Wedding Reception Decoration Ideas: A Quick Guide to Make a Big Day Fantastic

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Curating the perfect wedding reception decorations can often prove to be a challenge. Much of the difficulty comes from finding decor that fits the theme of the event. If you’re having a tea party bridal shower, for example, then you want to look for items that will bring out the concept of an elegant affair.

Whether you’re hosting in an isolated country venue or a garden in a big city, there are a few factors that you should focus on when selecting decorations for your wedding reception and associated events like a bridal shower, engagement party, and more.

Use this quick guide to find the ideal decorations for your big day. By focusing on low cost options that draw attention with ease, you are sure to be satisfied with the final appearance.

Tips Decorate a Wedding Reception Hall on a Budget

Most couples work with a strict budget when planning a wedding. If you want to bring your venue to life without spending a fortune, there are plenty of ways to achieve this goal! Consider these tips to make your space look exactly how you’d like in no time. 

Use Personal Items

The idea of the DIY wedding has taken off in recent years. When you’re searching for decorations that are affordable and will easily fit into your wedding venue, the do-it-yourself route is totally worth a look. Grab things from home that can be transported without a fuss, like pillows and blankets and tapestries.

By using your personal items in new and interesting ways, you can transform the venue space however you’d like. Just remember to make a note that you must bring everything back with you when your reception has come to a close.

Repurpose Ceremony Decorations

This is probably one bit of advice that most couples follow anyway, but you should definitely repurpose ceremony decorations for your reception. You definitely put down a sizable chunk of change to get the floral arrangements for your dream wedding.

If you’re limiting the flowers to the small window when your ceremony takes place, you’re throwing your money away. Any bit of decor used on your wedding day in the ceremony should definitely be brought to the reception venue to get some extra life and be put to good use. 

Consider Candles

Candles have a way of setting a mood. When you’re looking for an event that has a soft, welcoming ambiance, you can’t go wrong with considering lighting a whole bunch of candles around the venue.

Naturally, open flames are a point of concern on a few fronts. If you think that you could benefit from some candlelight at your affair, check with the venue manager well in advance. The last thing you want to do is accidentally set off the automatic sprinklers or watch as a drunk reveler lights the whole place on fire by bumping into a table.

Explore Centerpiece Options

Floral arrangement centerpieces might feel like the norm, but you can easily explore a variety of enticing options as alternatives. Some couples will use stacks of old books tied with ribbons as a centerpiece, as it can give a rough or antiquated look to the table.

A lantern can also make for a beautiful piece, especially if you keep some candles burning within the glass. Get creative and think outside the box to find some options that will impress your guests and save you some money along the way.

Hang Lights

If you’re concerned about open flames with candles, you can find a perfect solution by hanging lights. Whether you go for white twinkling lights, fairy lights, or strings of colorful Christmas lights, there are some amazing ways to use these to your advantage.

Your wedding colors determine the “color story” of your event and simple strands of lights can bring forth any palette with ease. All you need to do is invest in the kind of lights you’d like, then determine where in your venue the strings can be hung. In no time, your space will be aglow with beautiful points of light. 

Add Some Greenery

Indoor plants are a staple of most modern homes these days. If you’re looking for wedding reception decorations that will be easy to incorporate into your event, then you should look no further than the power of plants.

Though flowers add color to your wedding, plants can bring forth levels of green in a truly amazing way. Studies show that the presence of plants can help make people feel calm, happy, and focused. If you want to bring forth these emotions on your big day, grab some plants and get to work!

Rent Everything You Can

Buying everything for your wedding outright is definitely not a smart way to go about using your budget. If you really want to see the best results with your finances, you need to think about renting almost everything that you can.

These days, you can rent pretty much anything that you can think of for big events. From clothing to tables and chairs to photo booths to vans, whatever you might need to bring your day to fruition is available for a fraction of the cost. Look over your options and see how rentals can make your day much easier.

Look at Secondhand Options

Though you can pretty much rent any wedding reception decorations you could possibly think of, there may come times when you don’t find exactly what you are looking for during your search. Instead of losing hope, look into secondhand options.

Buying a piece of decor secondhand can still save you a ton of money when you’re unable to find a rental option. Plus, a vast majority of secondhand items people sell for use in weddings are in fantastic condition already. All you need to do is put in some time and research!

Keep Decorations Simple

Your wedding venue does not need to be packed from wall to wall with decorations in order for the space to feel festive. In fact, you may be able to have a much bigger impact by keeping it simple.

Pick out a few statement pieces that can be strategically placed around the venue. Instead of buying a ton of items and committing hours to setting everything up, you can save money and time by being minimal in your approach. Not only will your budget benefit, but you will totally impress your guests for less. 

Indoor Wedding Reception Decorations

There are a few simple tricks you can use when you want to make your reception space look as good as you can. With just a few little adjustments, your venue will have the exact appearance you have been aiming for. 

Drape the Ceilings

Fabric has a way of taking a mundane space and invigorating it in a variety of ways. If you’re looking for an easy way to make your reception hall look more elegant, invest in a few rolls of fabric.

Drape the ceilings with the fabric in clever ways and you’ll have a wedding reception design that guests will be talking about for years to come. 

wedding decoration ideas - ceilings

Pick Up Patterned Pillows

As mentioned, one of the best ways to decorate your venue is by bringing in some items from home. If you own a bunch of patterned pillows, then bring these pieces with you! Patterned pillows can make for a welcoming addition to any reception space, especially one that boasts couches, loungers, and other furniture items.  

wedding reception decorations - patterned pillow

Hang Your Flowers

Instead of placing floral arrangements as centerpieces and calling it a day, you can get a lot more from your flowers by exploring some easy alternatives.

One simple solution is to hang the flowers. If you want to take the traditional idea of flower decoration for wedding reception events and turn it on its head, look at the different ways you can incorporate your flowers into the reception decor. 

wedding reception decorations - flowers

Order Calligraphed Menus

When guests sit down at a table at the start of the wedding reception, you are granted an opportunity to impress them. Instead of standard menus waiting for guests at their assigned seats, consider calligraphed menus.

A printer might make the words nice and bold so that everyone can read them, but calligraphy has an elegance that will make your wedding day a special affair with ease. 

wedding decoration ideas - menus

Fairytale Chandeliers

Are you looking to put together an elegant wedding that has people talking for years to come? Then you may wish to explore alternative wedding reception decorations that are also conversation pieces. Fairytale chandeliers are made with flickering lights that cast an enchanting glow over the entire reception space. You’ll feel like a character from a classic story as you enter the venue and see the magic for yourself. 

Fairytale Chandeliers

Rustic Stacked Crates

When you’re looking to host a rustic wedding, texture is everything. The look and feel of exposed wood has a way of invoking images of farmlands and old country towns.

A stack of wooden crates filled with different items is an absolutely amazing way for you to bring this idea to the forefront of your wedding day. Plus, you can find these crates for cheap or free at any business that receives shipments in such containers. 

Rustic Stacked Crates - wedding reception decorations

Photo Backdrops

Are you worried that the weather will spoil your chance to take amazing pictures outside? Not to fear! Photo backdrops are a piece of decor that you can easily use to make your big day come to life in every picture that is taken.

All you need to do is find some backgrounds you love and hang them around the venue. These are great wedding exception decorations because they encourage guests to pull out their phones and take a picture in front of the images throughout the night. 

Display Your Engagement Photos

Did you and your partner take engagement photos when you decided to tie the knot? Most couples tend to do this these days, meaning you can easily find some decor that works perfectly for your event. Print and frame a variety of the pictures you took for your engagement. Hanging these photos around your space will fill the venue with images of your love and happiness.

Display Your Engagement Photos

Consider a Few Candles

As mentioned already, candles can be a simple and beautiful way of touching up a space. Again, don’t forget to check with the venue beforehand and have a plan of action for fire safety. 

Consider a Few Candles

Outdoor Wedding Reception Decorations

Tying the knot in the great outdoors? Not a problem! Finding decorations that work for outdoor venues is absolutely as easy as discovering indoor options. Consider these outdoor wedding reception decorations and see how you can put the finishing touch on your event. 

Add Terrariums

While being outside means you will already be surrounded by natural elements and plants, you may want to nail this home a bit more with your reception decor. If this is the case, think about how terrariums can spice up the appearance of a venue.

These are very popular items these days, so you can easily find a wide variety of interesting terrarium designs and styles by poking around the internet a bit. 

Add Terrariums - wedding reception decorations

Decorate with Food

An outdoor wedding demands a banquet feast. Instead of having servers run back and forth with food, you can save a lot of time and money by having your guests serve themselves. Best of all, this is an opportunity to decorate with your food.

The way that the food is arranged will add to environment and create a perfectly delicious way to welcome guests to your event.  

Decorate with Food - wedding reception decor

Related Post: Best Wedding Reception Food Ideas on a Budget

Have a Picnic

Need a wedding reception table idea for your outdoor event? Whether you’re doing a garden party or a beach theme with your wedding, picnic table set ups are a great way to go. All you need is a couple of baskets to display certain key items like wine bottles and tablecloths that mimic the old checkerboard style people are familiar with. Soon, you’ll have a wedding that feels like a perfect picnic.

Make a Family Photo Wall

The happy couple may be the starts of the wedding, but they are not the only people who will be receiving attention on this day. Family members and close friends will also feel a part of the love story being displayed.

If you want to work this sentimental angle into your event, consider making a family photo wall. This is a wonderful way to showcase all of the smiling faces of the families being brought together by your union. 

Photo Backdrops
Source: Pure 7 Studios

Hang Paper Lanterns

Much like the idea of hanging string lights everywhere, paper lanterns can also be a fun idea to consider. Available in a variety of designs, paper lanterns are a classic way to go about wedding reception decorations for outdoor affairs. 

Hang Paper Lanterns

Go Green

As stated, plants make a great addition to any wedding reception. If you want to have an outdoor wedding and not spend a ton of money on flowers, go green and stay cheap by opting for plants. The natural world is filled with plantlife already, so you really don’t have to spend any money at all to involve the greens of the grass and trees.  

Go Green - wedding reception decorations

Make Chalkboard Signs

Outdoor weddings usually require ample signage. If you want to make sure your guests know where to go, then you need to have visible signs hung in all the right places. If you want to make the signs a part of your decor, make some chalkboard signs! This is a fun and easy way to add a bit of life to the signs you have to hang around the venue area anyway. 

Make Chalkboard Signs

Final Thoughts!

Finding wedding reception decorations that fit your aesthetic and your budget takes a little bit of time. Instead of feeling like you have to follow a certain path, explore all of your options.

Give yourself a chance to consider a variety of ideas for your big day and it will help to inspire you. In no time, you will be ready to put together an event that reflects your sense of style and the love that you share with your significant other.

Related Post: Best Wedding Reception Songs to Fill the Dancefloor on Your Big Day

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