How to Decorate a Wedding Reception

How to Decorate a Wedding Reception

You’ve planned out your wedding ceremony: everything from where it’s held to how it will be decorated. But now it’s time to think about decorating your reception venue, which for many people, is just as important as the ceremony itself!


How do you decorate a wedding reception? The ‘rules’ are the same as for a ceremony: a colour and a theme are the foundation of all your decorations. You can use candles, bouquets of flowers as centrepieces or around the venue, place cards, table plans and more. Basics like balloons and fairy lights are a cheaper alternative if you’re on a budget.

Depending on your budget and theme, you could go all out, or keep the style relatively simple. It’s up to you (and your bank balance) how far you go…

Your Colour Scheme and Wedding Theme

If your wedding ceremony had a theme and colour scheme, then continue with these at your wedding reception. This is the easiest way to figure out how you’re going to decorate your venue. This is normally easy enough; say you had chair covers of a certain colour at your wedding ceremony, you can reuse these for the reception (or order more, if you don’t want to collect them after your ceremony).The same applies to your theme. If you had a rustic outdoor wedding ceremony, then the reception can feature wooden party favours and an outdoors-y colour scheme. You can match your reception stationery to your theme, too, because things like place cards and favours can be personalised in any design and colour that you like.

Here are a few more ways you can establish your theme and colour scheme at your reception…

Decoration Basics

Starting with the most basic of basics, balloons are perfect for a wedding reception. Naturally, they come in all sorts of different colours and sizes, they can have anything written on them: the name of the bride and groom, the date, a happy message (‘We’re Married!’)… Anything!
Balloons are perfect because they’re as cheap as decorations can be. Plus, you can use them anywhere. Some decorations, like candles, might not be allowed in your venue but balloons will be for sure.


Fairy lights are are a great idea if you are on a budget they can make any room look amazing, You can have fairy light curtains along walls or draped over curtains to make your venue sparkle, or added to a centrepiece for a magical effect.



Flowers at a Wedding Reception

Flowers are the best way to add a splash of colour to a reception. With flowers the possibilities are endless. There is a flower to suit any theme and colour scheme. Pastel coloured flowers for a rustic/vintage themed wedding or bright vibrant flowers can be used to really lift the tone at any venue.

Flowers can also be used in lots of different ways at a reception. Bouquets can act as centrepieces, on each table or their use can be reserved for the top table. Either way, they add colour where there was none before.
You can also line the walls with flowers: either in a row, or covering the whole wall! Or, if you have an archway at the reception, you can line that with flowers too. Any columns in the restaurant are perfect for decorating with flowers, or you could go wild and drape them from the ceiling. The more flowers you use, the more your reception’s colour scheme is defined by them.

Besides colour, flowers can work within certain themes. Take a rustic wedding: the flower centrepiece could be placed in an old pot. A more elegantly themed wedding could place each bouquet in an upscale vase.

The Table Plan

The table plan is a large diagram showing guests where each table is, and who’s sat where. Alternatively, the plan can be several lists of names but without the diagram, which serves the same purpose. The point of a table plan is to get each guest to their seat with a minimum of fuss, so that the reception goes without a hitch. Of course, your guests will likely find some way to get lost and confused anyway!
Either way, the table plan can be personalised in lots of ways. You can have it printed to match the exact colour of everything else at your wedding, from the napkins to the flowers. You can also pick a plan with a design that fits your wedding theme.

Decorating a Wedding Table

Once you’re finished draping flowers from the ceiling, you can think of decorating each table. At a wedding reception, there are two kinds of table, each decorated slightly differently: the head table, and the guest’s tables.
The head table is where you’ll be sitting with your partner and a select number of guests, like the best man and the father of the bride. The head table is usually slightly more decorated to mark it out from the others. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Place Cards

Every occupied space at every table needs a place card. A place card is a small card, around the size of a business card, which has a guests name on it and will be placed in front of the seat in which your guest be sitting.
The place card can be personalised, both in its colour and its design. Flowers and flowery typefaces are common, but you can go with whatever matches your theme best.


Candles are great for setting the mood at a wedding reception. They add a classy air to your affair, and provide a nice warm light. They let you keep the regular lights at the venue low, which makes the reception more relaxed and intimate.
Before you go ahead and order enough candles to fill a cathedral with, talk to the venue. They may have their own candles that they’re willing to provide. Or, they may be uncomfortable with having more candles than usual as it’s a fire risk. So, talk to them first before plunging ahead.
Other than that, you’re free to design your big day however you want. Take inspiration from other weddings you’ve been to or seen, and talk with your partner to figure out what you’d both like.