When it comes to selecting a space for your reception, there are really two main types of wedding reception venues.
Brides can spend a more significant portion of her budget renting a beautiful venue, such as an elegant ballroom, a scenic outdoor spot or a modern loft location. Other brides will book a gym or church fellowship hall for a much more conservative rental fee.
Brides might choose the latter for a couple reasons, including wanting to avoid the rental fee sticker shock that accompany some venues or to promote convenience by having the reception at the same location as the ceremony.
But let’s face it, while the rental fee may be significantly lower, decorating a large, open and empty space can wrack up a pretty large bill.
However…where there is a will, there is a way!
Of course, brides can still decorate this venue type without breaking the bank. So, I spoke with Debbie Sumner with Nashville wedding rental company Events Plus to find out exactly what steps brides can take to decorate a bare space on a budget and still have her dream reception space.
1. Establish a budget for your wedding decor.
Really, before a bride can do anything in terms of wedding planning, a budget should be established. But beyond that, brides should divide up the budget so that she knows exactly how much she can spend on each element. Debbie says this is important for decorating your space so that you can keep your expectations in check.
“It is hard to know how to allocate your money if you don’t know how much money you have. Make it realistic and not impossible, so you won’t disappoint yourself as you try to plan the ‘look’. Keep your guest count low – especially if your budget is low!”
2. Determine a theme for your big day.
Most likely, you will carry over the same theme for your ceremony into your reception. As Debbie suggests, it is important to have a vision of what you want for your space. Once you have your vision, you can then use that and your budget to determine how best to make it happen.
“It helps if you determine the look you are striving to accomplish and what items are needed to carry out that look. That will give you a direction to pursue.”
3. Decide on a focal point at your wedding reception.
In a well-decorated reception, brides will use specific decorating techniques in order to draw her guests’ attention to her intended focal points. By determining where you want your guests to focus, Debbie says brides can then emphasize those areas using larger portions of their budget, saving money on less important areas.
“This is the location you want to put the most emphasis on, whether you want the head table, buffet, dance floor, cake area or bride and groom’s area to be what the guests see most when they enter the room. Since we are in the draping business, we have done simple draping canopies over the dance floor with up-lights at the four posts (this is not an expensive item, but draws the most attention as you enter the room). Backdrops behind a head table with up-lighting will also draw your attention. A simple item like a drape swag over the cake or an arbor places the emphasis where you want the eye to go.”
4. Eliminate unnecessary space and light at your wedding venue.
Many times, gyms or church fellowship halls can appear extremely bare. While the high ceilings and openness are great, it often seems daunting to decorate the entire space. So, Debbie suggests eliminating some of the unnecessary space and light with strategic draping.
“Try to cut out the outside light by using black poster board or material. The use of inexpensive candles on the tables will set a totally different atmosphere for the room. Wherever drapery with lighting is placed is where the eye is drawn. You do not necessarily have to drape the entire room. The entry way into the gym could be dressed up with some plants or a swag of drapery, or some item that carries out your theme. If it is rustic, lanterns with candles can be used on the tables. If you are going vintage, burlap can be cut to make a center overlay for the tables and mason jars gathered from your friends with a lace trim and candles inside.”
Events Plus would love to help transform your reception venue!
Images courtesy of Events Plus’ Facebook page and website.