Styling the perfect wedding reception can be fun but also an overwhelming experience. Even though you might have a vision of what you want the reception area to look like, you may need to keep restrictions of the venue in mind and make sure you’re not breaking any rules in the contract as you start revitalizing the space. Once you’re aware of what you can and can’t use to decorate the space, you can start mapping out plans for the decor! Whether you’re going for a more minimalistic style or over-the-top luxury, here are 9 tips for choosing decor for your wedding reception:
#1: Don’t Jump on Trends
You’ve probably been paging through dozens of bridal magazines trying to pick up on some of the latest trends and styles in weddings. While celebrity weddings and the latest designer looks can be eye-catching and bold, they’re not always easy to pull off in real life. If you choose a theme, color combination, or style that’s too trendy, you might take away from the magic and natural beauty of the event. Looking back, you might even wish you had kept things simpler and more classic in nature. Avoid some of the latest trends and definitely avoid trends that you haven’t incorporated into your home or wardrobe. Incorporating monogrammed accessories and décor is a great way to keep your wedding unique and interesting.
#2: Personalize the Color Scheme
There’s no rule on what colors you can and can’t use for your wedding reception—even if you had a more traditional wedding ceremony. You want to choose color palettes that best represent your personality and tastes. You can let your creativity loose for this part of the wedding decorating because this venue will be the place where everyone will be relaxing and having a good time. Choose colors that really make you and your partner shine, and don’t be afraid to push the envelope when mixing different colors and shades.
#3: Pick the Right Venue
This sounds like an obvious suggestion, but the venue you choose will play a big role in the overall theme, mood, and ambiance of your reception celebration. Are you planning an outdoor event? You’ll want to keep the decor simple and natural. Going for something glitzy and glamorous in a ballroom setting? Feel free to drape the ceilings, rent plush furniture, and set up grand buffet stations. If you’re hosting the reception in a barn, you’ll want the decor to be more simple in style and have a farmhouse chic versus modern and contemporary theme.
#4: Keep Things Consistent with Wedding Invites
Even though wedding invitations aren’t part of the wedding decor, they will set the tone and style of the wedding. You’ll want to choose wedding invitations that have the same color palette and overall design theme as your wedding decor. If you’re going for a more classic or traditional wedding, the invitations may be more formal in style. If you’re going with a farmhouse chic look, the invitations may be handmade or have a distressed look. Play with different themes and really think about the color and style you want to include in the reception to make sure it’s a match.
#5: Design Wedding Signs
Many people overlook the benefit of having custom made or homemade wedding signs that direct guests to the exact location of the reception. You can hang these signs anywhere along the path to the wedding venue and make it your own with chalkboard signs, hand-painted signs, or custom-made decor. Chalkboard signs are becoming increasingly popular because they can be written on by the bride and groom or dressed up by a chalkboard artist, complete with different colors and bold designs. Whatever your interpretation of the wedding sign may be, make sure it’s high on the priority list of things to do when pulling together your reception decor!
#6: Be Creative with the Escort Card Table
The escort card table is filled with cards that have the guest’s name and the table where they will be seated. The card gives them the choice of seat, unlike place cards that assign everyone to a specific seat. These escort cards can be printed by a printer or designed by you. When it comes to presentation, you can be creative with the design and presentation of the escort card table so it’s a focal point of the entryway in the reception area. Some creative ideas include setting up a garden wall where you hang the cards on the wall with flowers. It could also be a cork board with coasters with the guest’s name pinned to the board.
#7: Consider Hanging Flowers
While floral centerpieces are always a popular choice for wedding receptions, try something different with hanging flowers. Whether it’s a classic flower basket or a customized arrangement designed to drape and drop over the dining table in a unique way, hanging flowers from the ceiling so they’re suspended over the table and social areas can create a stunning scene and adds some drama to the space. It can even make vaulted ceilings look more expansive.
#8: Create Height with Lamps
One of the downsides of indoor reception areas is having low lighting, low ceilings, and, sometimes, limited space. You’ll be surprised how much space you can create simply by adding long table lamps to the tables instead of centerpieces. Crystal, glass, or mirrored table lamps can create the illusion of more space and also add some height because of their dimensions. Use placemats to center the lamp in the middle of the table. When they’re all lit up and the surrounding lights are turned down, the effect is a more intimate and romantic setting.
#9: Decorate with Colored Glassware
You’re probably going to use a lot of glassware during the reception, so those glasses will be covering many tables throughout the event. Add a touch of color to the space by using glassware tinted in red, blue, yellow, green, or other colors that complement the decor. This can work especially well if you’ve chosen a neutral or black and white color palette.