Dressing your reception venue

So you’ve got your venue, on a budget, but how can you decorate it without spending loads of extra money?

Venues such as town or community halls are often a cheaper venue than hiring a room in the local hotel or country house. However, the decor can sometimes be compared to a “grannies nightdress”!

So is it possible to make it a stylish area rather than shabby?

There are generally two ways to do this: do it yourself, or get someone in to do it. There are a lot of companies who specialise in this and although they aren’t the cheapest option (around £800 for the works including dance floor, lighting, centrepieces etc), they certainly do make your venue look amazing. You can also often just hire centrepieces from them which will obviously be considerably cheaper than hiring the £800 package. Many have a store of elaborate candelabras, vases and arrangements of silk flowers, which can be set up and arranged for you as part of the hire price.

Or, you could do it yourself!

No matter what your theme is, it can be pretty easy to do if you have a vision of what you are looking for, and a bit of creativity and elbow grease.

Sofas. It may sound strange, but for a reception venue, sofas can become extremely useful, and a focal point of the room. I’m not saying you should go out and buy a 3-piece suit especially for the occassion, but surf ebay, the freecycling sites and gumtree, for free or very cheap unwanted sofas. They may not be the prettiest things, but they can be easily jazzed up with a throw from primark and a couple of cushions in your colour scheme. This not only provides somewhere for your guests to sit (especially your older relatives), but also fills out rooms that may look slightly empty, despite tables and chairs!

Material. If the walls in your venue are, well, frankly gross, then long lengths of material can help to disguise them. Just draping lightweight material such as organza as you would pull a curtain back, will not cover the wall completely(as that’d be very expensive if you have a fair sized venue), but matched with some low lighting will disguise the ugly-ness behind. It also gives a softer look to the room and make it more feminine. You never have lights on full burst at a reception venue, as usually they are late afternoon/evening, so this will make the room look gorgeous!

Balloons. Some people love balloons at weddings, others hate them. They are not my personal favorite, but they are a good way of bringing different colours and textures into the room. Balloons in the corners of the room help to soften the room, and make it more intimate by making the room more circular. They are also quite a cheap option, you can pick up packs of balloons for less than a pound and a helium canister for less then £20 (remember to get helium balloons, not normal ones!!) . Obviously, large vases of flowers do the same job if put in the corners of the room.

Flowers. Speaking of flowers, bunches of these on the tables can add interest and also give off a lovely aroma! You don’t necessarily need to buy them fresh, silk or fabric ones can be picked up from local markets for pretty cheap – some are even already in arrangements which saves all the hassle!

Adding the personal touch. This is an area that is quite important to me, but can definitely be done on a budget. There are a lot of companies that can create personalised items for venue decoration, but one particular ebay seller has had very good reviews from previous brides and will be who I use to add a personal touch. Sbfertile is an ebay seller that can make large upright words (think Mr & Mrs..), which can be painted by yourself in what ever colour you wish. They charge 99p per letter which includes the base to stand it on – very good value!

Another seller that I have actually had personal communication with and have bought items from is Daisymoondesigns. She is a lovely lady who makes smaller lasercut words – perfect for sweet bars, or quirky labels for buffet foods. They are also perfect for the home! She can make virtually any design dream come true in any different sizesfor very reasonable prices – nothing is too much trouble so I’d definitely recommend her if you are looking to add the personal touch!

Photos. These are a lovely way to give the guests a reminder of whose wedding reception they are at! A popular idea if to have a line of cord or twine stretching from two points in the room, and using decorative pegs to pin pictures of the newly married couple from past events in their life together; holidays, meals out, perhaps even the proposal! Remember, Jessops has a 40 free print offer going – take advantage!!!!

Another quirky idea is to buy a cheap backdrop and tripod off ebay (or other) and set up a photo area for guests to have their photo taken. They can put their own camera on the tripod and take as many photos as they wish. You could even provide them with silly accessories such as cowboy hats or feather boas! Your wedding will definitely be remembered for being fun filled and a little different! Its also a cheap alternative to your photographer staying all evening and you having to shell out a few extra hundred pounds!

I hope some of these ideas I’ve suggested has made you realise that dressing up your reception venue doesn’t have to be super expensive! You can create a quirky and interesting feel to your evening, on a tight budget!

On a separate (but not that separate):

Just to let you know, any websites or sellers I mention I provide a link to on the right hand side of the home page so you can access the information for yourself. Just click on the name and it’ll take you straight to the site!

Lets get decorating!!

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