Make your something old your something new.

By Sara Dickinson
May 02, 2019
Long Reception Table with Red Flower Arrangements
Credit: Adam Barnes

Historic wedding venues are timeless, romantic, and offer tons of unique character, which makes them popular among brides and grooms. While the stunning architecture means you might be able to scale back in terms of the rest of your décor, there's a good chance that you'll still want to add a few contemporary details to the space so that it feels unique and reflects who you two are as a couple. But how do you do that in a way that doesn't feel forced? You chose your historic venue because you loved the space's storied past-is there a way to use more modern decorative details that will feel natural to the locale?

Whenever she plans a wedding at a historic venue, Amanda Gray at Ashley Baber Weddings always incorporates unexpected modern touches. Items like "gorgeous, gathered flower arrangements on a stately mantle, rented mid-century furniture for a hip lounge spot, or dramatic lighting to highlight unique features of the venue" are some of her favorite additions. When selected carefully, they enhance the space, not clash with it.

Calder Clark, owner and creative director of Calder Clark Designs, says she generally aims to give a historic venue a more youthful vibe with smart contrasts. "If the bones of your venue are formal and architectural, keep the linens and tabletop really clean and crisp," she suggests. Consider adding a flower wall for photo ops that contrast with photos your guests take with the brick walls, mahogany staircases, and antiques that show off the history of your venue.

While your venue might already include architectural features, statues, and paintings, you can modernize the space by incorporating asymmetric designs and unique geographical shapes. Kasey Schaffer, a planner with Toast Events, says "We love to use non-traditional shapes and textures to modernize a venue. Square tables instead of round tables, specialty chairs, unique florals, and a fun lighting installation to bring a contemporary flare to the space."

In the end, your historic wedding venue will already have tons of charm, so adding a few modern touches to the décor won't detract from it-instead, it'll help make the space feel like a reflection of you two as a couple.


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