Traditional & classic wedding ideas & inspiration never go out of style and will give your wedding a timeless look you will forever cherish.
I focused on this theme for my own 2019 wedding and am sharing what I know and learned with you.
Recommended Wedding Planner
First, since this is primarily a book blog, I want to take a minute to recommend the wedding planner I used to plan my wedding — it’s small, cheap and contains only what you need, and everything you need, without being too overwhelming.
I highly recommend it!
Second, below are some photos from my wedding in case you wanted to take another look at some traditional & classic wedding ideas & inspiration.
Then, I explain how and why we chose each element with traditional & classic wedding ideas & inspiration in mind, and suggest some additional recommendations for traditional & classic wedding ideas & inspiration.
Scroll through the Pinterest widget to see them all:
(Photography by Sarah Canning)
Traditional & Classic Wedding Ideas & Inspiration
For a traditional and classic venue, think about historic locations and/or ballrooms in your area of choice. Our venue was a 300-year-old inn, called The William Penn Inn, which was originally visited by William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania. My husband also grew up going there, so it had personal tradition meaning to us as well.
Besides being a historic venue, our venue’s special event space was a classic neutral ballroom, with wood molding details, a fireplace, and chandeliers — all very traditional. Look for details like these in your venue for a similar vibe.
For classic and traditional invitations, keep it simple! Look for a script or engraved fonts in a neutral tone on white or off-white cardstock. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel for nice invitations, and many invitation trends pass quickly with time.
I browsed through classic invitation designs on Minted to find ours. I like the traditional fonts and the simple white and grey color scheme. You simply can’t go wrong with something like this.
When I think of classic and traditional wedding dresses, I think of Audrey Hepburn (who is known for a high, straight neckline)and Grace Kelly (who is known for her timeless ballgown wedding dress).
Think of simple cuts and fabrics, like taffeta or shiny silk or satin. Fewer details and accessories = more. You may also consider sleeves for a more modest look.
Look at styles from decades ago and see which ones still feel beautiful today. That should be a pretty good indication of what may stand the test of time in the future.
I knew I wanted a high neckline like Audrey Hepburn, perhaps the most classic style icon, and I got lucky that I found this on the first try at BHLDN just a few days after our engagement. My dress was completely plain on top, which gave it that classic feel I was going for, but it had a bit of lace on the bottom and buttons down the back, which are still traditional elements, but a bit fresh and modern at the same time.
I also definitely recommend a veil for the most traditional bridal look. It really adds so much drama to your look. I prefer a long veil for the most impact, but many dresses look fantastic with shorter veils as well.
Again, when I think of classic and traditional hair updos, I think of Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Therefore, I recommend a well-groomed twist or bun for a style you will never regret. I opted for a bun with a bit of lift at the top, like Audrey, but you may also consider a Hollywood glam look, with long, sweeping, voluminous curls.
Rings / Wedding Bands
My engagement ring was my husband’s grandmother’s and, luckily for us, the jeweler stated it was the most classic style — a round center stone with two rectangular baguettes on the side. When it came time to pick a wedding band, I matched the clean lines of the baguettes for a simple and unified look. Again, keep it simple for the most traditional look and use your jeweler’s expertise as to what styles have remained the most timeless.
My husband chose a simple white gold band with no flair, based on our jeweler’s advice that this was the most traditional men’s style.
Nothing says classic and traditional jewelry like pearls, so consider using them as part of your ensemble.
I wore pearl drop earrings from BHLDN, which had three vintage-inspired teardrop rhinestones at the top. The vintage style mixed with pearls created a very traditional look. On my wrist, I wore a simple, thin silver Kendra Scott bracelet that was barely visible.
Popular colors come and go, but neutrals are forever. You will never regret a black and white bridal party color scheme. My husband wanted our bridal party color scheme to have a more Spring-like feel, though, so we landed on the next most popular neutral — navy– for the men and silver for the ladies, after I held up every neutral color on myself and decided silver seemed to be the most universally flattering.
Neutrals and metallics will likely always be your best bet for a classic and traditional color scheme, but try to avoid modern cuts and details, like sequins, for a look that stands the test of time.
My bridesmaids wore modest lace and chiffon Adriana Papell dresses from Macy’s, which they selected themselves and were able to purchase off the rack (no measuring, waiting, and hoping).
Flowers / Centerpieces / Bouquets
Just look around on Valentine’s Day to see that the most classic and traditional flowers are roses! I also think of hydrangeas, which are abundant in the very preppy islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, as classic and traditional. Luckily they are abundant and cheap too!
If you are still worried about selecting the most timeless colors, however, stick with white! It’s your wedding, after all, and white flowers will never go out of style, no matter which ones you select!
I paired white roses and hydrangeas with greens for a lush traditional look, as green is the classic color of nature.
As for bridal bouquets, you may also want to consider lily of the valley flowers — but it really depends on your look and personal style. They were used in the wedding bouquets of timeless style icons and royalty, including Audrey Hepburn (in the movies), Grace Kelly, Kate Middleton, and Meghan Markle. I carried a bouquet entirely made of lily of the valley flowers inspired by these beautiful ladies.
Floral looks can be very trendy (and what comes in style eventually goes out of style), so for the most classic and traditional look, you may wish to look to inspiration from decades past to see what still looks timeless to you.
Have I said, “Keep it simple” too many times yet? Well, when it comes to decor, I think you should keep it simple here as well. Wedding decor trends are so fickle. What may look exciting on Pinterest now may have you cringing a few years from now.
Candles and candelabras date back forever and they likely aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, so you may want to consider lining tables with them, as I did. Like I have said before, keep your color scheme to neutrals and metallics for the most timeless look.
We used traditional ivory linens but accented them with silver table runners. Our chairs were gold, so we picked gold candle holders and vases as well.
One thing that’s extra important in getting the most classic and traditional look is thinking long and hard about what would look best specifically in your venue. This way, the decor doesn’t really look like decor — it blends seamlessly as if it were part of your venue, and may stand a better chance of having that timeless look years from now.
I spent nights lying awake thinking about what specific look our venue was made for more so than what I personally preferred, and doing so caused me to select long rectangular tables and shorter centerpieces, which I may not have selected otherwise. Several vendors commented to us that this was the best the venue has looked for a wedding.
Cake trends are another wedding element that tends to come and go, so I recommend a classic white, tiered cake. You simply can’t go wrong. It will be cheaper and easier to eat this way as well.
If you want to accent it, add a few flowers or a simple icing design, like a stripe.
We topped our off cake with a very traditional, old-fashioned-looking Lenox bride and groom cake topper. There are zillions of cake topper designs so if you want the most classic look, I recommend you think old-fashioned.
Related Wedding Posts
If you loved these traditional and classic wedding ideas and inspiration, you will love these posts too:
- Stress free wedding planning
- How I saved $22,0000 on my wedding
- White dress engagement photo ideas
- How to preserve your wedding flowers
- How to make a DIY wedding invitation ornament
- 5 flower girl gifts from Amazon that are cute & useful
- BLDHN review & tips for buying a wedding dress online
- Audrey Hepburn inspired wedding dresses
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