"Traditional doesn't have to mean stuffy or fussy," says New York City event planner Loulie Walker. "Honor what has come before, but make it your own." Mix in bright colors or contemporary music, and add your own signature touches to time-honored rituals. Think: round or square tables decked in fitted cream or ivory linens, candelabras and simple, lush centerpieces with just a few varieties of fuller blooms. A compact design with tightly arranged flowers will stand the test of time. For a more formal affair, each place setting should include a charger, china with touches of gold or silver, crystal stemware and silver flatware. Up the elegance factor with ornate vessels that look as if they were borrowed from a royal dining room -- tall, gilded pedestal vases, crystal cylinders and metallic goblets -- and seat guests at long banquet tables for a sense of regal drama.