As you're planning your wedding, you likely want to craft a celebration that you'll love looking back on for years to come. The best way to organize a timeless event is to host classic affair with plenty of design details that have already proven they can stand the test of time. "Picking wedding décor and fashion can be daunting, especially if you want your wedding to feel timeless," shares wedding planner Dani Blasena of HauteFêtes. "While Instagram and Pinterest are wonderful for inspiration, they often promote the same trending ideas over and over again. In contrast, a timeless wedding is one that stands the test of time and style!" So, if you want to plan a timeless ceremony and reception, it's best to choose color palettes, fashion, and décor that will still feel relevant in 20 years.
It's important to remember that timeless weddings can take many forms, so don't shy away from the style out of fear of planning a cookie cutter celebration. You can still infuse the day with plenty of personality. "For me, what makes a wedding timeless is not about following the most current wedding trends or guidelines but about creating a celebration that genuinely reflects a couple's unique love story and values," notes wedding photographer Jenny Fu. "It's about making an impact that lasts long after the day."
Meet the Expert
- Dani Blasena is the owner, creative director and lead designer of HauteFêtes.
- Jenny Fu is a New York-based wedding photographer.
- Jacqueline Hallgarth is the founder of wedding and event planning company Jacqueline Hallgarth Events.
If you're hoping to plan a timeless wedding that feels right for you and your spouse-to-be, we asked wedding pros to share their favorite details. Ahead, 20 ideas you can make your own.
Choose a Classic Destination
“Venue selection is one of the most important aspects of creating a timeless wedding,” shares planner Jacqueline Hallgarth. If you know you want to tie the knot far from home, consider a locale that's steeped in history. “You and your guests will be linked forever through this selection, so choose carefully," she adds. "A destination wedding, held in historic villa in Italy or chateau in France, will not only be beautiful on your wedding day, but will also create timeless memories shared by you and all your guests. Regardless of the specific venue, beautiful memories can be created anywhere with the right elements.”
Pick an Estate-Style Venue
Modern art galleries and open warehouses are incredible blank slates, but they're not the best choices for timeless celebrations. “Choosing an estate-style venue that is classic in architecture and will create a backdrop for your big day that is as relevant in 20 years’ time as it is today,” advises Blasena. “My favorites include Rosewood Miramar Beach for a classic Hamptons style on the West Coast replete with boxwoods and white siding. Abroad, the Belmond San Michele with views for days, classic Italian-style spaces and gardens that are breathtaking. Both venues have everything you need to make your big day truly timeless from start to finish.”
Have a Black-Tie Dress Code
What your guests wear will have an impact on the overall feel of your celebration, so picking the right attire style is important. “By requesting black-tie and formal attire, you automatically create an elevated style that translates into forever cherished photographs,” shares Hallgarth. "Floor-length gowns and black tuxedos never go out of fashion and when captured together, creates that timeless look everyone wants from their wedding.”
Choose Greenery and White Florals
When picking out your floral design, you can never go wrong with classic white blooms and lots of lush greenery. Blasena says, “Green and white flowers are both classic and neutral and will never overwhelm a design.”
Embrace a Soft Color Palette
Punchy colors might be trending, but are you sure you'll love Barbie pink or neon green for years to come? If the answer isn't a resounding "yes!" it's likely not the best choice. “A soft color palette is always a good rule of thumb," notes Blasena. "Something like a French blue or classic taupe is always sophisticated and elegant. Pick two to three soft colors that suit your style best and keep it simple.”
Hire the Right Wedding Photographer
You could plan a big day that's entirely timeless, but if you hire a photographer with a trendy, of-the-moment aesthetic, your photos might not stand the test of time. "To truly capture the timeless essence of a wedding, it's crucial to work with an experienced photographer who can document your day,” shares Fu. “The photographs they capture will be a lasting reminder of the love and joy you shared on your wedding day.” Blasena adds, “A photographer with a classic editing style, natural color tones, and graceful composition will create photographs never go out of style.”
And Don't Shy Away from Candid Photos
While traditional wedding portraits are essential, some couples avoid candids out of fear of looking too modern. Whatever you do, get this idea out of your head. "Candid wedding photographs have the power to capture the true essence and emotion of your wedding day," says Fu. "Let the genuine connections and meaningful moments shine–these moments are timeless because you've lived the experience, and the candid photographs can take you back long after the day has passed."
Wear Classic Wedding Attire
Fashion trends come and go, even in the world of weddings. “One of the most important elements of your wedding is your dress,” says Blasena. “It’s easy to get caught up in all the amazing wedding fashion there is today with designers from all over the world. To avoid looking back in horror, think timeless and classic in the cut; a soft ivory versus a stark white; and, avoid overcomplicating the style with unnecessary embellishments such as beading, tulle, or lace. Remember, less is always more!”
Have Musicians at Your Ceremony
Acoustic versions of your favorite romantic songs can bring an emotional elegance and set the proper tone for your wedding ceremony. Consider hiring a string trio or a classical guitarist to play as you walk down the aisle.
Close Out the Ceremony With a Flower Petal Toss
Add an extra dose of joy and ensure excellent photos of your ceremony exit by having guests toss flower petals over your heads as you recess down the aisle as newlyweds.
Decorate With Chinoiserie
A classic décor choice for a wedding is to bring chinoiserie ceramics into your design. Used as vessels for your florals or in your dinnerware, it adds a traditional and elegant touch to the space.
Have a Champagne Tower
Serving Champagne is a classic choice for a wedding. Serve your favorite bubbly in coupes, stacked in a tower, to make for an extra celebratory (and photo-worthy) moment at your reception.
Set Up a Checkered Dance Floor
A checkered dance floor is a classic for a reason. It sets the tone for the reception and brings a retro elegance as you get down with your new spouse and guests.
“Whether it’s dinner for two or a wedding for 250, candlelight creates an intimate atmosphere which can transform any space,” shares Blasena. “There’s nothing more magical than a candlelit room to create romance. Adding clusters of pillar and votive candles or simple white taper candles to your tabletop is an inexpensive touch that will also never go out of style.”
Opt for Black-and-White Photos
Don’t forget to ask your photographer to edit some shots without color. “Black and white photography is classic, timeless, and elegant. It creates a sophisticated look that will never go out of style,” says Fu.
Consider Seasonal Shades
“Featuring seasonal colors in the floral, stationery, tabletop and event design creates an event that resonates with guests emotions and ties your wedding to a place in time,” shares Hallgarth. "I always encourage bright and colorful blooms for a spring wedding and autumnal florals and foliage for a fall wedding which captures not only the beauty of the moment, but forever marries the event to a specific feeling of the year.”
Have a Getaway Car
After you say “I do,” there’s nothing more timeless than speeding off into the sunset with your new spouse. Find a vintage car and adorn it with florals for a charming getaway for the newlyweds as they head to the reception.
Make a Grand Entrance
As the wedding reception begins, have a special moment where the emcee announces the bride and groom for the first time as they rush out onto the dance floor. The entrance is a fun and celebratory moment that can easily transition to the first dance, and it's something that's been done at weddings for decades.
Hire a Live Band
While choosing a DJ or band for your wedding is a personal decision for a couple, there's no denying that live musicians can be an absolutely classic addition to your celebration. Make sure to do research to have your band fit the style and song selection you want for the evening.
Leave With a Sparkler Exit
At the end of the evening (or before you head to the after party), have your guests line up for a sparkler send-off. It's a beautiful end to celebrations around those you love.