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How to Plan a Timeless Wedding, According to the Experts

Wedding planners and photographers share the details that stand the test of time.

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.

Bride at chateau wedding venue with hedge maze

Photo by KT Merry; Design by Mehroz Kapadia

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.” 

Rosewood Miramar Hotel wedding ceremony outdoors with flower-lined aisle and clear ghost chairs

Photo by Caroline Tran; Design by Mehroz Kapadia

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.”

Bride and groom with wedding party in black-tie attire and blue floral gowns

Photo by Will Reid Photography; Design by Mehroz Kapadia

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.”

Wedding ceremony with white and green florals and ghost chairs

Photo by Volvoreta; Design by Mehroz Kapadia

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.”

Invitation suite with blue and white paper

Photo by Stephanie Sunderland; Design by Mehroz Kapadia

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.”

Bride and groom during first look

Photo by Ryan Ray; Design by Mehroz Kapadia

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.”

Bride and groom in yellow and white outfits kiss after haldi ceremony

Photo by Lev Kuperman; Design by Mehroz Kapadia

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."

Bride in tuxedo and bride in strapless gown holding bouquet

Photo by Henry + Mac; Design by Mehroz Kapadia

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!”

String trio at wedding ceremony

Photo by Lisa Poggi; Design by Mehroz Kapadia

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.

Bride and groom smiling during wedding recessional as guests toss flower petals

Photo by Benjamin Wheeler and Ben Higgins; Design by Mehroz Kapadia

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.

Wedding tablescape with white florals and chinoiserie pots

Photo By Twah Dougherty; Design by Mehroz Kapadia

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.

Bride and groom pouring champagne on champagne tower

Photo by Haley Rynn Ringo; Design by Mehroz Kapadia

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.

Bride and groom dance on black and white checkered dance floor

Photo by AGP Collective; Design by Mehroz Kapadia

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.

Wedding reception tent with candles on tables and lanterns outside

Photo by Corbin Gurkin; Design by Mehroz Kapadia

Embrace Candlelight

“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.”

Two grooms in a black and white portrait

Photo by Anée Atelier; Design by Mehroz Kapadia

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.

Portrait of bride and groom outside with pink and white florals in the background

Photo by Jenny Fu; Design by Mehroz Kapadia

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.”

Bride and groom in white getaway car with floral decorations

Photo by Brooke Miller Photography; Design by Mehroz Kapadia

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.

Bride and groom entrance at wedding reception with floral installation

Photo by Sasithon Photography; Design by Mehroz Kapadia

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.

Live band on stage with yellow and orange flowers at wedding

Photo by Allan Zepeda Photography; Design by Mehroz Kapadia

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.

Bride and groom during sparkler exit from wedding

Photo By Tailor James; Design by Mehroz Kapadia

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.

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