Friday, December 4, 2009

Looking Back: The Importance of Classic Design

I’ve been in this business for 30 years and I spend so much time looking forward (planning for the next project, keeping track of the newest technology in event design) that I rarely get a chance to look back and evaluate the past projects I’ve accomplished. There’s a lot one can learn from the past (and I get such joy from reminiscing), so I thought it might be nice to do a weekly series where we discuss past events and lessons learned or tips that came from working on them.

This week, I wanted to begin with a discussion about classic design. There are so many things clients have to worry about when planning their event, and one of those things is trends. What’s the popular color for this year? Is this flower “in” or “out”? Well, I’m here to tell you—it’s less important to worry about trends and more important just to focus on good design. I know it sounds simplistic, but if your design is strong, it will have a timeless quality that you can’t reproduce with kitschy of-the-moment trends.

In most of the events I design, especially weddings, I always focus on giving my clients a timeless experience. That way, they can look back 15 or 20 years and still experience the same feeling of amazement and charm as they did on that day. The pictures you see throughout this post are of events that happened 10, sometimes 15 years ago. Would you have been able to tell if I hadn’t told you?

Here are three tips to help you achieve that classic look:

#1: In creating the bridal bouquet, I tend to go with all white flowers to match the dress. If you use colored flowers, the bouquet tends to compete with the dress and people focus more on the flowers than the bride. Using all white will also keep that bouquet looking fresh in pictures—even 20 years later.

#2: Tuxedo trends come and go. I always suggest my grooms go with the most classic style available. If you’re not sure what I mean by classic, think Cary Grant.

#3 Same goes for the bride’s wedding gown. I always advise my brides to pick a classically styled dress. Not only will it add even more elegance to the event, but it will prevent her from looking back and saying, "What was I thinking?"

Do you have any tips you’d like to share on how to achieve that classic look? I’d love to hear about them in the comments.


  1. Love this post. Well said, and something we strive to communicate to all our clients.

  2. Dear Preson,
    I keep thinking of Ivanka's wedding dress!!!
    The dress is not a dress you see in the wedding pages today!!!!! The hair the earrings!!! It all has a timeless feel to it!!!
    I say "know thy self" and let that shine thru!!
    Do not be talked into anything that does not feel like you!!!
    And be open all the same!!! I always bring a person back to themselves!!1 By the way this "knowing oneself often does not come until one is over 40 and life "come crashing down on them" and then the Phoenix Rises!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  3. Classics work across the board in all areas: make-up, clothes, colors, decor, jewelry, art, literature etc.

    As you stated Preston except for the location changing you can barely tell how long ago these lovely events took place.

    Trends and styles do change and individuals use them for the "shock" effect and will tire of them fast when the next new thing arrives in front of them.

    Classics really are timeless in, body, mind and soul. A business that adheres to the classics reminds their clients of that pure and simple fact. They are worth their weight in Gold!

  4. I totally agree. As a graphic designer, I find the classic design lasts. I recently looked through my portfolio and my work doesn't feel dated because I have always stuck to the tenets of good design and kept it clean, simple and elegant.

  5. Of all the advice, blogs, and inspirations I have been lucky enough to encounter this is truly the most valuable. I am certain that following your guidelines will make my wedding everything that I hope it will be.
    Thank you so much for taking the time to share your art with us!


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