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Tips for Decorating Your Wedding Reception

Updated: Feb 5, 2022

You're probably at the stage in your wedding planning when you need to start thinking about how you will decorate your wedding reception or styling your wedding venue.

Wedding Reception at Braxted Park, Essex - Photo credit Natasha Marshall Photography

If you're new to planning a wedding, decorating a large space it can be really a daunting task. It is tricky to know where to start and how much of your budget you'll need to allocate, particularly if like most of my clients, you've recently been guests at lots of friends weddings and you'd like yours to look and feel different. If this sounds like you, you can save a lot of time and worry by getting advice from someone who has planned a wedding before and someone who has experience in decorating events.

I've been helping design led couples like yourself, to design and style unique, beautiful, impactful and elegant wedding receptions since 2018. I have had plenty experience in styling different wedding venues all over Essex and Suffolk. I styled my own wedding in 2010 as well as decorating various family celebrations well before I began working in the wedding industry. I have a good eye and love working on weddings that are clean, elegant and contemporary, with a focus on details. You'll find plenty of inspiration and advice in my blog and instagram posts (linked at the bottom of this post).

So, where do you start?

Please don't think that table centres, light up letters and coloured chair bows the same colour as the bridesmaids dresses are the only achievable way to decorate a wedding recpetion. A common mistake when thinking about how to decorate your reception is to solely look at what has already been done at the venue. The venue will use marketing images that appeal to the couples are trying to attract. The venue will host open days and tasting evenings and show you a wedding reception decoration that is beautiful, but is also simple and neutral to please many tastes. Their aim is to show their 'standard' set up so prospective clients know what they are getting when they book. In my experience couples planning weddings in 2022 & 2023 want their wedding to reflect their tastes and be memorable and enjoyable for their guests. To state the obvious, its your day - you don't have to follow all wedding traditions and you don't have to have a cookie-cutter wedding that looks like everyone else's.

This post includes 5 helpful tips to consider when planning the decor for your wedding reception.

Tip #1 - Create one stand out decor piece

There should be ONE memorable visual element of your wedding decor that stands out above all others. This could be a specially commissioned installation; fabric draping; lighting canopies; a flower bomb or large foliage hanging hoops; statement floral table centrepieces or a floral arch created by your wedding florist; an unusual ceremony backdrop or luxury linens tableware, glassware hired from a local wedding hire company.

Tip #2 - You can't go wrong with blooms and candlelight

Keep it simple. Beautiful blooms and romantic candlelight, a winning combination for elegant weddings no matter the season. A floral arrangement combined with dinner candles and tea lights will do the trick, glass candleholders won't overcrowd your table and keep things super elegant but you can add a metallic accent using brass or gold candlesticks and coloured tea lights. Choose your favourite seasonal blooms and add a mix of sized and shaped flowers. To make your colour palette more contemporary try using different tones of the same hue to make colours stand out from each other and remember not everything has to match. Varying arrangements styles, heights and colours will make your wedding more unique and more visually interesting.

"There are certain colours, such as blush, which are synonymous with weddings. If you love pink but are fed up with seeing blush dominating weddings, try using it as an accent within your colour palette instead of the main colour." – Victoria Reed, Wedding Stylist

Tip #3 - Replicate textures and surfaces

Let your venue inspire you. Look around the venue. What do you see? Replicate and accentuate design details, textiles and surfaces. Add soft furnishings and textiles to soften hard surfaces and use the existing decor as inspiration for your colour palette. Work with your venue and not against.

Tip #4 - Mix it up

Consider the layout of the room, does it work for the mood of the wedding you crave? Simply rearranging the existing furniture, removing pieces that dominate or adding an informal lounge area will change both how the space looks and feels. An impactful way to update an event space can be easily achieved by replacing the classic lime-wash charivari chair with a modern ghost chair, an antique-styled Louis XVI oval or cane back chair, or a rustic garden style cross back chair.

Tip #5 - Get help

Lastly, knowing a little bit about designing can really help with the visual elements of your day. If this isn't a strength of yours or your partner or you simply don't have the time to spend designing your wedding, then it is OK to get professional help. A busy wedding season with back to back weddings, tight turnarounds and limited access before the wedding day, can make styling a space harder than it needs to be. Investing in getting an experienced professional stylist on board as soon as you've picked your wedding venue will make designing and styling much more enjoyable, less stressful, save you a huge amount of research time, time spent agonising and making decisions and save money that you may have lost through ill advised decisions or last minute changes of plan. A stylist will focus your ideas, help you stick to your concept, stick to your budget and suggest areas to save money. Their advice could also save costly mistakes, through troubleshooting and prior experience.

Concept - Vision - Design - Styling

Decorating a wedding doesn't have to be hard. Remember the tips above, flowers and candles are a great starting point, add a luxury decor item or installation, think about how you'll use colour and how you can make your venue work better for your special day. If it all seems too hard or too time consuming and you'd like help, advice or inspiration from a professional stylist, I'd be happy to help as little or as much as you need. I offer a range of services to help clients achieve the aesthetic they desire, whether you have the concept or vision nailed or no idea on how to start!

To find out about my styling services, click here then begin a styling enquiry for your 2023 wedding, here and finally for inspiration on styling a spring wedding, read this.

If you're simply looking for visual inspiration you may like to follow me on instagram and look at my inspirational wedding styling boards on Pinterest

Comments and sharing welcomed. Thank you, for reading my post.

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