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Photo: Dove + Sparrow

The 21st century has brought with it the potential to customize everything in your life, from your hair color to the décor you use at your wedding. Even if your childhood church or synagogue possesses a quaint and traditional aesthetic, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t indulge in a love of midcentury modern décor or streamlined accents. Modernizing a church wedding can be as simple as customizing your lighting selection or floral arrangements. Just ask New York and Savannah-based wedding expert Rebecca Gardner, whose suggestions for ways to update traditional ceremony sites with personalized decorations just may make your nuptials the perfect union of classic and contemporary.

1. Soft Lighting Sources
Gardner credits soft lighting sources as features that can modernize even the most traditional religious settings for a contemporary couple. “Focus on glowing candles and soft washes of uplight,” explains Gardner.

3. Don’t Go for Baroque
When it comes to creating a put-together look for a church ceremony, Gardner suggests letting the house of worship’s ambiance do the talking instead of muffling it with expansive and obtrusive displays, highlighting key points of the design. “There is nothing more sincere than a traditional wedding in a place or worship,” Gardner elaborates. “Churches were designed to be grand, so I prefer to let the ceremony décor take a back seat to architectural elements.”

4. Strategic Pops of Color
If a bland backdrop is your largest décor concern for a church wedding, invest in strategic pops of color to weave through the space. Vibrantly hued blooms are a beautiful option, according to Gardner. “Camellias offer a punch of color and gardenias smell divine,” the seasoned wedding planner explains.

5. Leave the Ornate Vintage Décor for Another Occasion
Nothing gives a wedding a dated feel quite like staid traditions that can be traced to a particularly elaborate time period unless they’re wittily mixed in with cutting-edge elements. “Gone are the days of fussy stargazer lilies and droopy satin bows,” Gardner insists. Try incorporating touches that are personal to you as a couple instead of conventions that are impersonal and overtly garish.