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Inexpensive Yet Elegant Wedding Reception Decorating Ideas & Tips

Updated on April 15, 2017

Elegant Wedding Reception With Artificial Flowers

Full line of artificial flowers, plants, trees and arrangements for your wedding decor.
Full line of artificial flowers, plants, trees and arrangements for your wedding decor. | Source

Don't Forget the Details

When planning your wedding, don't forget that it's the details that can make an average wedding look spectacular. The reception is the most important since this will be the area that your guests will spend the most time in. You spend hours picking out flowers and décor for this part of your wedding, but most people forget about the perimeter around the reception area. If you're having a wedding planner decorate your reception area, ask them about the areas around the outside and interior of your reception.

If you want your wedding to be handsomely decorated without breaking the bank, consider doing these things:

  • Avoid Balloons: They look inherently cheap and typically don't have that "wow" factor.
  • Use Plants, Flowers, and Trees: If you can spring for real-live greenery, do. I recognize that living flora can get expensive, so if that's not within your means, there's a wonderful alternative! If live vegetation isn't within your budget, silk items are a great substitute (and more economically friendly) for the real thing.
  • Have Fun With Fabric: Fabric is a great, inexpensive way to cover large portions of spaces that need to be decorated. Throwing some twinkling lights behind them can make a sheer fabric really pop.

Avoid Balloons if at all Possible

Although balloons make a wedding look more festive, it reminds me of a birthday party. I have seen some special balloon displays that look halfway decent, but they have to be done right to look classy.
Although balloons make a wedding look more festive, it reminds me of a birthday party. I have seen some special balloon displays that look halfway decent, but they have to be done right to look classy.

1) Try to Stay Away From Balloons

The first rule to making your wedding reception area elegant and expensive-looking is to never, and I mean never, use balloons in your décor. Balloons will make your reception look "cheap" and people know that they are easy and inexpensive. I know if you're on a budget it may make sense; however, there are other ways to stay within your budget without using balloons to fill a space.

Artificial mixed with real plants and flowers make for a unique and classy setting. The picture above has tall glass vases topped with artificial moss and cymbidium orchids. Add some up lighting beneath each one and you have a dramatic look.
Artificial mixed with real plants and flowers make for a unique and classy setting. The picture above has tall glass vases topped with artificial moss and cymbidium orchids. Add some up lighting beneath each one and you have a dramatic look.

2) Use Live Foliage or Silk Substitutes

One way to avoid using balloons is to use flowers, plants, and trees to decorate your space. This will give your reception a look that is unique, and you can match the colors of the flowers to the theme. Now, some of you might think, "but I don't have the budget for this," and that is understandable. The best way to save money on décor like this is to use silk flowers and artificial trees decorated with twinkle lights. Starting with the silk trees, you can strategically place them around the outside area of the reception and decorate them with lights. This will give the area an elegant look and will help establish a romantic mood.

Silk flowers can be used as centerpieces on the tables, set in some inexpensive glass vases filled with a vase filler and submersible lights in order to make an elegant centerpiece without the cost of having a designer arrange real flowers. You can purchase pre-made floral arrangements without vases, and all you'll need to do is pop them in. You can use greenery on top of a column stand for each side of the head table to give it a dramatic look. A large fern in an inexpensive container is a good choice for the most dramatic effect, and it will likely set you back about half of what a live one would cost.

As simple as purchasing some transparent fabric from your local fabric store and adding some low voltage back lights to them allow you to create unlimited décor that will look elegant and expensive.
As simple as purchasing some transparent fabric from your local fabric store and adding some low voltage back lights to them allow you to create unlimited décor that will look elegant and expensive.

3) Fabric Is Your Friend

Another way to make your reception elegant is the use of fabric. Usually white is the best for the most dramatic look. Drape fabric on the wall behind the main table or from the ceiling. Start in one spot, and drape it evenly back toward the rear of the table, attaching it to the wall periodically. This will make it look like you've spent thousands on a wedding planner when in reality all you had to do is climb a ladder and hang some inexpensive fabric from the ceiling. Use some inexpensive fabric that is transparent (such as tulle), and hang it from ceiling to floor over the entrance to your reception. Then add some inexpensive, low voltage, white LED lights behind them for a dramatic look like you see in the picture above. Very easy to do, and yet very easy on your budget.

As you can see, if you just take a look around the internet and have a little creativity, you can create the look that will awe your guests without breaking your budget. After all, you don't want to start off your marriage in debt. Save that money for your honeymoon and your future.

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    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 3 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      Thanks for the advice! We were actually considering balloons! I'll scratch that one! We had planned on the twinkle lights, greenery, and fabric, so it looks like we are on the right track!

    • cyoung35 profile image
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      Chad Young 5 years ago from Corona, CA

      Thank you JC...I'm glad you enjoyed it.

    • profile image

      jc 5 years ago

      excellent post!