How to Balance Traditional and Contemporary Wedding Elements

Ready for a wedding planning secret? This is one that both wedding planners and interior designers swear by: The way to achieve gorgeous impactful design is through a seamless blend of traditional and contemporary. 

Nothing to it.

What better way to integrate something old and something new, right?

Now with anything that relates to long-standing tradition and includes design-related elements, this is not something you just toss together. Combining the two – and doing it well – requires some forethought.

Step 1 – Pick and Choose

No matter what wedding tradition is customary for you and your culture, the first thing you’ll want to do is ask yourself: Which aspects of a traditional wedding are important enough to you that you’d like to make room for on your big day?

Think about it all.  

You’ve got:

  • The venue
  • The décor
  • The bridal gown and bridesmaid dresses
  • The ceremony
  • The food
  • The cake
  • The entertainment

Jot down the conventional wedding customs and elements you find meaningful and would like to include in your big day.

You can also incorporate a twist on tradition, add your own contemporary flair to an old wedding custom. There are no real “rules” here, rather it comes from the heart.

Your goal is to map out the framework of your big day, provide some structure so you know exactly what you need and what you’re looking for.

Again, this is not a situation where one size fits all. Your wedding day is special and unique to you. It’s a colossal occasion and cause to celebrate. Therefore, it’s worthwhile to select components both you and your fiancée personally connect with and find meaningful.

Step 2 – Fill in the Gaps

Once you’ve jotted down which traditional parts of the wedding you’d like to keep, it’s time to add the contemporary.

Modern wedding trends tend to play on tradition as is the case for Jewish pre-wedding ceremony, signing the traditional ketubah, but also open the door to freedom: the freedom for you and your fiancé to let your personality shine! It’s your wedding day after all, so why not include pieces that are important to you?

Brainstorm ways to make it happen, ways to bring your big day to life – your way. What does that look like?

Perhaps it’s a non-traditional venue. Or maybe rather than serve the usual chicken and fish during the reception, you decide to go all out on barbeque instead.

Maybe you feel called to have a themed wedding, keep tradition in place, and weave your theme into the food and décor.

The beauty of balancing both tradition and contemporary when tying the knot is you get it all – you get the best of both worlds.

Step 3 – Bring it all Together

Popular contemporary wedding décor trends emphasize a monochromatic look with a play on texture. The décor is minimal and clean, and oftentimes the venue itself is the statement. For example, many venues have historical relevance or a neat backstory. The architecture, setting, and built-in character set the tone.

Another modern-day trendy aspect of contemporary weddings is freeing up the expected, and welcoming room to play.

For example, many brides are letting their personality shine through their choice of bridesmaid dresses. From drop dead gorgeous glam reminiscent of old Hollywood, to floral patterns that you might find at a romantic garden party at a cozy cottage in England. 

The color and silhouette of the bridesmaid’s dress are an excellent way to play up traditional, contemporary, or perhaps combine a little of both. Bella Bridesmaids have an impressive slelction of dresses. If you’re looking for inspo, take a peek at their collection. You’re bound to find exactly what you’re looking for.

Your bridal gown is another area you can add some contemporary flair. Tradition states that a wedding dress is to be long and ornate. Perhaps it has a train that trails behind it. Yet some contemporary brides opt for shorter gowns. Dresses that still include much of the same gorgeous lace around the bodice or beaded detail, yet are innovative and modern. Memorable, because they’re different.

Maybe you choose to get married in a setting that’s unexpected, say a candlelit cave (yup, you can get married in a cave!) yet keep the rest of the traditional wedding aspects the same.

Balancing tradition and contemporary gives you a lot of room to incorporate your personality, and create a special memorable occasion both you and your guests will cherish forever.


The secret to getting it right, to creating an experience that honors both who you are and where you come from, is to understand which aspects of both old and new are important to you. If you take the time to think about it – make the decision from your heart – it will be reflected beautifully on your big day.

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