Setting the stage
By Tresa Erickson
After months of wedding planning, you’re finally in the home stretch. You’ve selected your wedding party, chosen attire, found a venue, lined up all of the right professionals and more. Now you’re working on the decorations for your reception, and boy, could you use some help. Here are some ideas.
When it comes to reception decor, almost anything goes. You can coordinate everything for a harmonious look, or you can mix and match items to create more visual interest.
Depending upon the venue, you may already have a basic setup in place. If you have rented a banquet hall, for example, the table and chairs may already be in place and you will have to work with what you have. If you are renting tables and chairs, you don’t have to go with the traditional round tables. You can use square or rectangular tables or mix shapes and sizes. If you wish, you can disband with the traditional head table and seat yourself and the groom at your own table near the front.
Once you have the seating arrangements worked out, you can start thinking about decorating them. If the finish on the tables is nice, you can leave them as is. If not, you can cover them with crisp white linens for a traditional feel, or you can mix it up and use linens in the same shade as your wedding colors. To create further interest, you might want to select varying shades of your wedding colors for your linens and layer them. You could even use beaded or embroidered linens with sheer overlays. While you’re at it, don’t forget the chairs. Common decorations for chairs include fabric overlays, floral swags and ribbons.
With the tables and chairs in place, you can work on the centerpieces. These can run the gamut from floral arrangements to candles.
Many a bride has used a variety of pillar, taper and floating candles to dress up her reception tables. Strew some artificial rose petals or confections across the table, and voila, you have created instant drama and romance.
Centerpieces can also serve as favors. Cut flowers in breakaway vases, for example, make great centerpieces that guests can take home.
Want to add a splash of color to your reception tables and ensure your guests sweet dreams? Create a candy buffet centerpiece for each of your tables. Select a variety of sweet treats, place them in glass containers with silver spoons, put a few of the containers in the center of each table and provide small boxes or bags for guests to fill up before they go home.
Depending upon what you are serving, you may need to set the tables. As with the linens, you can go with the traditional white tableware, or you can mix it up and use colored plates and glasses in various sizes and shapes.
You will also want to decorate the rest of the room, including the cake table, gift table and any other surfaces. Candles and lanterns work well for windowsills leading into the reception venue. Floral garlands or artificial ivy interspersed with white lights make great choices for banisters and windows. Balloons are another popular choice. Some brides personalize their decorations, placing wedding portraits of family members around the room, along with childhood photos of themselves and the groom.
The decorations you choose for your reception can be as traditional or non-traditional as you wish. You can stick to the old tried and true, or you can break out of the box. The choice is yours, and you will find hundreds of books, magazines and online articles to inspire you.