The Ultimate Wedding Decor Checklist [Part 3 of 4]- How To Plan Your Wedding Decor (Wedding Reception)
If you’re looking for the ultimate wedding checklist that’s FREE, you’ve come to the right place! As a top retailer in wedding décor items, we know how overwhelming it can be to figure out what kind of décor you like, what you want to buy, where to buy it, how much to buy, and how to set it up at your venue. We’ve taken as much of the guesswork out of figuring out your wedding décor as possible by creating must-have lists for all of your wedding’s most important events.
Checkout our list of décor items for pre-wedding celebrations, as well as our wedding décor checklist printable for your ceremony. Then, keep reading below to learn all of the things you’ll need to create the stunning reception space of your dreams.
Tables and Place Settings
One of the first things brides and grooms start thinking about is reception table décor, and for good reason. Tables are likely to take up the bulk of your reception space, and guests are likely to spend a lot of their time sitting at tables, eating, and talking. With so much attention paid to the tables, you’ll want to make sure your décor is executed perfectly.
When beginning to consider which wedding checklist items to include on your list, you should start with the basics first. What kind of tables will you be using? What kind of chairs are available, or will you be bringing your own chairs?
Then, you need to consider place settings, which means considering things like:
Once you have all of that in place, you can start considering some of the extras. For example, you may want to display place cards with fancy place card holders, or you may want to do something clever with your table numbers. If you’re stuck with chairs you don’t love, you may want to consider chair covers or tie backs that match your décor.
Figuring out these essentials first is important because it allows you to make more informed decisions about your centerpieces so you don’t go over budget. Do you want grand floral arrangements or does your budget only allow for a few simple stems in bud vases? Maybe you don’t want to use flowers at all. You can use classic wedding items, like candles and lanterns, or you can get more creative with things like books, bird cages, wine bottles, and anything else your imagination can come up with!
Just make sure you consider the size of your wedding centerpieces very carefully. You don’t want towering floral arrangements to discourage the natural flow of conversation, or scattered items, like tealight candles, to get knocked over as guests are trying to eat.
Seating and Vignettes
Seating is provided to guests as long as you get your reception tables right, but many brides and grooms opt to provide their guests with even more choices. A wedding décor checklist that includes additional seating provides guests with a more comfortable place to talk after dinner, while vignettes can provide privacy and great opportunities for beautiful pictures.
Look for areas in your reception space where a couch and a few chairs could be placed, or get creative. For example, a boho wedding would look great with conversation areas that feature poufs, while barn weddings could utilize old benches and bales of hay.
Additional seating and vignette areas should include:
- Places to sit
- End and coffee tables
Furniture can be purchased from thrift stores, or you could even use furniture pieces from home. If you want to save some money, and you don’t want to have to worry about hauling furniture to your reception space, consider renting items. You can also ask the venue if they have any additional seating items you might be able to use that they already have on-site.
While you’re speaking with your venue about seating, ask them if there are other areas you may be able to utilize during your wedding reception. For example, you may be renting an indoor reception space, but you may discover that a patio area can also be utilized, which would be a great place for a quiet seating area.
Cake and Dessert Tables
There’s a lot to look at in a reception space, but the cake should be the star of the show. That means buying a stunning cake, but it also means getting all the décor pieces right. Make sure you have a cake stand, you’ve got a cake and knife set, and you’ve found the perfect cake topper.
You might want to include other things on the cake table too. Table cloths, confetti, and signs can be great ways to spruce up the cake table, as can a hanging backdrop.
You can always pile on more sweets! Some of the most stunning displays include overflowing piles of donuts, candy piled into apothecary jars, and towers of macarons.
Getting all the details ironed out can help your vendors a lot too. With a wedding checklist for your vendors, everyone from the cake baker to the person who’s setting up the table will know exactly what belongs on the table and where.
You can always rent a traditional photo booth, but photo booths at weddings can be anything you can imagine. All you have to do is set up a spot where guests will have fun taking pictures.
A backdrop is a must. Flower walls are stunning if you want to keep things classy, while tinsel is great for fun, festive spaces. Canvas and fabric can be set up quickly, while DIYers might love creating a backdrop out of old barn wood or pallets.
The more dimension you can add to your photo booth, the better. Include hanging chandeliers, floral arrangements, lighting, and seating. Consider fun elements like balloons, streamers, and empty picture frames, and make sure you remember to set out a few fun photo booth props!
Creating a wedding checklist for your photographer can make sure they set up the booth right, if it’s their job, but it can also help you make sure you get the shots you want. For example, you may want to add professional shots in your booth to the list of images you want your photographer to take before they leave your reception.
No wedding checklist for your reception is complete without dance floor décor! Start from the ground-up by choosing the perfect floor, if you’re having one installed. If you’re using what’s already there, designate the space by surrounding it with tables or chairs, or have a monogram or other image projected on the spot where you will be dancing the night away.
Although floor décor, like flower arrangements and signs, are perfect at the ceremony, next to the bar, at the entrance of your reception space, and on your cake table, they shouldn’t be placed near the dance floor. Although it might look very beautiful having a dance floor lined with roses and greenery, they will get trampled on and destroyed before the end of the night.
Instead, focus your attention above the dance floor and hang things from the ceiling. Floral chandeliers are stunning, as are traditional chandeliers. String lights can make an outdoor dance floor come alive, as can a cozy tent.
Items that may have once been considered cheesy can also look great above the dance floor. An arrangement of disco balls or paper lanterns are affordable and stunning, while clear balloons can make it appear as if bubbles are floating above the dance floor.
A beautiful reception space is often in the details, so make sure you add a few other things to buy to your wedding checklist that will make your space come alive.
A sweetheart table is a fun addition to a reception area. It can include luxe plates and glassware, like crystal champagne flutes, that aren’t included on guest tables, as well as elevated centerpieces, more comfortable chairs, and fun chair backs.
A gift table with a card box is a must, and you may want to consider an eye-catching display for wedding favors. If you have a lot of guests, you may want to create an escort card display so guests can find their seat easily, while kids tables can be decorated with games and crafts.
A photo display might also be a fun element to add to your décor.
Photos of the bride and groom can be displayed on tables, walls of old family images can create stunning backdrops, or a slideshow can be displayed as guests are shown to their seats.