Decorating a Wedding Reception

Next to the ceremony itself, the wedding reception is the next most important event of the day. Decorating the space used for this post-ceremony celebration is an important part of the planning process. This is a page about decorating a wedding reception.


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I just have to share my good luck at finding the right websites for a budget wedding reception! I am in charge of doing the reception for my budget minded friend, and I have only $200.00 and need to decorate 8 tables, plus 3 tables for cake, wed party, gifts, food, etc.

I have accomplished this task with the help of a thrift store, and these awesome websites. In fact, I am $20.00 under budget! Here are the websites:

I found everything I needed and the one even does a flat rate ship fee of $5.95!

She will have balloon arches, Hershey's Kisses tree centerpieces, a photo back drop, and more.

By Dede from Macon, MO

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January 30, 2005

And instead of a wedding shower or bachelorette party ask your family and friends to help you with decorating the establishment you choose. The day before just plan a 'party' and lunch. And most the time family and friends are great at donating for the occasion without being asked!


By Kat

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

January 20, 2011

I'm using a fire hall for my wedding reception. I'm having trouble trying to find an inexpensive way to cover 2 11 foot X 50 foot walls. I was thinking to use "S" hooks on the drop ceiling and attaching PVC piping to have it suspended and attaching tulle. I wanted to know how much tulle I would need to conceal the lockers and trophies since tulle is so sheer. Does anyone have any other suggestions on an inexpensive fabric or another inexpensive way to cover the walls?


By Danielle from Baltimore, MD


January 20, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

The last time I looked at tulle, which was a long time ago, it was somewhere between 40-60 inches wide, and then you would need the length from floor to ceiling, plus however many widths that you would need to cover 50 feet of wall. Tulle isn't that expensive, but it would be a lot of work, and more expense than I would want to go to. I wouldn't be sorry about covering the stuff.

My wedding reception was in an American Legion Hall and there was pictures of things from different wars, etc. on display and we didn't worry about covering them up. I think most people expect to see things like that unless the event is in a luxery type hall.

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January 21, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

As an event designer, I actually field this exact same question from a young lady who took my Wedding Chic on the Cheap class last fall.


Here is what I suggested. Tulle will be very labor intensive to get enough to cover, approximately 4-5 times the width. So, I would have a wooden frame made (it's very simple and really inexpensive) from 1x2 in 8-10 foot sections. This will make them light enough to install and can be easily moved in case of emergency. Make sure to have cross bracing in the corners. Then I suggested using Charmeuse fabric which you can by in bolt. Stretch the fabric across like a canvas. Then for more drama use uplights (floor spot lights) to add a glow.

You can use really any fabric. It will look great stretched or bunched. Don't be afraid to hang pictures, lanterns, flowers, wreaths, or set trees, pedestals or curly willow, etc in front of the fabric.

Another alternative is to create large painted canvas frames. It's a similar wooden structure as described above. The difference is you will use plywood (luan) to cover the frame. Then you can paint it or wallpaper it for a dramatic effect.


Pipe and draping can be rented from most rental companies for very little and offer colored fabric in lots of colors.

Don't be afraid to break up the wall in sections (like creating decorative panels in different colors or textures. This will make the wall a real feature.

A word of caution about the S hooks and PVC pipe as it may not be strong enough for some fabrics. The tulle would be okay or if you were using it to hang accent items, but be careful about the overall weight from other fabrics.

I hope this helps. You can always contact me with more questions. I wish you the best of luck in your planning and congratulations on your wedding.

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January 23, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

We recently had a reception in a fire hall that had a similar situation. We bought a roll of tablecloth from Oriental Trading along with a banner with their names and date on it. The wedding was in the fall so we picked up some fake leaves at the dollarstore. We taped the cloth up, just running the roll to the end of the glass trophey cases and then a second row at the bottom as it wasnt long enough.


We then decorated the tablecloth with the banner and leaves. The whole thing came out under $50 and everyone thought it was great! Most firemen take their gear out of the lockers and place with the trucks during events as they dont want to intrude on your big day by running in to gear up. Hope this helps!

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January 23, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

We used rolls of plastic tablecloth from a Party City store. It comes in a variey of colors in 40 in. by 100 ft. lengths. If you have any hooks near the ceiling you can stretch thin rope across the ceiling through the hooks and then put the rolled out tablecloth from the floor, up the wall and over the rope to the other side, and then back down the wall. You can make sure it stays in place on the ceiling by using small silver binder clips that you can get at Staples. We had the reception in a large gym.
Our guests who had not been ther before couldn't tell it was a gym. Tulle is more expensive than the tablecloth and more difficult to work with. I would use it to accent where you wanted to. Congratulations to both of you.

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Answer this Question...

My daughter is getting married in June 2005. We are having a simple reception (cake, punch, fruit/veggie trays, finger foods). We will be having the wedding/reception outdoors around noon (the time hasn't been set in stone as of this writing). The wedding will take place in a beautiful field.

My problem is I need suggestions on how to decorate the pavillions where the reception wil be held. I have suggested using tulle and fabric in her wedding colors (yellow/white) to drape the beams, even an ivy/flower combo. She is not very impressed with either idea. She has specific ideas about every aspect of this day except for the pavillion decor (She does, however know that she wants the tables to be dressed in white linen with a yellow/white gingham runner. She will also be setting the tables with simple daisy centerpieces)

I am running out of ideas and time. June will be here before I know it. I am open to and will appreciate any and all suggestions.



By Julie UK (Guest Post)
January 4, 20050 found this helpful

What about cutting daisy shapes (to match the colour scheme) from tissue, laminating them, punching holes in each, and then hanging them individually and in groups on different length strings from the beams? or around the walls? They will move in the breeze and look really effective.

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By Donna (Guest Post)
January 4, 20050 found this helpful

If the time ends up later in the day, white christmas lights looks beautiful. Friends of mine had done the pavillions with them along with the ivy/flower combo as well. They had yellow and white roses.

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January 4, 20050 found this helpful

I am having an outdoor picnic reception in June as well! We are making our own centerpieces out of wildflowers and using tin pails from the craft store as vases. Larger grocery stores can usually get inexpensive wholesale flowers as long as you give them enough time.

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By kelly (Guest Post)
January 5, 20050 found this helpful

Wild flowers in simple canning jars make beautiful decorations and can be hung using strong wire wrapped around the neck of a jar and the looped to make a handle. You can also do the same thing with canning jars and put a little sand a votive candle in. Would fit the feel of the wedding. I LOVE the daisy chain idea!! If you can find a nice enough looking fake daisy chain, you could use that around the pavilion also.

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January 7, 20050 found this helpful

You can use Christmas lights with the tool and even add flowers to it. We did a grape theme with way and it looked great as it grew dark the lights looked great.

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By Katie (Guest Post)
January 13, 20050 found this helpful

How about japanese lanterns blowing in the wind, to create a soft romantic light. Simplicity is the greatest key to an unforgettable and classic wedding. The tulle idea is great, you can incorporate it into the backings of the chairs as well. Everything should have a flowing movement. Floating daisies will work as well with floating candles. Just some thoughts...

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By Melissa H (Guest Post)
January 17, 20050 found this helpful

You're at an outdoor pavilion, there is no need for anything decorating the pavilion poles because of the beautiful surroundings. The tables are covered with white flowing linen table cloths and the chairs may even be covered with white linen slip covers. The center piece on each table would be a tall slender vase , at least two feet tall, filled with an asortment of white daiseys and greenery. to add a little yellow I have seen some lemons thinly sliced lineing the inside of the vase with whole lemons inside to hold it all together. Of course there is water too . Look into some arangements with whole and sliced fruit with flowers , what a refreshing and summery look.

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By Stephanie (Guest Post)
February 7, 20050 found this helpful

I am also have an outdoor reception at a pavilion and my colors are Butter and white. Can you tell me where you found the Gingham table runners? I wanted plaid incorperated into my day b/c we are doing picnic style. Thanks for any help

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By Amy (Guest Post)
February 21, 20050 found this helpful

Stephanie, we are making the table runners. I have had no luck finding any so we just did it this way. You can buy the material almost anywhere, and get get 3 out of 2 1/2 yards by cutting the material in length 3x!! (this would be for 6ft tables of course) Good luck!!

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By Misty (Guest Post)
March 7, 20050 found this helpful

You could paint terra cotta pots white, or any other color, and tie with a pretty yellow ribbon. Place a styrofoam ball, cut in half with the flat side up, and hot glue into place inside of pot, then place a white candle in a votive cup in the center and surround with moss. Around the entire outside lip of the pot attach faux daisies. This is so pretty and delicate as a centerpiece. Also, with some florists tape, tape a pen from the bottom up. At the top of the pen place a faux daisy then place the pens inside of a glass vase filled with colored sand. Place small notecards with a daisy theme in a basket on each table. Ask your guests to use the daisy pens and notecards to write something to inspire the newlyweds.

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March 12, 20050 found this helpful

Something to think about, and I'm sure it will be very pretty. I am also having an outdoor wedding, but my reception will be held indoors... think of this... It's june... prime season for bugs, and with food out, it's hard to keep everything preseved nice. Also, with the heat (depending on your area) the icing on the cake may have a hard time holding up too. As for the outdoor pavillion, it sounds wonderfully amazing by itself, I would leave the decoration thing alone, plus it will save you money. A nice touch though may be balloons.. yellow ands white, mainly around the poles and near each end of the tables... Bubbles also add a nice touch... think about getting some bubble machines and decorating them in yellow and white and having them blow bubbles all throughout the reception.. happy hunting and good luck!

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By Leona (Guest Post)
March 24, 20050 found this helpful

You can save alot of money by buying glass votives or vases fill them 1/4 the way up w/ colored fish tank gravel push in some tea light candle and put a few daisies around the tealight. Buy some miniture hershey candy bars at your local grocer. Make your own personalized wrappers on your computer the best way is using your lable program. Go to your local walmart and buy tulle it is only a dollar a yard.

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June 10, 2004

I have another wedding question. Any ideas for outdoor wedding decorations, tablecloths and centerpieces? White and pink are the colors and I don't want them to blow away.




By Robin (Guest Post)
June 10, 20040 found this helpful

Glue Gun..........Floral wire

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June 10, 20040 found this helpful

Different craft stores have the tablecloth clips, I think some have ones with white flowers or doves. A trellis done up with white flowers, ivy and tulle are always a hit with outdoor weddings. Ivy and tulle can be put anywhere and it looks nice. If you go with the trellis idea use a glue gun.

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By Tanya (Guest Post)
June 13, 20040 found this helpful

I am also having an outdoor reception under a pavilion. You could get the plastic table clothes for a party store or dollar store. Get white and pink colours.You can adhere them to the tables underneath with masking tape. Then on the top you can get floating candle bowls, They have 10 for 30 dollars on EBAY, buy the floating candles, you can find them very affordable on EBAY, or if you use Froogle to compare prices. That can be your centerpieces. Then get clear votive candles holders with pink and white candles inside. Also buy silk rose petals, in pink and white and sprinkle them all over the table.

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By Barbara (Guest Post)
July 12, 20040 found this helpful

An idea "I" had for my dd's wedding (she didn't like the idea)....was a 'rustic, or country' look, i.e. quilts draped over the fence, flower pots on barrels, small lanterns as centerpieces, serged calico table toppers on top of white tablecloths, flower bags hung from fence posts.

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January 13, 2006

I'm looking for a cheap way to decorate my hall and tables. Does anyone have any ideas for decorations and a center peice to go on the middle of the tables?

Stacey From Staines Middlesex

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August 8, 2011

I am stuck on decorating my garage for a wedding ceremony and reception, since it is suppose to rain and outside is out of question. How do I decorate an empty garage for a wedding ceremony and reception for 20 people? My theme colour is all blue colours.

By Patricia D.

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June 10, 2010

My wedding theme is the perfect pair "pear" wedding. I am trying to get cheap ideas for wedding decoration for the tables and the hall all together. Does anybody have any decorating ideas?

By camilee pusey

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January 21, 2011

I am having a wedding reception at our home in July. We have a pool and a large yard off to the side and will rent a tent, etc. I would like some ideas of decorating the tent and around the pool area, maybe something for in the pool to float. No color has been selected yet, but I can go anyway with that.

By mary lou Hamilton from Harrisburg, PA

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November 11, 2014

Who is responsible for decorating the reception area? If it's me, how do I do it?
My daughter is getting married 450 miles away from home.

By Kathy

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June 24, 2016

My daughter's wedding reception will be in a church activity center that has exposed steel beams in the walls for a total of 6 - 8 beams. How can I disguise them? Thank you for your input/advice.

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February 8, 2013

My wedding colors are yellow and pink and the walls of the venue are blue and white. How can I cover that on a tight budget? Help!

By Erika

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November 7, 2019

Weddings can be very expensive. One place you can, not only save money but also, exhibit your creativity and personal taste is by making your own table toppers for the reception. This page contains steps and photos you will need to make a table topper or get ideas for your own version.

Wedding Reception Table Topper

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February 20, 2017

Frequently certain venues used for a wedding reception have other purposes and are decorated for those daily functions. This is a page about covering up hall decorations for a wedding reception.

Wedding Reception

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April 27, 2016

This is a page about decorating a barn for a wedding reception. With the right decorations an old barn can become a unique and charming venue for your wedding reception.

A barn decorated for a wedding reception.

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

June 10, 2010

I am having a hard time deciding what to do about chairs for my reception. How or what do I use to decorate them? I would want a different wedding. Any ideas as to what would make it different?

I'm stressing out because my wedding is going be in a green farm field with hay stacks and grass and wheat, but I also want all kinds of tulips and roses. Is that wrong or what?

By tasha from GA/WV/IA


Wedding Reception Decoration Ideas

Honey who cares what you want as decorations for your wedding. It is you and hubby's special day. If you want to; drape the chairs with some sort of fabric and ribbon and tie your either real or dried tulips or roses to the chairs. You could go with some kind of fabric that has both. (09/17/2009)

By Barbara Snyder

Wedding Reception Decoration Ideas

Your idea seems reasonable to me, even though tulips may be a little out of season if you want fresh. Silk tulips are gorgeous, though.
One thing that made my daughter's August 22 2009 wedding unique was this: On each table, they placed bowls filled with scrolls tied with small ribbons. On each scroll was printed an origami pattern and directions. Creating their own origami kept the guests entertained, and the ones who wanted to take their creations home, had a completely unique wedding favor. (09/17/2009)

By Lelia Jo Cordell

Wedding Reception Decoration Ideas

Ask friends if they have fabric or buy cheap organza
drape it into a bow on chair backs or colourful paper. (09/24/2009)

By Dorothy

Wedding Reception Decoration Ideas

Chair covers are a great idea with a bow wrapped around them. Also, just a little thing I picked up from another site, If you have flowers as center pieces on the table, if you use a colorant to color the water they sit in, you can color coordinate the water to your wedding theme. Just an idea! They also have some fabulous other ideas that may help. (10/06/2009)

By lianne

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September 15, 2009

My daughter is getting married on July 4. Her reception is on the balcony of a restaurant overlooking the Gulf. The table chairs are wrought iron. Do you have any ideas for decorating for the reception?

Sally from Mobile, AL


Wedding Reception Decoration Ideas

I'm wondering how you're going to deal with the windy conditions outside. Tablecloths will need to be clipped in place, weights for light items. (03/20/2009)

By Kim Churchman

Wedding Reception Decoration Ideas

Since it's the 4th of July I would suggest red, white and blue theme, or beach theme for the gulf scenery. It depends on the wedding colors also. My son's wedding last May was beach themed and we bought colored plates at a $1 store, and some tables, got one with colored sand or colored coarse salt on it to look like sand with a pillar candle in the middle and shells around it. Some tables got round glass bowls with blue water and shells with seashell floating candles, or flowered ones with flowers floating also.

We also had fishing nets cut to lay across the table a little and sand dollars at each place setting with a card telling about sand dollars. We had salt water taffy as a favor in little boxes my sister made with her cricket but, little bags work well too. Hope this helps some. (03/22/2009)

By Melodie Dearolf

Wedding Reception Decoration Ideas

A nice looking centerpiece can be made with glass globe-type bowls, putting sand or glass "rocks" in the bottom and adding a votive candle (either inside a glass votive holder or not). The bowls and votives can be purchased at a craft store or dollar store. (04/14/2009)

By Lori

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