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Ultimate Gray and Illuminating: Pantone's 2021 Color(s) of the Year


In 2021, Pantone had the difficult task of selecting a color to define a new year that follows a series of unprecedented and at times, devastating, events. In a decision befitting a complex time, Pantone, the color authority for the design industry, has revealed not one, but two hues for its Color of the Year: a lovely neutral gray and vibrant yellow. What better pairing to symbolize incandescence overcoming darkness than Illuminating and Ultimate Gray. It is quite simply, a marriage of color conveying a message of strength and hopefulness that is both enduring and uplifting.

If you're recently engaged, or if you've had to reschedule your wedding and want to switch up your original plans, the Pantone colors for 2021 are bound to inspire your selection. We expect to see them everywhere throughout the next year, from attire to floral arrangements and beyond.

Pantone’s Ultimate Gray color choice might seem a bit on the conservative side, however, such a reliable and certainly recognizable color adds an air of security during uncertain times. Gray represents dependability and calm. Clearly Pantone selected Ultimate Gray because it is a classic...a solid, sturdy color that you can rely on and build the rest of your palate around. When you pair it with Illuminating it certainly becomes an award winning duo in our book! We love the selection of this optimistic shade of pale yellow. Illuminating yellow is a color that inspires hope, clarity, energy and optimism, signifying new beginnings. With the selection of this soft soothing gray and buttery yellow providing a softer, sophisticated feel to your wedding day, we expect that we will see them making appearances in all sorts of places from layers of blooms and greenery to mixed linens, paper goods and even the serving vessels.

This is the first time an achromatic shade (Ultimate Gray) has been selected, and only the second time two colors have been chosen. In 2016, we were treated to the pale pink and blue hues of Rose Quartz and Serenity breaking all the rules when they were presented. Though it may seem like Pantone is hedging their bets by selecting both gray and yellow, we feel these color have a real impact as a unified pair, hinting at the importance of solidarity in the coming year. With gray as a beautiful and classic base neutral, yellow is the hot new wedding color for couples in search of a palette that doesn't feel overdone or bland. Vibrant, sunny yellow in particular is the shade we have our eye on for 2021, and it doesn't take much of this color to make an impact. Its versatility might surprise you. Prepare to see it popping up everywhere, from summer beach weddings to romantic outdoor fall celebrations.

An energetic yellow makes the perfect accent color if you have a mostly white or neutral gray color palette. Add yellow to your tablescapes, linens, gold flatware, or colored glass accents. Yellow flowers, including sunflowers, peonies, and heirloom roses, are all gorgeous options for creating a garden-inspired aesthetic. Feeling more playful? We're big fans of the citrus-fruit-as-decor trend—use fresh lemons, grapefruits and oranges as a creative addition to your centerpieces, or add illustrated citrus motifs to your wedding stationery and signage.

By trying to remain truthful to what is taking place in the world Pantone selects colors that reflect and hopefully influence for a better outcome. Illuminating yellow is associated with cheer and happiness due to its correlation to the sun. It brings thoughts of joy and lightheartedness to mind when we see it. Pantone's selection of Ultimate Gray, however, is a bit more complex. Selected for its qualities of fortitude and reliability, being the color of stone, this classic neutral gray hue is so much more versatile than you think. Its provides a classic and timeless elegance to any event. By bringing these two colors together, they express strength, unity and hopefulness symbolizing our connections to other people, our relationships with other people that we love who give us emotional support.

It would seem to us that Pantone's selection seems quite perfectly aligned with the gradual return to a more traditional style of decor at weddings. Illuminating yellow unites as it is bright and beautiful in its own right, however, when paired with Ultimate Gray which works uniquely as a neutral base tone for a host of many other vivid accent colors, we predict a resurgence of lustrous jewel tones and bright vivid hues from bright pinks to lime greens, vivid oranges and even lilac or lavender.

Sure to be beloved by brides far and wide, we are expecting to see a lot of this dynamic duo in the coming months and we aren't mad about it! After all, you know what they say...opposites attract!


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