2021 Pantone Colors of the Year: Ultimate Gray and Illuminating

Every December, the Pantone Color Institute, the creator of the worldwide honored color matching system, selects a color of the year. For 2021, they have selected two colors, Ultimate Gray and Illuminating, a bright shade of yellow.

If you are wondering what the heck we are talking about with the Color of the Year. Well, Pantone has been selecting a color of the year since 2000. This color is pulled from trend-forecasting research which looks at the global culture at that moment in time. This selection will influence designs across the fashion, wedding, and interior design world, basically anywhere that color palettes play a role.

Here is what the executive director of Pantone said about this year’s choices…

The union of an enduring Ultimate Gray with the vibrant yellow Illuminating expresses a message of positivity supported by fortitude. Practical and rock solid but at the same time warming and optimistic, this is a color combination that gives us resilience and hope. We need to feel encouraged and uplifted; this is essential to the human spirit.

Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute

How do the 2021 Pantone Colors of the Year Relate to the Wedding World?

Well to be honest this isn’t a color palette that we see a lot in wedding design. However, it is the perfect time for vendors to get creative with it. Since the foundation of wedding design is based on color, you will oftentimes see wedding pros get creative with the selected colors through styled wedding shoots. Out of this, comes the inspiration for couples to use in their own weddings.

So how can you use the 2021 Pantone Colors of the Year in your wedding?

Wedding Flowers

The most common way for couples to incorporate the color of the year is usually in their wedding day flowers. From bouquets and boutonnieres to ceremony backdrops and table centerpieces, Illuminating (a bright shade of yellow) is very common in flowers.

Wedding Venue Bella Collina | Photographer Marc Edwards Photographs | Florist: Tailored Twig | Wedding Rental A Chair Affair | Linens BBJ Linen

Accents and Linens

Unlike Illuminating, Ultimate Gray is not a natural color that you will find in flowers. Instead, you can use this color in your accent pieces. Ultimate Gray is very close to silver which can be incorporated through vases, candlesticks, and chargers.

Photography: Ryan Joseph Photographs | Floral: 50 Fifty Creative Services | Wedding Rental A Chair Affair |
Photography: Ryan Joseph Photographs | Floral: 50 Fifty Creative Services | Wedding Rental A Chair Affair | Stationery: August Blume

Bridesmaid Dresses

Incorporating your wedding colors in your best gals attire is always a great option regardless of your color palette. Not too keen on having all ladies in the same color? Mismatched solids can help break it up.

Photo: Bumby Photography
Venue: Estate on the Halifax | Florist: Flowers OMG | Photographer: Sivan Photography


From invitations to menu cards, both Illuminating and Ultimate Gray can work in all wedding stationery. Since most often wedding stationery, helps with the design flow it’s a great way to make your color palette come together with a cohesive look.

Photography: Ryan Joseph Photographs | Floral: 50 Fifty Creative Services | Wedding Rental A Chair Affair | Stationery: August Blume

Wedding Shoes and Accessories

Groom and groomsmen’s suits and ties would work great with this color combo, such as gray suit with a yellow bowtie or classic yellow tie. Along with this, brides have been getting creative with their wedding shoes for a while now. Something like yellow heels give a fun pop of color to your look.

Photo: Sophia’s Art Photography

Wedding Cake

Your wedding cake is a location in your wedding design that you can get super creative! Whether you are including real or sugar flowers or a colored base, you can include the color of the year in your wedding cake along with just about any other color you want.

Reception Lighting

Lighting can truly transform a room. When it comes to your reception space adding lighting that complements your wedding design makes quite the impact. Lighting can often be added on through your wedding DJ.

Here is some more wedding inspiration for the 2021 Pantone Colors of the Year: Ultimate Gray and/or Illuminating…

bride holding blush and yellow bridal bouquet
Photographer: Art Photo Soul | Florists: Flowers by Lesley
PhotographerCaptured by Belinda | FloristLee Forrest Designs 

Looking for More Inspiration? Visit Our Wedding Inspiration Page Below!