39 Wedding Reception Decoration Ideas That'll Wow Your Guests

These ideas are sure to make you swoon.
Hannah Nowack The Knot Senior Weddings Editor
by
Hannah Nowack
Hannah Nowack The Knot Senior Weddings Editor
Hannah Nowack
Senior Editor, Weddings
  • Hannah writes and edits articles for The Knot Worldwide, with a focus on real wedding coverage.
  • Hannah has a passion for DE&I and plays an integral role in ensuring The Knot content highlights all voices and all love stories.
  • Prior to The Knot Worldwide, Hannah was the Social Media Editor at Martha Stewart Weddings.
Updated Apr 13, 2022

While your wedding ceremony is the legal reason you've invited your friends and family to celebrate, the wedding reception is your chance to party and let loose with loved ones. It's a festive moment and, as such, the wedding decoration ideas you include in your wedding reception should be just as epic. From dramatic tabletop decorations to statement installations and floral arrangements that'll have everyone swooning, you're sure to find an idea here that piques your interest. Plus, we connected with some of our favorite wedding experts to answer frequently asked questions about reception decor to ensure you've got your bases covered while planning.

In this story:

Wedding Decoration Ideas Frequently Asked Questions

Before launching into scrolling through inspirational wedding ideas for your reception, it's important to know the ins and outs of bringing your wedding vision and dreams to life. Keep these wedding decoration FAQs in mind while you're wedding planning.

How should I decorate my wedding reception?

There are a myriad of elements and decorations that go into an overall wedding design. Centerpieces, linens and place setting rentals will comprise your tabletop design. However, there's no reason to stop there—the sky's the limit. A dramatic entryway arch, epic escort card display, unique sweetheart table design, and even a cool step-and-repeat photo booth moment are just a few of the many other decoration ideas for receptions you can utilize.

How can I decorate a wedding venue myself?

If you're wondering how to decorate a wedding venue yourself then technically, yes, some simple wedding setup designs can be undertaken with a DIY projects. However, most wedding reception ideas are better left to the pros for execution. Professional wedding planners, event designers, lighting technicians, florists and rental specialists know how to expertly turn your wedding reception decoration dreams into reality. Plus, the pros have access to suppliers that everyday people can't shop from so, not only are you going to benefit from vendors' expertise, but you'll likely end up with better design details if you enlist pros.

How can I decorate with a limited budget?

If your budget for the wedding day is limited, plan to prioritize your budget by spending on high-impact design items that can be reused or are multifunctional. For example, ask your floral designer about creating a dramatic floral arch for the wedding ceremony that can double as a backdrop for the cake table during the wedding reception. Or see if wedding party bouquets can be utilized in the reception decor to make your budget stretch a bit further. While it can be tempting to assume that DIY weddings will save you money, that's often not the case. Experts are going to know what can be repurposed and how to do so successfully, so enlisting a vendor's help will ultimately ensure your budget is spent most effectively. "Choosing the top three things that you have experienced at previous events that felt impactful goes far in an exercise to weed out all the extras," explains wedding planner Laura Ritchie of Grit & Grace. "It can be overwhelming and also overkill to try and check all the possibilities."

Where can wedding decor inspiration come from?

"Don't focus on recreating something you've seen at another wedding or on the internet, focus on creating something that feels like you," advises expert Caitlyn Kuchemba of Clover Event Co. "Take inspiration from your home, your wardrobe and places you love to visit as a good starting point. If your home has a set color palette, that probably means it's your favorite and is the most comfortable and soothing for you—consider bringing that same palette into your wedding and your wedding guests will feel like your wedding is an extension of your home and you as a couple. If you have a favorite place to travel, can you bring that in as inspiration for the feel of your wedding and your wedding palette?" Heather Balliet and the team behind Amorology Weddings adds that "we love designing weddings that make our sweet couples' personalities shine through! We encourage them to think about the things that make them happiest, always keeping in mind their essence and unique style. A great place to find inspiration is by following wedding blogs, interior designers, and brands that emanate the things they love most!"

The Knot Expert Tip: Wedding planning expert Laura Ritchie of Grit & Grace encourages to-be-weds to "keep in mind budget and impact. Lots of little moments don't necessarily add up to more wow. We want to focus on the bigger picture and build upon a handful of really awesome things. Consider guest experience too as a way to make sense whether you should put your money toward something."

Modern Wedding Decoration Ideas

If you and your partner are planning a trendy, modern wedding then you're going to be absolutely obsessed with these ideas. Whether you lean into a sleek and minimal look or go with of-the-moment colors and textures, modern decor details are never a bad idea.

1. Wedding Reception With Marquee Lights and Paper Lanterns

Paper lanterns and giant marquee lights spelling out 'love' softened this industrial loft space with exposed brick.

2. Boho Chandeliers at Outdoor Wedding

Boho chandeliers, accented by greenery, brought a fun residential vibe to this wedding while complementing the beige and mauve wedding colors for the big day.

3. Greenhouse Wedding With Neon Sign and Disco Balls

To complement their eclectic wedding theme, this couple decorated their wedding reception space with silver disco balls and a custom neon wedding sign.

4. Wedding Bar With Illustrated Floral Backdrop

As a modern alternative to a fresh flower backdrop, this couple commissioned an oversize printed floral backdrop to anchor their gold-and-white reception bar.

5. Modern Orange Tablescape With Acrylic Decor

Acrylic can be used for more than just signage. This couple created a hip, modern installation to hang above their dinner table with warm shades of acrylic that seamlessly complemented the orange velvet tablecloths they utilized.

6. Modern Indigo-and-Black Tablescape

Gold candle holders, a mix of black and white taper candles, a black-and-gold table number, gold-rimmed glassware and modern pink wedding flowers sat atop a black marble table at this chic wedding.

7. Long Reception Table With Black Taper Candles

Instead of a simple table runner paired with centerpieces, this couple decided to have a plethora of sleek black taper candles running the length of the reception table.

Over-the-Top Wedding Decoration Ideas

When it comes to beautiful accents, we love a more is more mentality. These designs are proof that going all out with decor at the wedding is a decision you won't soon regret.

8. Tented Fall Wedding With Assorted Chandeliers

    An assortment of beaded and woven chandeliers, accented with dried foliage garlands, hung above the reception tables at this tented rustic wedding.

    9. Black-and-Red Decor at Garden Wedding

      Cue the confetti, we're obsessed with this look! Black chandeliers, which matched the black napkins and black taper candles atop the tables, wowed wedding guests at this outdoor wedding.

      10. Romantic Wedding Reception With Greenery Garland

        To bring an outdoor garden vibe inside for this ballroom wedding, the couple had their florist drape the windows with greenery garlands.

        11. Tented Wedding With Velvet Chairs and Beaded Chandeliers

        Navy and gold wedding colors worked together harmoniously under the tent at this wedding reception. Beaded chandeliers, accented by string lights, illuminated the space while wedding guests sat on navy velvet chairs to enjoy dinner.

        12. Glam Black-and-White Wedding Reception With Chandeliers

        An open-air structure was decked out with white draping, crystal chandeliers and gold chandeliers at this California wedding.

        13. Tall Fuchsia Rose Centerpiece

        Instead of having the wedding flowers sit on the table as part of the reception table decorations, the centerpieces at this wedding were dramatically elevated while simple taper candles, votives and tea lights sat directly on the table.

        14. Moody Reception With Draping and Uplighting

        Never underestimate the role that event lightning can play in bringing your wedding vision to life. The draping and greenery of this reception space looked beautiful on their own, but dramatic uplighting illuminated the space and made it look even more eye-catching.

        15. Romantic Red-and-Gray Wedding Reception

        Gray anchored this reception space, while pops of red seen throughout the design, from the linens to the wedding arch framing the cake, added a pop of personality to the design.

        16. Romantic Wedding Reception in Historic Venue

          If your wedding venue is beautiful on its own, like the venue this couple chose for their winter wedding in Philadelphia, make sure that your wedding decor complements the space, rather than trying to compete with or overpower the existing architecture.

          17. Glam Reception With Hot Pink Velvet Chairs

          We're loving the hot pink velvet chairs this couple selected for their reception tables. As a bonus, they match the roses used in the floral arrangements beautifully.

          The Knot Expert Tip: "Let your personalities and your interests guide the overall look of your reception," advises The Knot Associate Editor Sarah Hanlon. "Whether you include references to your favorite movies, restaurants, activities, or even your pets, infusing your decor with thoughtful, personal touches is key for making the experience memorable for guests."

          Simple Wedding Decoration Ideas

          Simple reception decorations aren't synonymous with plain. Sometimes the most effective designs are ones that are streamlined and don't feel too busy, as evidenced by these simple wedding reception ideas.

          18. Tropical Wedding Reception With Woven Lanterns

          A selection of white and woven lanterns hung about the farm tables at this waterfront wedding. While the overall design was simple and didn't involve too many elements, the effect was stunning.

          19. Barn Entrance With Lavendar Balloons and Drapes

          Don't underestimate the power of first impressions. To welcome guests into the barn venue for their wedding reception, this couple outfit the entrance with simple drapes and a balloon installation.

          20. Modern Marquee Letters

          At this wedding in Hawaii, marquee letters spelling out 'aloha' welcomed guests to the reception.

          21. Greenhouse With Simple Pink Draping

          The draping at the entrance to this greenhouse wedding venue was simple, yet highly effective.

          22. Wood Farm Tables With Pink Runners

          If you're planning a rustic wedding, don't limit yourself to twine, mason jars and burlap. This couple brought in elegant touches of pastel pink to their rustic wedding to give it an updated feel.

          23. Tented Wedding With Black Chairs

          While the overall design of this reception tent was simple, the choice of unique black residential-inspired chairs elegantly elevated the entire look.

          Backyard and Home Wedding Decoration Ideas

          If you're booking a traditional wedding venue, the existing architecture may lend itself well to a certain look. Or it might even be so eye-catching that you'd don't need much added decor. However, with a backyard or private estate wedding you have a blank slate. Another difference about backyard weddings is that traditional venues are built to be decorated. They have rigging points and convenient loading docks, which a residential space being used for an outdoor wedding won't have. Some added planning may be necessary, but with the right amount of preparation, you should be able to execute most ideas you dream up.

          24. Boho Wedding With Pampas Grass and Edison Bulbs

          Backyard weddings don't have to be boring. This couple brought in a clear-top tent and filled it with pampas grass and eclectic Edison bulbs.

          25. Mid-Century Modern Backyard Wedding Decorations

          Wood tables with hairpin legs and white bentwood chairs brought mid-century modern vibe to this backyard space.

          26. Rustic Backyard Wedding With Orange Linens

          This couple selected seasonal wedding colors that fit seamlessly into their fall wedding.

          27. Carnival-Inspired Wedding With Ferris Wheel

          Everything is bigger in Texas, even the backyard weddings. For their private estate wedding, this couple brought in carnival rides, like a ferris wheel, for guests' entertainment.

          28. Elegant Neutral-Hued Backyard Wedding

          A traditional ballroom isn't the only place you can host a classic, elegant wedding. As this backyard wedding is proof, a timeless event can take place just about anywhere.

          The Knot Expert Tip: Event planner and wedding expert Caitlin Kuchemba of Clover Event Co. encourages to-be-weds to "think not only about how you want your wedding to look like, but more importantly how you want it to feel. What do you want guests to walk away feeling? How do you want them to feel in the space?"

          Wedding Dinner Decoration Ideas

          Dinner is a big part of most wedding receptions. While the food you serve is an important part of that, the ambiance and setting you create for dinner deserve just as much attention. Let these wedding table decor ideas, which range from romantic and glam wedding centerpieces to simple wedding dinner decorations, inspire your own wedding dinner plans.

          29. Dinner Table Under Canopy of Twinkle Lights

          To ensure this dinner felt cozy and intimate, the couple had a canopy of twinkle lights engulf their reception dinner table.

          30. Residential-Inspired Tablescape With Lamps

          This tablescape showcased a beautiful residential vibe with ornate lamps interspersed in the decor.

          31. Pampas Grass Installation Above Reception Table

          We love how a boho pampas grass arrangement was suspended above this reception table.

          32. Open-Air Structure Decorated With Greenery

          Dinner at this classic wedding took place under an open-air structure that was decked out with elegant greenery.

          33. Eclectic Serpentine Dinner Table

          Instead of simple circular or square tables, guests at this wedding reception dined at curvy serpentine tables.

          34. Boho All-White Wedding Decor

          There's something so timeless about an all-white wedding color palette. White dried foliage arrangements, white linens, white chairs and neutral accents wowed at this wedding reception.

          35. Horse-Themed Wedding Tablescape

          While the model horse table number (which matched the model horse wedding favors attendees received) was the star of the show in this design, each element was also stunning in it's own right. Simple place cards in metal card holders directed wedding guests to their seats. Upon arrival, they were greeted by leather place mats, crystal glassware and dusty blue dishware.

          36. Tropical Reception Table With Burlap Runner and Woven Chandeliers

          Texture is just as important as color when it comes to curating a wedding design, as evidenced here.

          Wedding Stage Decoration Ideas

          No matter what kind of wedding music entertainment you've booking, from a DJ to a live band, these performers will likely be the focal point of the wedding reception as deserve to be highlighted as such. Although their equipment needs come first, you'll still have a chance to decorate the wedding stage to make it an eye-catching piece de resistance. Let these wedding ideas for reception stages inspire your big day plans.

          37. Stage Decorated With Inflatable Animals and Modern Lighting

          Inflatable pool floaties, a patterned backdrop and eclectic lights gave this wedding stage setup a funky, club-like vibe.

          38. Celestial-Inspired Wedding Stage Design

          A blue backdrop and a crescent moon gave this wedding stage an ethereal, celestial feel.

          39. Marble-Inspired Wedding Stage Design

          A marble-like design anchored this band stage while black accents gave it a modern edge.

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