Okay, I always tell my budget conscious brides that most of your wedding budget should go towards your wedding reception, because this is where most of your guest will be spending most of their time. Whereas the ceremony may last an hour, the reception can run the span of several hours. Because this is where you and your guest will be spending most of the day, most brides want the reception site to look breathtaking. I know I want my guest to be amazed by the way the room looks.
Decorations are extremely important to me because I truly believe they help set the overall mood of the events. Believe it or not, guests do take behavioral cues based on how the room looks. Sounds silly doesn’t it? But, think about when something is decorated for kids; It’s usually in bright, playful and vibrant colors that make you feel young again. Now imagine being in a room that is decorated for a formal event. Sitting at a table where there are three forks, three knives, and three spoons in front of you, doesn’t make you feel like turning cartwheels. You will probably feel more appropriate sipping on some champagne and chatting with friends. So, reception decorations set the mood for all of your guests. But with so much to plan, where should you start?
You should always know what you want before buying or renting anything for your space. That doesn’t mean that you must know every detail, but there should be certain buzz words in your head. Are you looking for simple elegance or over-the-top fabulousness? Are you going with a particular theme? Or do you have a motif that you want to use throughout the day? These are important questions to ponder in order to get great wedding reception ideas. It is also important to understand that your wedding reception décor should reflect your personality and the level of formality that you are looking for. So think about your buzz words, because they should sound off, in your head, whenever you look at any décor elements. For example, I am truly simple when it comes to decorating. I don’t like things to be over-the-top, so simplicity is a really big buzzword for me. Although I want things simple, that does not mean I want a picnic in the park for my wedding day. I think more about a simple, sophisticated style because I think it reflects my personality. Thank goodness that my fiancé is the same way. Anyway, your buzzwords will help give great wedding reception ideas.
Now, I know that no one has to tell overly excited brides this, but you also need to flip through wedding books and magazines to figure out the look that you want. One of my favorite wedding pastimes is to go to the bookstore, get a stack of magazines, find a corner, and dream. Look at the décor elements featured in the magazine. Notice the tablecloths that are being used on the tables as well as the shapes of the tables. Think about the elements that you like and how you would want it to look differently. Pay close attention to how each detail sets the right mood. Browsing through these books, magazines, and online wedding websites helps to shape your wedding reception decoration ideas.
Now once you have done all of your researching and dreaming, you should have an idea of what you want and you can start the decorating process. Those who are not in the wedding industry probably only think about flowers and that’s it; however, so much more goes into decorating your reception-linens, lighting, and even table settings; And those are just a few items. Let’s start with the things that many people tend to overlook but is an important wedding reception element which are the tables.
Most weddings have the large round tables because many venues offer this and for years, this has been the standard. Rounds are great because many venues offer these tables at no cost and many centerpieces are made with round tables in mind. I also think that rounds are a good choice because although many brides want something out of the box, round tables still give that “wedding” feeling that we are looking for.
Although the round table is still a popular choice, some brides are looking towards square tables. Square tables are becoming quite trendy with brides and they provide more of an urban, sleek and modern feel. This is quite the option for brides such as myself. However, keep in mind that many couples have to rent square tables which can be an added expense to the budget.
Long, rectangular tables give a more intimate, family-oriented experience because the guests are not separated by a large table. A unique way to get a great experience with rectangular tables is to set up a family-like dinner setting at each table where guests can pass food around. They will feel more like they are at a family gathering.
Another unique way to really spice up your reception is to use all of these shapes. Don’t just use the rectangle tables for the head tables and the rounds for the guests, have a mix of round tables and square tables. This can loosen things up and not make your wedding reception seem so formal. This is definitely for the more daring bride.
Let us not forget that with the age of the cocktail party coming back in style, a great alternative to large round tables is the more intimate cocktail tables. You can have a variety of high and low tables that can seat two or four people. This really creates an adult, chic ambiance. This of course is best for serving hors de oeuvres as opposed to full meals. This provides the perfect opportunity for your guests to socialize with the other guests.
Alright, we have our table shapes picked out, so let’s move on to linens. Things such as tablecloths seem like no big deal to many people, but to a bride, they become larger than life. Things like tablecloths, napkins, and even fabric swags can really make your wedding reception one of a kind.
Linens lend a big hand to the reception décor of a wedding whether we notice it or not. I remember being at my cousins wedding and noticing how the overlays stood out and really enhanced the reception look. Although I was more intrigued by the couple and their happiness, I also loved that the reception reflected the wedding colors. That is the same thing that brides want the guest to think, and this may not be achieved with white linens. When white was the supreme color of the wedding, white linens had it good. Many reception areas provided them, and many brides used them. All of a sudden, brides did not want the plain white linens anymore and the demand for color was in. Even with white linens, brides are trying their best to find ways to incorporate color. Your table cloths are a great way to incorporate your wedding colors.
Now, tablecloths not only bring color, but texture as well. Tablecloths are made from many different materials besides cotton and satin. You have the heavier, more formal damask materials with beautiful patterns or stripes. This is usually made in silk, lace, or synthetic fibers. I think this is for more formal affairs & not, necessary for your outdoor, casual reception. There are even the overlays that are affected by the colors around it. These are usually sheer and when placed over a tablecloth or next to a particular color; it changes in color as well. Linens can accentuate your wedding reception and bring it to life. Because of all the choices, it is paramount to make sure that your linens reflect your look. Heavier fabrics go better with formal indoor receptions while lighter fabrics work well for outdoor or more casual affairs.
Don’t forget your napkins! The napkins can be white or match the colors of the wedding. When put on the table, they add a nice touch to the overall reception decorations.
You don’t just have to use fabric on tables. Hanging fabric is also an inexpensive way to decorate at your reception. Fabric swags from the ceiling add beautiful drama to a plain room. Also, fabric hung from the walls can also add to the décor.
One major impact on the wedding reception is lighting. Lighting can create a great a great atmosphere to get guests in the mood for a wonderful party. Of course, there are a number of ways to use lighting to help spice up the wedding reception.
Candles, candles, and more candles! Not only are they inexpensive, but they also create a wonderful glow that can warm an entire room. Candles can go with any type of centerpiece. They are great for low, high, traditional, or more modern. Candles don’t only have to be at the tables, but they can decorate other reception areas such as the bar, cake table, and seating cards.
Spotlights. Lighting companies can do great things with lights that can boost the reception feel. Spotlights can be focused on the sweetheart table or on the walls to add extra color. Maybe no one will come to the wedding and say great lighting, but it is one of those background objects that add to the overall mood. A great idea is to have a light with the monogram of the couple focused on the dance floor.
String lighting and lantern lighting are also great for décor. String lighting with swags of tulle around it makes a soft glow over the entire room. Lights intertwined with flowers attached to the bar or buffet table is a creative element. For outdoor affairs, I love to see lanterns hanging from trees or a tent. The glow is not overbearing and lends to the festive feeling of the guests.
Here are just a few tips to make sure your wedding reception decorations are absolutely perfect
o Don’t overdo it with color. Many brides get stuck on their favorite color and go overboard with it. You know those weddings where the bride’s favorite color is pink and the reception looks like an overspill of Pepto Bismol. Make sure you break up the color and not get so focused on just one look.
o You don’t have to have every decorating element to create your look. Lanterns, candles, string lighting, centerpieces, spotlights, and damask linens. Beautiful elements are beautiful because they are allowed to shine, but putting them all together can make for a decoration disaster. Pick a few elements and go with them. Trying to fit them all in will only end in a tacky mess.
o Remember the look you want. It is your day and you can do whatever you please, but don’t let that stubborn mantra ruin the reception décor. Do you really want a rich, velvet tablecloth for a summer time, outdoor, daytime reception? This goes for flowers as well as linens. Sunflowers are really summer-y, but do they work for a winter wedding?
Here are a few more tips on wedding reception decorations that will help the budget conscious bride
o Use the tables of the venue. Sometimes, instead of being stuck on a particular look, you should change your look to what fits your budget. When my fiancé and I found ourselves in a number crunch, we decided to use the rectangle tables provided by the location instead of renting round ones.
o If you have to use white linens improvise with color. Sometimes, white linens are hard to avoid because you have to spend money to get the colored ones. To add color, one idea is to use ribbons. Using thick ribbons as table runners can add color to the tables. Also, try getting a nice sheet of paper, glue ribbons around it and use it as a part of the centerpiece-instant color.
o Look for lighting alternatives. Ask the venue if there is a dimmer for the room that you are using. There usually is which lends to lighting at the venue. Another way to get lighting is with the DJ. The DJ can sometimes bring lighting with them for a nominal fee. Also, candles create light for a small price.
o Always scour the dollar store for any elements that can enhance reception décor. Bargain finds are a great way to enhance the decorations without spending a bundle.