Lighting your wedding reception

Even the most beautiful wedding scheme can be ruined by the wrong lighting; especially harsh white or wedding lighting yellow overhead lights. If you are getting married during the day, the lights at your venue might be the last thing you check, but if it’s an overcast day or your reception is carrying on into the evening, you will need to pay attention to the lighting options on offer at your venue.

If you aren’t totally happy with the lights provided, or you just want to add a new dimension to your wedding decorations, here are some popular ideas for lighting your wedding reception.

Modern Lighting Ideas

Coloured mood lighting is currently in vogue, and works especially well for those hiring a modern, minimalist venue decorated with a neutral colour scheme. The idea is to light your whole venue in one colour, and then change the colour to reflect the various stages of the wedding. You could choose warm orange for the drinks reception, calming green for dinner, vibrant red for the cake cutting, and velvety purple for the dancing.

Another modern lighting concept for contemporary weddings is to light the tables from within. Simple white lights are placed under the tables, and coloured cloths are used to alter the light, or coloured lamps can be used with white cloths. If you don’t want all your tables to light up, simply use cocktail tables with lights installed for your drinks reception.

Vintage Lighting Ideas

For true vintage glamour nothing beats glass chandeliers suspended above the tables. Check with your venue whether you are allowed to temporarily install these and if your venue isn’t that large limit yourself to one chandelier in the centre of the room or above the top table.

Depending on the decade you are aiming for, you can pick up vintage lamps to reflect your theme. Lava lamps or rotaflex lampshades can give a 1960s feel, while those looking for 1970s lighting could pick up orange, yellow, and brown lamp shades in a range of geometric patterns.

Romantic Lighting Idea

Nothing adds romance to the atmosphere like the soft glow of a candle flame, and many brides choose these as a simple and low budget way to light their reception venue.

Candles can be used as stand alone table centres when grouped together in a variety of colours or shapes, or when placed in storm lanterns. They can also be wired into floral arrangements or floated on water. Using scented candles can add fragrance to your reception venue as well as providing light.

Outdoor Lighting Ideas

Lighting is essential for an outdoor wedding that will go on into the evening, and outdoor lighting can be really effective way of decorating your venue. Citronella candles will have the added benefit of keeping the bugs away, and they can be placed in hanging lanterns so that the wind doesn’t blow them out. Flaming torches on long poles can add a dramatic edge to your wedding theme, and look great at the entrance to your venue.

Your venue may not allow open flames, especially in mid summer if there are a lot of trees in the area. Outdoor fairly lights can be equally as charming, especially if they are artfully placed in trees and bushes. Use fairy lights to highlight any particular features of your venue, such as an archway.

Wedding decoration ideas

Everyone knows that they should decorate the dining tables for the wedding reception and that there should be flowers and candles for the ceremony, but how about all those other places your guests will be spending time during your wedding day? There are plenty of wedding decoration ideas for other parts of your venue. –

Make an impression with the entrance

The entrance to your venue will be the first thing your guests see, and it will make a statement about what they can expect from the rest of your wedding. Be big and bold in your entrance decorations. Use some form of lighting, whether that is dramatic flaming torches, romantic hanging lanterns, or cute fairy lights. Use potted plants or trees on either side of the entrance and add some flowers or coloured posters inside the hallway to continue the great impression.

Jazz up the bar

The chances are your guests will spend a fair amount of time in the bar so you will want to make it as attractive as possible. If the space is a little empty try hiring an old fashioned juke box, a photo booth, or any other objects that will provide interest and entertainment, and complement your theme. Make sure there is some comfortable seating in the bar for guests to relax on. Flower arrangements can work well in the bar, just make sure they don’t get in the way of the bar staff. Look for garlands or streamers that can be kept out of the way.

Check out the ceiling

If the ceiling of your venue isn’t very attractive, or it’s very high and you’d like to make the atmosphere cosier, there are various things you could try. Draping fabric across the ceiling isn’t as hard as it sounds, or you could add paper lanterns, hanging bird cages, or even hired chandeliers. Suspended flower arrangements or branch canopies can create a natural effect.

Bring the rooms together

If your wedding will take place over a number of rooms make sure the corridors or walkways that join these areas continue your wedding theme. Simple potted plants and wall posters may be enough, but if your guests are likely to get lost you could consider making some fun signs, using your wedding style and colour scheme, to make sure they know where they are headed.

Cherish your chairs

Chairs might not seem like the most important aspect of your wedding venue, but they can make a real difference to your overall look. If you’re not keen on the chairs the venue provides you may be able to find covers with decorative sashes that will match your theme. If that doesn’t work simply ask your venue to pack the chairs away and hire some that you do like. Wrought iron, or cute white wood are both popular styles of wedding chair, although your guests might need something a little more comfortable if you are planning a long wedding breakfast.

Beautify the bathroom

While your male guests are unlikely to care, the girls at your wedding will be really touched if you make a feature of the ladies bathroom. Add some scented soaps in a similar fragrance to your wedding perfume, some pretty hand lotions, and some soft fluffy guest towels, as well as a couple of miniature flower arrangements.

Add atmospheric lighting

Many couples view their wedding venues on a sunny summer day and forget to check out what the lighting is like. Atmospheric lighting can make all the difference to an indoor winter or evening wedding, so if your venue only has harsh bright lights look out for lamps, candles, fairly lights and starlit backdrops. You can also light your flower arrangements with votive candles, or with LED lit coloured gel in glass vases.

Wedding decorating ideas

If you’re trying to conjure up some original wedding decorating ideas but are stuck for inspiration, these contemporary wedding decoration tips should get the ideas flowing

If you want tall dramatic centrepieces, but still want your guests to be able to see each other, look for tall candelabras and just have a single flowered garland twisted around the stem. Alternatively have flowers arranged in giant martini glasses so guests can chat underneath them. Finally you could choose low arrangements for the tables and just have a couple of towering arrangements in the corners of the room, or either side of the top table.

Place mirrors strategically around your reception venue to maximize your decorations and make your venue appear larger. This works especially well if you have a lot of colour and are using lights, candles, or sparkly accessories such as crystals.

Make a decorative feature of the food you serve by paying attention to what it looks like and what it is served on. Choose colour co-ordinated canap?s and have them stacked on cakes stand style plates, or served on glass boxes full of rose petals or coloured pebbles. Combine large platters with tall food stands to create an impressive display.

To take your wedding colour scheme to extremes you could stipulate a coloured dress code for your guests. Black and white is a popular choice as you can guarantee your guests won’t clash with whatever colours you have chosen. You could also try dress codes such as ‘something blue’ or ‘autumn leaves’.

For simple yet effective floral centrepieces, place a bunch of roses in a vase and scatter similar coloured rose petals on the table beneath. Use low square arrangements for the dining tables and taller vases for other areas such as the bar.

Feathers are becoming a popular alternative to flowers in wedding decorations as they are soft and feminine, yet more modern and edgy than flowers. Feathers can be incorporated into your bouquet, table arrangements, and hair accessories, and can also be attached to place names or escort cards. Hang a feathered circle from the ceiling instead of a chandelier.

Coloured glass is rarely used in wedding decorations, but it can create a stunning effect whist serving a practical purpose at the same time. Look out for coloured champagne and wine glasses, and coloured vases for your flower arrangements. Place a small coloured glass with a tea light inside in each place setting for a romantic glow.

If you want to add character to your wedding venue, consider hiring or borrowing a few pieces of furniture that reflect your wedding decoration theme. These could be a few vintage tables for the bar area, or a couple of modern sofas for the lounge. You don’t have to change all of the furniture at the venue; just a few well placed pieces will give the right impression.

Accessorising your chairs is often seen as too fussy, but unless you have chair covers, the backs of chairs are crying out to be decorated. Simply attaching an ornament such as a fabric flower or butterfly on wire can be effective, or you could add ribbons in your wedding colours.

Wedding trees are an unusual choice for wedding decorations, and are made by bundling together a number of thin branches or twigs and placing them in a decorative vase. These trees can be used on the floor or as table centres and can be decorated with fairly lights, sparkling ornaments, baubles, or tiny framed photos.

Wedding decorations the latest trends

There are so many options when it comes to wedding decorations that it is often hard to know where to begin. You want your wedding venue to bring a tear to your eye when you arrive, and to really make a statement about your taste and style as a couple

To a certain extent, the possibilities for wedding decorations will be determined by your choice of venue, the number of guests and the space available, and whether you are having a lunchtime or evening wedding.

It may be that you want to employ a wedding decorator who will be able to provide all the decorations you need from the table linen to the centrepieces. On the other hand, you may want to work with the venue on the basic layout and table dressing, and then add personal touches of your own, working with your florist.

However you choose to arrange your wedding decorations, there are a number of trends you should be aware of if you want to keep your reception up to date and contemporary.

What colour schemes are currently in style for wedding decorations?

Whilst the traditional white has been noticeably absent for the last few years, it is now making a comeback as the perfect colour for your wedding decorations. Imagine tall gleaming vases of fresh white orchids, and you should be on the right track. White is being teamed with earthy tones such as metallic rose to provide depth and texture.

If you prefer the traditional wedding colours of cream and pale pink, these are still popular, but are often combined with silver grey or sage green for a more contemporary look.

Bold patterns and textures are currently very fashionable, especially when it comes to wedding table linen. Layering table cloths of different fabrics and using bright runners to add a splash of colour can be very effective.

Trends in wedding centrepieces

There are two popular trends in wedding centre pieces at the moment. One is to keep it simple, with tall stemmed single flowers arranged in groups, or across the length of the table. As well as a recent design trend, this is also a cost effective alternative to large arrangements.

The other trend is for large, lavish centrepieces, incorporating flowers, candles, and even feathers. Many wedding decorators are taking the philosophy ‘the bigger the better’ when it comes to table arrangements. Because of this trend, some wedding designers are looking to suspend centrepieces from the ceiling rather than place them on the table as this allows guests to talk to each other across the table without towering flower arrangements getting in the way.

Decorating the ceiling as well as the table doesn’t just stop at flowers. Many decorators are becoming creative with the use of coloured paper lanterns, pearlescent balloon canopies, delicate chandeliers, and natural touches such as trailing ivy.

Lighting can make or break your design

Whilst lighting may have little impact at a lunchtime wedding, it can completely alter the ambience of an evening occasion. Make sure you set aside some of your wedding decorations budget for professional lighting to really make the most of your flowers and other decorations. Lighting can be as simple as candles or lanterns, and as complex as professional light boxes, spotlights or fairly lights.

Plan ahead and confirm your arrangements

Meeting with your wedding decorators or florist to discuss your ideas should take place six to eight months before your wedding date to allow time to coordinate all aspects of your design. Call both the venue and decorators to confirm details the week before your wedding; you don’t want your dream venue to be ruined by a little misunderstanding.