how-to-decorate-your-wedding-and-reception-venue-on-a-budgetSo your bridesmaids’ dresses and outfits for the boys are sorted, but what about your decorating your reception venue?

The style of wedding venue, your theme and your colour scheme all need to be considered here.However big – or small – your styling budget, work with rather than against your venue,” says Wedding Bible author Sarah Haywood. “Complement the core style and colour scheme – especially with your flowers and the cake. They need to look right in the venue and this should always be your styling starting point.”

One of a quickest and most cost-effective ways of co-ordinating your room is with chair covers. “We’ve seen lots of brides experimenting with bright colours this year,” says Steve Connell from Special Occasion Linen. “Selecting the right chair and table linen is a great way to showcase your colour theme across your reception, by either picking out your favourite accent colours or combining them to create a fabulous kaleidoscope effect.”

“We’ve seen lots of orders for Minty, Custard Cream and Bubblegum colours this year,” says Steve. “Bolder shades are particularly popular at the moment for many couples. Our brides and wedding planner customers have been predominantly inspired by royal colours in recent months – as a result of the royal wedding and the Jubilee. We’ve also seen brides asking for glamorous black and white, art deco-style ideas to recreate the Great Gatsby feel.”

“One of this year’s hottest trends is to use two different coloured organza sashes across a white chair cover, which we think looks fabulous. Take inspiration from your table centres; pick out a colour and match it with the napkins,” says Steve. “Also, think about fabrics. Use them to add texture, shimmer and sheer ‘wow’ factor to your room.”

Don’t blow the budget!

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But what other ways are there of decorating your venue without blowing the budget? “My top suggestion is to remember lighting, especially if your celebrations are going to continue well into the night,” says Corin Hall, Events Manager at Worton Park Weddings.  “Simple lanterns and tea lights create a magical effect for very little money.” Wedding planner Paula Rooney agrees:“For A-list glamour on a U-list budget, use paper lanterns to add colour and twinkling light to your venue inside and out. Hang them from the ceiling and trees around your venue to create a lovely mood for the evening.

Filling a whole wedding venue with flowers can be expensive but there are tricks you can employ if you want to make a big impact for little spend. “Less can most definitely be more when it comes to wedding flowers,” explains Charlotte Howard, Wedding Planner at Hayford and Rhodes. “A few large, simple designs in key focal areas are much more striking and cost-effective than lots of small, fussy arrangements. Double up and ask if the ceremony flowers can be transferred to your reception.”

Before you start any decorating though, it’s best to plan a recce to your venue, as real bride Andrea explains. “When visiting your venue, jot down anything that catches your eye when you are there. If you go when a wedding is being set up, look at the way they use the space. Think about what you like – and don’t like – and save on expensive mistakes!”

Real brides’ decorating tips

“Don’t think of a no-frills venue as dull – you’ll save you a bundle on hire fees and give you more scope to put your own stamp on the day. We transformed our local village hall by having a gorgeous village fete theme, complete with gingham table cloths, bunting and a hoopla stall!”
Bethany Marriot, Matlock

Hiring chair covers is worth every penny as they add polish and really lift a room. We also scattered oodles of pink sugar mice across our tables, which looked so pretty and saved us money by doubling up as favours.”
Elizabeth Mason, Lutterworth

We had a modest budget, so rather than ordering expensive floral displays, we dotted our reception with towering glass jars of waxy lemons, oranges and apples. Clusters of candles in storm lanterns also gave the entrance to our venue a glamorous feel.”
Katie Welding, Newcastle