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3 Do’s and Don’ts for Reception Decor

Lights, flowers, action! Your wedding decor, the most time consuming part of the wedding planning process, is about taking your theme and style and making these visions come to life. “Wedding decor begins with an ordinary place and takes you through the creative adventure resulting in an extraordinary wedding with enchanting, unforgettable surroundings,” says celebrity event planner David Tutera, also the author of The Big White Book of Weddings and host of WEtv’s My Fair Wedding: Unveiled.

“Decor brings your personality to life by enabling you to convey who you are and what experience you want your guests to have while with you,” he says. “And creating an atmosphere for your event is easier than you may think.”

Here’s David shares his top three do’s and don’ts when it comes to bringing your magical reception to life!

DO consider lighting
Lighting is such a key element when you’re throwing a party. It can add so much to the ambiance of a room and highlight or hide elements of your decor or venue as needed. In order of importance, light your entertainment, then dance floor and then tables. If you want to go beyond that and light the perimeter of the room, like the walls, the cake and the ceremony aisle and area—yes, go for it! Often lighting companies will throw in some special designs, possibly even your monogram in a light projected onto your dance floor or wall. Ask and see what ye shall receive!

DO add something special to the napkins
I like to place single orchid heads, rose heads, mini calla lilies or a succession of button mums on each folded napkin. Napkin rings or ribbon ties are a good final touch as well, along with creating sparkling napkins by adding iron-on crystals (which can be purchased at party and sewing supply stores) to the edges of each one.

DO trust your instincts
If you feel like your table is missing something, then it probably is. Try adding small details, like rose petals, strands of ribbon or small pieces of faux jewelry, such as rhinestones or pearls, to the table.

DON’T overdo the knick knacks
While some small items can look classy, too many small items look messy and get lost in the overall décor. Bring your theme or style in through colors, menu, sounds and statement decor instead. For example, combine florals with fruits or vegetables for a fresh and vibrant look. Grapes, asparagus, pomegranates, lemons, apples and pears work best. And cluster the produce for a bolder statement.

DON’T spend a fortune on linens
Work with the floor-length white or ivory linens your venue or caterers most likely have in stock. Make sure they are full length—meaning all the way to the floor. A table with too-short linens is like a bride with a too-short dress hem! And if you like, add decorative overlays to tie in your style.

DON’T have a fear of breaking decor tradition
Creative chairs—even mixing chair styles at different tables—or adding sofas or banquettes can be an interactive way to change things up. And don’t get trapped into thinking that your reception decor needs to match what your ceremony decor was. Some of the most fun weddings are those that take guests to different places throughout the evening. They will appreciate the change in pace, and you can have two party styles in one night!