Thursday, March 8, 2012

5+02 Thursday Tips: Wedding Reception Edition* - 7 Ways to Spruce Up Your Site

Want to know a little secret? Weddings aren't just about getting married -- they're about showing off your style. Flowers are certainly the easiest and most dramatic way to perk up a room fast. Rule one: sweating the often overlooked small stuff -- a pathway, for example -- will make your site something special. It's big-ticket embellishments tied together with often inexpensive details that really put the sizzle into your space. Read on for more of our favorite reception decorating ideas.

Photo by Todd Pellowe via Todd Pellowe Blog

#1: Match the mood
First things first: Whether you're a city sophisticate or a laid-back beach bride, your site will influence most of your design decisions. If you haven't yet decided on a decorating scheme, look to elements of the room for cues. A historic mansion is perfect for an all-white wedding; a wood-walled ballroom calls for 1920s elegance. You get the idea.

#2: Make everyone look perfect
Carefully conceived lighting will brighten any room -- and give your party a dramatic glow. Hire a lighting designer to focus guests' attention where you want it (on the cake table, off an ugly dance floor). Trust us, it'll be worth it. Colored gels will alter the intensity of the light stream to create a softer, more natural look. Think Cameron Diaz looks that good under halogen lights?

#3: Furnish a spare space
An all-white, empty loft space may seem like the perfect blank canvas to work with, but keep in mind you're starting from scratch. So yeah, it's going to cost. Here's a hint: Hit up tradition and go for something borrowed. We know one bride who used antique furniture from the shop she works at to fill the space with historic flair. Look to a movie prop company for cool finds like mirrors, chaise lounges, and filled bookcases.

#4: Size up your tables
Peace-loving brides are turning to long banquet-style tables that evoke a more family-style feeling and lessen seating arrangement stress (a bit). If your room is more Marilyn than Twiggy, go for a mix of square and round tables in various sizes. Eclectic table arrangements allow you to seat groups of people much more easily because you're not stuck with 10 to a table.

#5: Liven up the loo

Give bathroom-bound groups something to talk about. The restrooms will need a little attention, but you don't have to go overboard. Think subtle sophistication: A centerpiece-evoking flower arrangement (like bunches of sweet-smelling lavender in small vases or wildflowers bundled in baskets), heart-shape soaps, or monogrammed hand towels will go a long way. Spruce up the women's stalls with antique perfume bottles filled with your favorite scent, or a fragrance reminiscent of your bouquet.

#6: Think outside the space
We're crazy for alfresco accoutrements like clothesline escort-card holders, mason jars filled with candles (collect them from garage sales throughout the year), hanging flower baskets, and 4-foot-high twig chandeliers. Here's how: Bundle about 10 large sticks per chandelier, bind them together with wire, and string tiny twinkle lights all around them -- you'll turn a traditional space into an enchanted forest.

#7: Make a good first impression
Impress your guests with a grand entrance. Floral wreaths on doors, colorful candles (votives are great) atop every table, hurricane lanterns hanging from trees, luminaries lining the walkways, and other beautiful embellishments will give guests a lovely welcome to your event.

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