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I need ideas on how to transform a church gym to an elegant yet inexpensive wedding reception.
Heather from Murray, KY
Balloons are a really cheap way to bring fun to a hall. Fill the balloon and let them hang from the walls and celling. Make "trees" with them and tie together and put on the dance floor. Weight them down with potted plants. Use balloon arch over the cake table. Table runners in your colors are a great way to add to any hall. Chair swags and bows are cheap to make too.
I think I would cover the things that make the room look gym-y. Balloon clusters and crepe paper could cover the basketball baskets. You could rent carpeting for the lines on the floor. Using dimmed lighting would cut the game-day glare. Live music, if you can find a harpist or pianist, would make the huge difference. How about a slide show of the bride and groom's early days playing against one wall?
I was in your shoes not to long ago! My reception hall had bad lighting and the floors needed refinished. I know it's hard to stay on a budget, but sometimes if you rent a couple of eye-catching items, it can draw everyone's attention and all you need to supplement are simple table decorations. I rented a backlit lattice for the cake table and lights in toulle that hung from the ceiling. That made the reception hall. All I put on the tables were cylinder vases with a floating candle and a candle ring at the bottom. I bought all of that at a $1 store. If the gym can't raise the basketball goals just hang a little toulle and borrow some Christmas lights and you will have an elegant looking cascade to frame the room.
I've seen some beautiful lighting indoors with the "icicle" lights people use at Christmas time. I dont' know if there are poles you can string them to, or not. Perhaps white miniature lights in artificial plants would work, too. All the best to you as you wed.
Use tobacco canvas that you can purchase at your local farm supply store. It is very inexpensive and can be a beautiful way to transform a large area like a gym. Use ivy and white Christmas lights with the canvas in a creative way and you will have a setting lovely enough for any formal gathering.
Cover a hula hoop in white satin ribbon. Then attach the lights all around the hoop. The hoop could be hung from wire, attached to whatever is available in the ceiling, like rafters. You lower it to the height you need. It's light weight and is big enough to give you lots of strands and/or strings of light. A halo effect. It'll be beautiful.
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Barb from Three Rivers, MI
Make a square out of the lights on the floor to make a dance floor. Cover wires with a white border. Get a couple sheets of white lattice and decorate with greenery with the lights all through it. Put the lattice behind the wedding table or the cake table. Decorate all the tables with it...There is endless possibilities..just have to use your imagination..Check out wedding books out of your library or decorating books. Good Luck and I hope this helps
Check out Oriental Trading's website...they have tons of wedding decorations REASONABLY priced...everything from arches to balloons to bubbles, table cloths, etc...you will get a ton of ideas by just looking at the website
By Lois D
You could wrap the lights with tulle or small netting, and drape it around the room. Or try renting an arch and decorate it with tulle and lights. Add silk flowers in the wedding colors.
For my son's December wedding, we used our Christmas tree in the gym. I believe it was decorated with white lights, a large ribbon bow (white, silver and gold with streamers) and silver & gold ornaments. It was beautiful! We also used tulle and twisted it with strands of white lights to use in the archway. (Tulle fabric is really inexpensive and it looks really pretty). We used silver and gold strands of beads to weave in and out of lots of things like flower arrangements, tulle, we randomly placed them on serving tables, etc. Like one of the other suggestions, we also used lattice panels painted white. We used greenery, lights and tulle and wove them randomly through the lattice slats. (Our gym walls were really ugly). We even had the table that the wedding cake was on in the gym under a small gazebo. Congratulations and Good Luck!
By Tammy in SC
I recently went to a large wedding and it was held in a ballroom. They took large tree branches and spray painted them white. Then wrapped the branches in lights. They placed them in all corners of the room. It was very pretty. Best wishes to the bride and groom.
How about using all those lights--I have no idea how many--to make a large lattice above the gym but below the ceiling, like a twinkling lowered ceiling. The tulle can be laid over it to make a ceiling, and bingo! no gym. When you rent chairs, get the ones that have gold backs. Most people don't notice table cloths or napkins, so get or make the least expensive ones you can. White ones look more formal, anyway.
By the Oracle
We did our own, and used some ivy garlands decorated with lights, and a few flowers tucked in. It looked nice.
We also used white helium balloons bunches, with a few of our wedding colors mixed in. We anchored them with ribbons to small sand filled vases, and added some flowers there. We also tied white bows around the vase neck, halfway up the ribbons, and at the base of the balloon bunch. We made them so the would float at about 6 ft. so it didn't interfere with close pictures, but showed up in longer shots.
You can vary the height with the ribbons, colors, and flowers to make nice effects. A 3-4 ft. height can be used to "wall off" areas, and create a wanted traffic pattern.
Center point of ceiling. Hang a huge hoop ring of wood. From their out, attach one end of string lights and take it to the end of its length and attach to small hoop or staple to ceiling if permitted. Strings of silk flowers or silver garland would be nice to entwine with lights. You will need high ladders and get the guys to do the hanging.
Good luck, and congratulations.
Thanks to all of you for the great suggestions! Does anyone have an idea for the back support of a lattice panel? How do you keep it from tipping over onto the cake table? I'm the mother of the bride, and the bride is in Sarajevo visiting her groom.
We held our daughter's reception in the Church gym. I took dry bush branches - spray painted them silver and white.(you can accent with your colors) they were put into the white buckets from Walmart bakery (frosting comes inside ) the buckets were filled with rocks and sand, then top layered with plaster on top to hold each trunk in place. I strung the tiny little lites threw each bush making a beautiful effect - we had a arch dressed w/tulleing and flowers from a dollar store.
Living in Northern MI, the branches were every where "free" . they can be made months in advance and dressed up the gym nicely- the arch we placed as a entrance on to a small dance area - from the eating area. When the lights are low and night comes the gym becomes filled with a wonderful twinkle glow.