80 of the Best Wedding Reception Essentials!

Feeling a little overwhelmed by wedding planning? You’re not alone! That’s why we’re here to help you break down the big decisions into much smaller, less scary steps. Today, we’re talking all things wedding reception, from decor to table plans, to help you work out what you need (and want!). Here goes!


  1. Table plan

Because let’s face it, if it takes that many hours to organise, it has to be essential.

2. Place cards

Having taken the time to get your seating plan just so, make sure your guests know exactly where they should be.

3. Table numbers

You could name your tables, but choosing numbers makes it super simple to signpost. Browse a pretty range of table numbers and holders to suit your theme here.

Continue reading below…

Table number decor ideas

4. Flavoured favours

Whether you’re creating a candy bar or gifting traditional sugared almonds, edible favours are always a winner.

5. Menus

Get guests talking and their mouths watering with the delicious dinner to come.

6. Table runners

Why not colour and fabric coordinate them with your theme? Try hessian for rustic wedding, rose gold for a trendy take and lace for timeless reception style.

7. Table linens and cloths

A staple at every reception, your venue will often include table cloths in your package, and if you’re looking for something to tie in with a theme, Wedding Ideas offer a sparkly selection here!

8. Vases

Another regular at receptions, vases are essential for displaying your fabulous flowers. You could opt for glass hurricane vases, mercury glass vases or even elegant urns.

Dainty Pink Glass Bud Vases The Wedding of my Dreams


9. Candelabra

Nothing evokes romance like softly flickering candlelight…

10. Log slices

Can you really have a rustic wedding without one? Find budget-friendly log slices here.

75 of the Best Wedding Reception Essentials!


11. Mirror plates

Perfect for giving your reception a touch of glam. Choose the right size and style mirror plate for your big day here.

75 of the Best Wedding Reception Essentials!foxleyphotography.com

12. Centrepieces

Whether it comes in the form of flowers, a tree or even a stack of old books, every reception table deserves a centrepiece. This is the perfect opportunity to enhance your theme, too!

13. Table confetti

A flurry of table confetti makes for a pretty finishing touch.

14. Candles

One of the most popular of all reception essentials, be sure to double check that your venue allows naked flame candles or invest in battery-operated candles for a similar glowing effect.

Want to take your candles to the next level? Invest in scented candles to fill your venue with a romantic scent that will forever remind you of your dream day. We recommend Victoria Cator’s exquisitely fragranced candles – try Casablanca for an irresistibly sweet lily scent!

75 essential wedding decor ideas...


15. Lanterns

Present your candles in lanterns for a fairytale feel.

16. Sparklers

Planning your own festive winter wedding? Check out Laura and Craig's country house big day, complete with amazing food, seasonal style and sparklers!


17. Manzanita trees

You probably didn’t know the name for these before you got engaged, but now manzanita trees are racing up your reception wishlist for affordable centrepieces.

18. Crystal candleholders

A no-brainer for bling-loving brides.

19. Flowers

Cascading down your cake, climbing around your candelabra or creating a dreamy top table backdrop, flowers are a must! On a budget? Silk flowers are the way to go and we’ve got a gorgeous range to show you.

20. Chiavari Chairs

The perfect seating choice for a romantic or rustic wedding, go for stained wood for real romantic warmth or limewash for a feel of fairytale and whimsy.

21. Chair decorations

Those adorable Mr & Mrs signs have to go somewhere, right?

75 of the Best Wedding Reception Essentials!

22. Bunting

Brilliant for barns, marquees and village hall weddings.

23. Honeycombs

Intermingle hanging honeycombs with strings of fairy lights for Pinterest-worthy effects.

24. Pom poms

Get the same effect as honeycombs, but with a more delicate, peony-like ruffled style (these pink pom poms are winners with us!).

25. Ribbon garlands

String one up as a skirt for your sweets table, or hang up ribbon garlands for a fun photobooth backdrop.

26. Welcome sign

75 of the Best Wedding Reception Essentials!


Cute and, if you’re crafty, pretty easy to DIY too!

27. Show stopping Cake Design

75 of the Best Wedding Reception Essentials!


Coordinate your cake with your theme and it can be an edible centrepiece in its own right!

28. Photobooth props

Giant glasses, moustaches and top hats at the ready!

29. Candy bar

Pretty up your pick and mix by presenting the sweets in decorative glassware and jars.

30. Instagram sign

Create a live feed of photos from your day!

31. Drinks station

Try pimp your Prosecco, gin bar goodness or couple’s cocktails for themes.

32. Faux Grass Table Runner

75 of the Best Wedding Reception Essentials!


This will bring a rustic vibe to any venue!

33. Balloons

Go for a confetti-filled version for twice the wedding fun!

34. Postbox

Practical and a pretty cool keepsake after the big day…

35. Cards basket

Ideal if you’re channeling a travel or vintage theme.

36. Frame heart Guest Book

Frame Guest book

A little bit of interactive fun, this guestbook gets everyone involved.

37. Table trivia

Take the pressure off your seating plan and add ice breakers to the tables, your family and friends will be socialising in no time.

38. Chalkboard

Ask your bridesmaid with the prettiest handwriting or learn calligraphy to DIY the dreamiest of chalkboard designs.

39. Calligraphy Signs

Calligraphy adds a romantic, classic element to every wedding.

40. Craft beer cart

Move over bath tub of beer, we’re getting sophisticated!

41. Fairy lights



Canopies of fairy lights can be a cost effective way to add the wow-factor in a flash.

42. Up-lighting 

75 of the Best Wedding Reception Essentials!


Be sure to coordinate the lighting to match or complement your core colour scheme.

43. Oversized letter lights

Use giant letters to zone areas and pretty up empty spaces, be that your dance floor or bar.

44. Illuminated dance floor

For a party that really pops!

45. Pimp your Prosecco stand

The garnishes may change, but our passion for Prosecco is here to stay!

46. Cookie bar

Guests of every age are going to love this affordable but delicious treat.

47. Blossom trees

75 of the Best Wedding Reception Essentials!


These decorations are great for adding height (read: wow-factor) and can easily be repositioned from your ceremony to your reception.

48. Disposible cameras

Let your guests get snap happy, then enjoy the hoard of happy photos after the day.

49. Lego favour boxes

Indulge your nostalgia with this quirky favour idea.

50. Martini glass flower arrangements

Tall and elegant, your florist or venue might have a stash of these iconic vases available to hire.

51. Just Married Sign

Today’s the only day you can use it, so why not?!

52. Floral chandeliers

75 of the Best Wedding Reception Essentials!


Architectural flower installations have taken the wedding scene by storm, adding bags of romance to rustic barns and modern marquees alike.

53. Decorative ladder

Fill it with your favourite trinkets or family photographs from weddings.

54. Confetti basket

This is best positioned by the exit to your ceremony room, so family and friends can collect confetti in perfect time for your iconic confetti photo.

55. Ceremony signs

Want your guests to pick a seat and not a side? Or maybe you’re going unplugged for the ceremony and want a fun but informal way to let people know? Simply read the signs!

56. Order of the day

75 of the Best Wedding Reception Essentials!


Happy guests are those who know when they’re going to eat, drink and dance next.

57. Photo wall

This can be as simple as pegging up some Polaroid pictures, sharing your memories and love story with family and friends.

58. Flower wall

Think these have to cost the world? Think again – just check out these faux flower wall panels and you’ll have a floral backdrop before you know it!

59. Garden games

Giant Jenga, croquet, chess… great fun for all ages and gentle on your budget, too.

60. Flower garlands

Tie them to the back of ceremony seats, suspend them from beams, entwine them around staircases…

61. Jigsaw Guestbook

Another fun touch to get your guests involved.

62. Wooden Crates

75 of the Best Wedding Reception Essentials!jessicaraphaelphotography.com

Wooden crates make beautiful rustic replacements for vases, with the benefit of being portable so they can move from ceremony to reception as you do.

63. Floral Canopy

75 of the Best Wedding Reception Essentials!claretamim.co.uk

Combine fairy lights, flowers and foliage for breathtakingly beautiful results.

64. Beaded Chargers

75 of the Best Wedding Reception Essentials!


Okay, so people will keep telling you not to obsess about the tiny details, but…

65. Dance floor Rules

There’s no excuse not to be up and dancing with a dance floor sign.

66. Wellington Boot Vases

75 of the Best Wedding Reception Essentials!andyhook.com

Easy for your florist to fill and perfect for a country theme.

67. Balloon Letters

75 of the Best Wedding Reception Essentials!


A budget-friendly backdrop can be all you need to transform your cake table into a decoration in its own right.

68. Origami backdrop

Pretty paper cranes, whether all white or multicoloured, make for a dreamy decoration. Enlist your craftiest bridesmaids to help with all the folding involved!

69. Advice Coasters

What nuggets of wisdom will your family and friends share?

70. Festoon Lighting

Strung up inside or out, there’s a nostalgic, funfair feel whenever festoon lighting is around.

71. Window Sill Pot Plants

75 of the Best Wedding Reception Essentials!georgiaclaireweddings.co.uk and velveteenphotography.co.uk

Quirky and super cute, there’s no last minute flower arranging required when you use blooms that are still growing!

72. Wishing Tree

Ask each guest to tie a thought or good wish to the tree, then read them and reminisce the next morning with your new spouse.

73. Creative Cake Toppers

Look for laser-cut designs that can be personalised, then get creative!

74. Giant Balloon

75 of the Best Wedding Reception Essentials!linaandtom.com

Whimsical props to make your couple’s portraits ultra pretty.

75. Building Blocks Guest book

Why not use your guest book as a way to surprise your guests? We’re pretty sure a building block book won’t be what they expect!

76. Wooden Name Initial Letters

75 of the Best Wedding Reception Essentials!claretamim.co.uk

You could buy plain letters and decorate with glitter, paper flowers or even chalkboard paint!

77. Mr & Mrs Game

75 of the Best Wedding Reception Essentials!alipaul.com

No one will ever call speeches boring again when a game of Mr & Mrs is on the cards!

78. Test Tube flowers

75 of the Best Wedding Reception Essentials!claretamim.co.uk

This trend might be tiny in scale, but it’s having a big impact on the wedding scene. If you want your big day to be trendy and a touch on the quirky side, you’ll love this way to present your flowers.

79. Confetti Cones

Worried your guests won’t remember to throw the confetti up and not at you? Confetti cones make nailing your confetti shot a breeze.

80. Flip flops basket

Everyone will be happy to rest their tired feet, so have flip flops ready to slip on and the party doesn’t have to stop.


Which reception essentials are top of your wedmin list?