs on a clear acrylic easel, or create your own sign on acrylic. You can print in both gray and yellow, and you can decorate your acrylic easel with ribbons and flowers.
There is no shortage of guest book ideas, but our favorites enable you to display your guestbook in your home when your wedding is over.
Have guests add yellow leaves to the branches of a tree that can be hung on the wall, have guests sign rolled messages written on yellow paper, then place them in a clear glass box, or have guests sign gray stones that can be displayed in mirrored trays among votive candles on your dining room table.