21 Ways to Make Your Wedding Feel More Modern, Straight from the Experts
Top industry professionals share their best tips for putting a modern spin on your traditional nuptials.
There are few events with quite as many traditions as a wedding, but that doesn't mean you can't still make your day your own. If you're looking to plan a wedding with a classic structure but the right hint of modernity, know that you're not alone. Whether they're trying to appease older generations of family members who have strong opinions on what a wedding looks like or want to follow traditions they love but ditch others that don't work for them, plenty of couples are searching for ways to bring their big days into the 21st century.
So how can make your wedding modern without making the event unrecognizable? Start by looking to the experts for advice. We asked 21 wedding professionals to share their best tips for modernizing the ceremony and reception. Wedding planners, stationers, photographers, caterers, florists, and more all heard our challenge and rose to the occasion.
Some of their standout advice included ditching traditional black-tie attire in favor of something more contemporary. No, that doesn't mean you can't have a formal event, but it does mean you can be a little more playful. Consider swapping black tuxes for navy blue ones and be more forgiving with wedding guest attire requests. Another genius idea? Think outside the box in terms of entertainment. A live band is sure to get the party started, but a silent disco reception is one way to ensure your reception is talked about for years to come.
Think about the food you serve, too. Almost everyone loves being treated to a decadent three-course meal, but if you know that your guests are going to be ready to party, work with your caterer on ways to speed up the serving process and get everyone out on the dance floor faster.
For more ways to make your wedding feel entirely of the moment, click through here for additional expert-approved ideas.
"Technology is increasingly an integral part of our lives, and there is no way to make your wedding feel more modern than with a chic, timeless wedding website. Before guests even arrive, you will have set the tone. To create a seamless experience for your guests, make sure to work with a company that can help pull your overall wedding design into both the website and invitations, creating a cohesive look from start to finish."—Cindy Skanderup, Co Founder & Creative Director, Bliss & Bone
Start with Your Venue
"Select a wedding venue that has a clean, neutral palette. Think white walls, concrete floors, and vaulted ceilings. You can build upon this modern environment to create a beautiful and sleek setting for your ceremony or reception."—Erin Sprinkel, Co-Owner, Sterling Social
Ditch Traditional Bridesmaid Attire
"Unify the bridal party by giving your bridesmaids a color palette instead of a dressing them in matching gowns. This allows everyone to express their individuality while keeping your color vision for the wedding in tact."—Liz Banfield, Owner and Lead Photographer, Liz Banfield
Opt for the Unexpected
"Mixing a natural setting with the unexpected décor elements is a great way to make your wedding modern yet timeless."—Lindsey Nickel, Wedding Planner and Wedding Business Coach, Lovely Day Events
Say "Yes" to White
"All-white everything is always the cleanest, most sophisticated way to portray a modern vibe throughout your wedding design."—Kristin Doggett, Co-Founder and Creative Director, Bellafare
Dress Up Your Band
"We think band backdrops are the ultimate way to modernize and freshen up a wedding's vibe."—Calder Clark, Owner and Creative Director, Calder Clark
Make Your Entrance Grand
"Transform the entrance to your reception to make a statement. When we think of modern, we think of clean lines, noticeable contrast, and minimal focal points. For example, we updated a traditional set of doors with the help of sheer fabric, wild greenery and clean, sophisticated lanterns."—Eatherley Schultz, Owner, Floressence Flowers
Stray from a Black Tux
"Black tuxes are timeless, but a colorful, fitted tux is the perfect choice for a modern wedding."—Rachel Ashcraft,
Founder and Owner,
Play with Color
"If you are looking to for ways to modernize your table décor but still want to keep guests feeling comfortable, stick with a formal place setting to keep things timeless, but then focus on clean lines. For this place setting, we went with a classic hemstitch napkin but added a little bit of a more modern color to jazz it up!"—Diana Venditto, Owner and Creative Director, Eventi Floral & Events
Rethink Your Ceremony Backdrop
Tweak Your Bouquet
Plan Interactive Entertainment
"Interactive entertainment is a huge hit! Whether a confetti pop or ceiling drop at the end of the first dance, or a well orchestrated transition from reception to afterparty by way of Silent Disco DJs and headsets, these modern touches add such life. We love keeping guests entertained and excited throughout the entire celebration."—Cassandra Santor, Owner, Cassandra & Company
"We love metallics, it's a trend that remains timeless year after year. A way to make metals modern is to have fun with where you use them. Gold- or silver-dipped light bulbs hanging over the reception tables are fun statement pieces and are sure to set the mood."—Katie Mamula, Senior Event Designer and Marketing Manager, Ryan Designs
Twist Your Place Settings
"Try to incorporate modern 'twists' into timeless classics. A place setting, for example, contains many tiny elements to change up, like the napkin and the place card. Rather than fold the napkin flat with straight lines, give it a simple twist for a modern feel that is fresh yet still classic. Instead of a traditional paper place card, consider playing with different materials and textures, such as leather, marble, or capiz shells."—Kimiko Hosaki, Founder and Creative Director, Elements by K.H & Co.
Incorporate Your Personalities
"By incorporating elements of their relationship and personalities into the day, couples are able to instantly modernize their weddings while still paying tribute to timeless traditions. At this wedding, my groom was a pilot in the U.S. Marine Corp., so we designed a paper airplane program for guests to fold and toss as the couple exited the church."—Jill Remy, Event Planner, Designer, and Owner, Jill & Co. Events
Look to Interior Design
"Use home décor pieces to create a modern lounge area. We are always inspired by interior design and love to mix classic and modern furniture for a timeless look. Guests will feel at home and appreciate a place to rest their feet between dancing!"—Chelsey Morrison, Owner, Principal Designer, and Planner, Gather Together Event Planning & Design
Design an Innovative Menu
"A great way to make your wedding feel modern is through the food you serve. Catering has come a long way from the old banquet halls. A seated dinner can be fun and it doesn't have to last three hours either. Work with your caterer to create a menu that is inspired by you as a couple and incorporates different elements. For example, your guests can be invited to their tables with a shot glass of gazpacho or a demitasse mug of bisque."—Rachel Razowsky, Senior Sales Consultant, Blue Plate Catering
Select Modern Florals
Take Your Entertainment to a New Level
"In addition to ceremony and reception entertainment, up the ante with feature performances during cocktail hour."—Stephanie Cole and Sarah Drake, Founders, Cole Drake Events
Use Classic in a New Way
"Classic elements used in non-traditional ways can make your day feel very modern. We used these custom marble tables without runners or linens to give the space a modern, clean look that was absolutely beautiful."—Tracie Domino, Founder and Creative Director, Tracie Domino Events
Have a Device-Free Ceremony
"Today's newest phones and devices will look outdated in a few years, so no matter how amazing ypir wedding ceremony photos are, if these devices are present in them, they'll date your event photos more than any other element. So even if going fully 'device-free' feels like too much, an unplugged ceremony is a good compromise to make your wedding modern."—Parris Whittingham, Owner, From Parris with Love