Wedding Reception Decorations

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Wedding reception decorations convey the mood and atmosphere of your party celebration. Have you chosen a theme yet? Receptions have evolved over the years to being much more than a cake and punch affair. Both the bride and groom want their reception to reflect their personal tastes rather than a stamped "cookie cutter" affair.

Where to start?

Choose a Wedding Reception Location

Location, location, location. As in real estate, choosing where to hold your party has a lot to do with what you can accomplish creating a specific atmosphere or theme. Large hanging wedding reception decorations are awesome - but can it be accomplished in your hall?

Do you want to be inside or outside? Daytime or night time? Have a small, intimate party or a large lavish affair? Sometimes choosing the caterer will influence your choice of location, since many venues insist on using their in-house catering service.

Set a Budget for Decorating Costs

Ouch! That horrible word . . .budget. If you are lucky enough to have an unlimited budget, then the (wedding) world is waiting for you! But realistically, most couples want to have a beautiful reception - but not throw themselves into a huge debt over it. Set your budget first, then you can decide if a $500 ice sculpture is something you can live without and still have a gorgeous affair.

Line Up Volunteers to Help Decorate

If you are running a Do It Yourself show, don't feel alone. Despite what you see on television, not everyone can afford a huge staff of wedding planners, florists and venue decorations to take your ideas and create a lavish display.

But know that well-meaning friends have a way of offering their help . . . and then disappearing that day with sudden "important" tasks that prevent them from helping.

It's important to keep YOUR stress level down by creating a wedding plan of the projects that need to be done. By assigning specific tasks to specific people ("Mary - make the punch - here's the recipe and where the punch bowl and supplies are kept" "Bob - bring a ladder and you and Tom will string the lights about the wedding table, etc.).

Assigning specific tasks, organizing the decorating materials, and visualizing the tools needed will save a lot of confusion when your volunteers show up.

I think it is a very good idea to have someone (other than just you) be "in charge". Making sure this person knows exactly what you visualize transfers a lot of that stressful tension from your shoulders and onto someone you trust.

Organize Your Vendors

As a vendor who has worked and decorated many reception halls, I cannot stress the importance of letting your vendors know when you expect delivery, where the location is, and when the doors will be unlocked.

As a florist, I have had to wait outside a hall or church with flowers while someone makes several phone calls frantically trying to figure out who has the key to unlock it.

Make sure someone is there to unlock doors, direct them to the correct room, leave notes for each vendor on the tables they are to use, etc. It does not bode well for a bride trying to get dressed for her wedding to receive phone calls telling her of problem after problem. Anticipate before and your vendors can work smoothly behind the scenes, knowing exact addresses, times to deliver, and setup. Allow for plenty of time!!

Be Realistic About Your Decorations

If you visualize your wedding reception decorations to include a lavish hall with fabric swags glowing with lights . . .be practical. Anticipate and gather your supplies ahead of time. Creating a beautiful display of white lights is wonderful - but don't forget to check them ahead of time (trying to find a burned out bulb under pressure is nerve wracking), and bring plenty of extension cords, extra strings of lights, ladders, zip ties, etc. Making fourteen trips to the hardware store loses you a lot of decorating time.

I had one harried bride thrust an armload of fabric into my arms and said "Do something with this." Now being a professional vendor, I could design on the spot. Do this to one of your volunteers and you could endanger your friendship!! HAVE A PLAN AND BE SPECIFIC!

Don't buy in the months ahead one thing after another without a specific theme in mind. Shop deliberately and know what you plan to do with each purchase.

Plan the Setup Ahead of Time

If possible, visit your reception hall ahead of time. Take a camera and take pictures. Try to visualize how many wedding reception decorations you will need and where to place them. Count how many tables are available. Ask if were other receptions and if possible, get the names and numbers of the brides. Many can offer advise on what they did and what they would have changed if they could.

Take note of electrical outlets accessibility, the number of exits, possible areas for the food tables and how traffic patterns can be made. Be sure people have access in and out of their seating area and note that the food tables and bathrooms cannot be blocked. It is also against many fire ordinances to block fire exits.

Put Your Money where it is Seen the Most

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Wedding reception decorations provide that certain ambiance. A lovely arrangement on a table in an entrance hall is very nice, but remember your guests will be staring at the table centerpieces throughout the meal and the rest of the evening. Those arrangements and the decor of the bridal table is where most of the attention is going to be focused.

For ideas on more wedding reception decorations, check out some of my other pages for large arrangments , lights and skirting pictures , chair decor , and some great balloon advice. .

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