The color red has been a color beloved by many throughout the ages. Though it’s commonly associated with major holidays, such as Christmas and Valentine's Day, in today’s contemporary culture, the truth is, it’s always been a popular color.
And that includes a popular color for wedding inspiration.
Red wedding themes are having a major moment—and for good reason! The color allows couples to experiment with many different looks and styles. Red works amazingly well if you love the idea of an elegant, classic, more traditional wedding theme, and it also works amazingly well if you covet a wedding theme that’s less traditional and perhaps even a tad unconventional.
Red is such a versatile color that your wedding can be anything you want it to be when you incorporate it into your theme and decor. You can vamp it up with blood red, make it festive and cheerful with bright apple red, or achieve a more rustic or even gothic theme by using deeper hues of red, such as maroon and burgundy. The color red has so much room for creativity, it’s no wonder red wedding themes are so sought after.
Red has many symbolic meanings, though it really depends on where you come from as to what you tend to associate it with.
Way back in ancient times, the color red symbolized magic and power, mostly due to how rare and expensive it was. It was outmatched only by the color purple in how much it was coveted.
To Christians, red symbolizes the blood of Jesus and the crucifixion. To the ancient Greeks, red was the color of heroism and superhuman power. Some people consider red an extreme color that can symbolize everything from danger and fury, drama and adventure, and seduction and passionate love.
The color red is thought of as a primal, energetic color, which is why many people like to wear it to shore up their self-confidence. It can help people feel more powerful; in fact, some even call it the “power color.”
Worldwide, red is probably one of the top two colors chosen as a “favorite.” In fact, if you study languages, it’s interesting to note that most—if not all—languages have a word for the color black and the color white. However, they don’t always have a word for other colors. But, when they do, it’s usually red.
Western culture isn’t the only culture to love a red wedding theme either. In Eastern countries, such as China and Asia, people love the color red, as it denotes good luck and, in the case of the Japanese, it also denotes happiness. Brides in Nepal and India rock the red sari, while in Japan, red kimonos are highly prized.
If you think the color red is only for a Valentine's Day wedding or a Christmas wedding, think again. Red and all its various shades can work equally well during other months of the year, too.
Autumn is a wonderful time for a red wedding, especially if you go with deeper reds. Think sultry maroon paired with cream and rust for a warm, cozy vibe.
Of course, winter months also work just fine. The closer one gets to a December wedding, the more festive it is to go with a wedding theme, such as Christmas red and snowy white. It matches the celebratory Christmas spirit and, after all, a wedding is a celebration.
Though it’s not quite as common, some couples might even like a red wedding in July, especially if they are die-hard patriots.
The reality is that a red theme is versatile enough to use at any time of year.
There are multiple ways to incorporate a red theme in your wedding decor. Starting with:
When it comes to red invites, a little red goes a long way. If you send out an all-red invite—especially if it's combined with fold or white fonts—your wedding guests might get Christmas vibes. Instead, try using hints of red in each wedding invitation. If you want your invitations to have a touch of glamour, black and white invites with a pop of red are very vintage Hollywood—and allow you to use the color without overdoing it.
Every wedding reception needs linens—so why not red linens? Drape your tables in your preferred shade of red—or go with neutral linens and add a pop of red (for example, red napkins). As for centerpieces, red roses are always popular—but you could also make a red candle arrangement or a fruit arrangement with red apples, cherries, and grapes.
There are a number of wedding favors that pull in red, like small, personalized bottles of red wine or mini bottles of Coca-Cola. If your wedding day is near the Valentine’s day holiday, personalized boxes of chocolates make great red wedding favors—as do Hershey Kiss candies wrapped in red foil
Red is such a cool color for wedding attire, as you can go in almost any direction. If you want a gothic themed wedding with red as the feature color, wear a deep red wedding dress with black lace trim and detailing. If you want an elegant, festive wedding that reflects a little Christmas cheer, go for a classic white wedding gown with a deep red sash and red wedding shoes. Going for a rustic feel? Try a cream or gold dress, with accents of maroon or marsala.
When deciding on your red color palette, there are many directions to go in. Consider these color palettes:
Red and white are probably the most classical color pairings and are beautiful for a traditional winter wedding with all the Christmas spirit that you and your guests can muster.
Black and red is dramatic color combination that works very well. Try adding white to the mix for a red, black and white wedding look that is equal parts gothic and elegant.
Red also pairs well with neutral shades, such as cream or gold. If you prefer more than a two-color palette, you could easily blend all four of these colors for a lovely wedding theme that offers a distinctly elegant, yet rustic feel.
For a look that’s more understated, go with a deeper shade of red, such as burgundy, wine, or marsala. You can combine it with a neutral color scheme, such as taupe and shades of cream, so that the red really stands out as the featured color.
Another color scheme that works beautifully is peach, green, and red. Go with a dark, deep red and a darker hunter green with pastel peach for a look that’s lively and elegant.
For an outdoor wedding, you could try a dark red combined with sunflower yellow. The yellow really makes the red pop, and when combined with greenery, makes for a warm, welcoming wedding theme.
If you love the idea of a modern, more contemporary wedding, grey and classic red is an excellent combination. You could blend other neutral colors into the mix as well, just for some variation.
There are so many ways to approach a red wedding theme and some combo colors will work better than others, depending on your ultimate goals. Some couples prefer to have just hints of red throughout their wedding theme, while other couples make red in all its hues the main feature.
There are no wrong ways to use red on your wedding day. Unless, of course, you’re trying to combine red with neon green or electric blue. We daresay that would be bad—very, very bad.
Need more inspiration for your red themed wedding? Here are a few more wedding ideas to get those creative juices flowing:
You can start incorporating red into your wedding before your big day. A ring with a ruby gemstone is an unexpected and unique choice for an engagement ring—and it will remind you of your red themed wedding every time you look down at your finger.
Your wedding rings are another opportunity to incorporate red into your wedding jewelry; just bling up your band with smaller ruby accents.
If you want to keep things traditional with your engagement and wedding rings, you can still pull red into your ring theme; just go with a red ring box.
Add a pop of red to your tablescapes with candles. Cluster pillar candles of different heights together and surround them with flowers for a simple centerpiece—or, if you want more drama, add taper candles to an elaborate candelabra.
Your wedding hairstyle offers a great opportunity to incorporate some red into your look. If you want to go for a more boho style, try a flower crown made out of red blooms.
If you've always wanted your shot to walk down the red carpet, why not create that opportunity at your wedding? A red aisle runner not only adds a pop of color to your ceremony space, but will make you feel like the celebrity you are on your big day.
Red aisle runner feel like too much? Not to worry. You can get a similar look and feel—just in a more subtle way—by sprinkling red rose petals down the aisle.
Signage is a great way to bring color into your wedding decor—so incorporate red backgrounds or text on your wedding signage, like your welcome sign, your seating chart, or your bar menu.
You want to capture your wedding day memories forever. And if you want the color red to feature in those memories, a red-themed photo booth is a great way to do it! Drape a red curtain, add some fun red props, and let your guests snap fun photos all night long.
A red wedding cake is an eye-catching, sweet, and decadent way to celebrate your "I do's." If you really want to go red for your wedding cake, incorporate red into the flavor and icing (like a red velvet cake with red buttercream icing).
If you're having a signature cocktail at your wedding, all it takes to make that cocktail red is a clear liquor and a splash of cranberry juice—so make sure to design a cocktail that incorporates those elements (like a vodka cocktail with soda and cranberry juice).
If you want to make red the primary hue in your wedding colors, you're going to want to include it in your wedding party's attire—and that includes red bridesmaid dresses.
If the bridesmaids are wearing red dresses, you'll want to pull that same shade of red into the groomsmen's outfits. And the best way to do that? Through their accessories. Look for red ties, socks, and pocket squares to match the bridesmaid dresses—and enjoy seeing your entire wedding party rocking your perfect shade of red.
Your table settings offer a number of opportunities to bring red accessories to your wedding tables. Things like red chargers, red glassware, or even red cutlery can be a great way to add pops of red where your guests are sure to see them.
If you want to go big with your red theme wedding? Try choosing a red wedding venue—like a red barn. It will provide the perfect red backdrop to all your photos—and will help pull together all the other elements of your red-themed wedding, like your attire and decor.
If you want to create space for your guests to lounge, poufs can be a fun, boho-inspired way to add extra seating for your guests. And if you want to incorporate more red into your wedding, adding red poufs not only gives you extra seating—it also gives you extra red.
Ultimately, red wedding themes are a ton of fun, and there are so many different ways to pull one off successfully. Decide what direction you want to go in and get to planning.