When a bride is prepping for her big day, there are a few things that take priority: the dress, the ring, and the reception (venue included), though not necessarily in that order. Just as in fashion and home décor, it's easy to get swept up in the latest look or design fad, but these impulse buys rarely stand the test of time. So when you're planning the most important day of your life (no pressure), resist the urge to follow wedding trends. Because no one wants to look back in 10 years and regret their decision.
Take the classic approach instead and choose wedding decorations, tablescapes, and centerpieces you'll love now and at your 50th anniversary. To find out how, we tapped major bridal expert Abby Larson of Style Me Pretty for her tips and insider intel on the wedding centerpieces, decorations, flowers, and tablescapes ideas that make your day a timeless one.
MD: What are the classic wedding decoration colors?
ABBY LARSON: Neutral, tone-on-tone palettes have and will continue to reign supreme. Whether it's soft whites, nudes, or grayed-out blues, these softer tones mean you can layer on gorgeous textures and florals in a way that feels rich and romantic.
MD: What decorations should a bride steer clear of?
AL: Ideas that go around Pinterest a million times and back again—in other words, trends. While you can easily work various trends into a wedding look and have it still feel timeless, most trends will have an expiration date.
MD: What are some of the evergreen flowers that are always in no matter what time of year?
AL: Roses are always beautiful, and seasonally, there is a breed for everyone from ruffled garden roses to more delicate Queen Elizabeth roses. Others I love are peonies, ranunculus, anemones, hydrangea, lavender, seasonal berries, lily of the valley—oh my gosh, we could go on and on. Flowers are innately timeless, so your best bet is to go with what is seasonally available in the palette that you love and let your florist take it from there.
MD: What are the bouquet arrangements that stand the test of time?
AL: A classic all-white bouquet is considered the most timeless of the bunch. My own bouquet (nearly 11 years ago) was simple white hydrangeas tied with a beautiful chocolate silk ribbon that draped down my dress. That said, there are so many ways to make an all-white (with perhaps a touch of green) bouquet feel like it will stand the test of time.
MD: Can you recommend some timeless wedding centerpiece ideas?
AL: You can really go in a few different directions with a wedding centerpiece and still create a very timeless one. Tall, cylindrical vases filled with simple, modern, but ethereal flowers is perhaps the most traditional approach. Arrangements like this should be kept incredibly simple, in clear or metallic vases with only one to two types of florals. Alternatively, a tall, all-green wedding centerpiece can be incredibly striking in its modernity but timeless in its approach. The second direction is low and loose. Allowing a bit of garden inspired imperfection to inspire each centerpiece. And lastly, a beautiful green garland draped across the table will always be beautiful.
MD: What should a bride go for when choosing a classic wedding invitation?
AL: Calligraphy has always been an art, and we are so grateful that the freeform, handwritten style of calligraphy has become so popular in classic weddings. Handmade or heavyweight papers are important. Although, some classic couples are working color and/or patterns into their stationery suites, namely in envelope liners or backings on the major pieces.
MD: What do you think makes a wedding timeless?
AL: Just the idea of a wedding in and of itself is timeless. It's rooted in tradition and ritual that is incredibly beautiful. Two people, loving each other forever, in front of family and friends is one of the rare moments that we have built entirely around timelessness. Layering in beautiful florals, a dinner among friends, and a celebration to end all celebrations is merely the icing on the cake.
MD: What should a bride consider when scouting venues?
AL: Budget. Always go in with a budget. This is largely determined by headcount, so you'll need that too, even if it's an educated (read: really educated, as in write a list before you go) guess. Then you want to consider the feeling of your picture-perfect wedding. Do you want guests to linger over dinner, or would you rather they hit the dance floor? Do you want an outdoor celebration, or do you want to go big, ballroom style? Your wedding will seem much more cohesive if you know the answer to these questions before you book your venue.
MD: What does a classic tablescape look like?
AL: Classic tables generally use either a farm table or a beautiful linen as its foundation: A beautiful centerpiece, layers of pretty china, all of the silver that you can imagine, and the proper drinkware to enjoy whatever you plan on pouring is a great start.
You might also consider including a table number or name, a sweet gesture on each place setting (think a fresh-cut herb, a handwritten note, or even just a baguette wrapped in pretty parchment), and something that feels timeless like individual salt cellars for each guest.
MD: What is the biggest no-no when designing a classic wedding?
AL: While I truly believe that every wedding (even the classics) needs a bit of whimsy (oh hello, doughnut station), classic weddings should embody tradition. When you throw too many trends or too much whimsy in, your wedding will take a different shape. Not a bad shape—it will simply move outside of that classic and timeless vibe you were hoping to achieve.
Oh, and don't forget to honor your guests. Ample seating, great food, and a good drink go a long way to creating a wedding that will be forever branded as wonderful.