20 Ways to Transform Your Reception Space
Just because your reception space is a rented hotel ballroom or a plain white industrial loft doesn't mean you can't revamp it and make it totally your own. Whether you want to give your venue just a touch of your personal style or a total overhaul, these 20 ideas are a good place to start.
Don't forget: Get the green light from your planner or venue manager before paying for any big installations or décor pieces. You don't want to get told the day of that the light fixtures cannot be hung on the rafters or the fabric draping is against fire code.
1. Hang Extra Lights
2. Bring the Outdoors In
3. Light Up the Room
One of the most effective ways to instantly make over a space is with gorgeous allover lighting. Expert planners love amber or pink uplights—the warm glow is inviting and can make even the simplest room feel chic and stylish. Plus, this kind of light is super-flattering for all skin tones.
4. Focus on the Details
Once the room itself is lit, highlight a few spots within your reception with smaller lights to bring even more drama. For example, shine a monogram gobo light on the wall behind your sweetheart table, or aim pinspots at the cake table, escort card table and guest book display.
5. Drape the Room
If your reception venue has wallpaper or paint that will clash with your wedding décor (or even if it doesn't!), you can create another world within the room with draping. Choose a fabric that matches your wedding colors, or pick white for a clean, classic look. Bonus tip: Draping just the ceiling can also make the space feel totally different, and it's cheaper than covering the entire room.
6. Choose Fun Linens
7. Divvy Up the Space
If your venue is a large ballroom or loft, consider staying away from the typical round tables and dance floor arrangement. Instead, set up a lounge area, outdoor seating and a zone of cocktail tables (these can be separated with draping), which will make the space seem cozier (and completely different).
8. Accent With Some Sparkle
Give a blank canvas space a fabulous treatment with a little shine. Crystal curtains hanging along the walls, dangling from centerpieces or scattered on the dinner tables can give a plain space a fresh look. Or go the metallic route and deck out the tables with sequin table runners.
9. Repeat Décor Elements
There's strength in numbers, and that goes for décor too. Any piece of decoration, from hanging lanterns to a custom monogram motif, has more visual impact when shown off en masse.
10. Create Vignettes
Borrowed from the world of interior design, a few stylish vignettes (grouped décor displays) can bring serious personality to your reception. For example, set up your guest book table with a few floral arrangements, framed photos and family mementos, or display pieces of antique furniture topped with vintage props.
11. Embrace a Theme
If you really want to turn your venue into another world, choose a strong theme and carry it through all of your reception décor. For example, go all out with a Western motif, complete with horseshoes, rustic wood elements and woodsy colors. For an Asian-inspired style, hang red lanterns, use gold accents and pick tall, exotic flowers. Or even embrace a fall theme, with autumn hues and lots of fall foliage.
12. Mix Up the Dinner Tables
Round tables are classic, but you can totally change the flow of your reception by playing with the shape of your tables. For example, mix round and square tables for an eclectic look, or choose all long banquet tables for an intimate family feel.
13. Bring in Candles (Lots of Them!)
14. Hang Chandeliers
15. Vary the Centerpieces
16. Jazz Up Your Glassware
Instead of clear glassware, an unusual shade like black, red or cobalt will add instant personality to your table settings. Plus, the little splashes of color throughout the room can have a big impact.
17. Rent Unexpected Chairs
Chiavari chairs are a wedding staple, so choose something more unexpected for a new look. Rows and rows of eye-catching seats, like brightly colored vintage chairs or clear ghost chairs, can completely change the style of a space.
18. Hang a Backdrop
A big and bold custom party backdrop featuring your monogram, a big panel of fabric that matches your wedding style or even a faux greenery wall filled with candles can provide your reception with a fun focal point. Bonus: One of these can double as a background for your photo booth.
19. Wrap the Columns
20. Hang Unexpected Décor
You can hang more than just chandeliers and lanterns from the ceiling—try strings of flowers, paper cranes or colorful ribbons.