Ideas for Decorating Wedding Reception Tents
Get creative with this versatile space and create an atmosphere that reflects your personalities
By Suzie Faloon
A wedding reception tent gives you a large, blank canvas that can be decorated in a number of ways. Turn the space into an environment that reflects who you are. Since this is the first place that you will entertain guests on the day wedding, think about how you can make an impression as well as make them comfortable. A tent lends itself to any type of theme and decoration style so you have a variety of options to choose from in order to create the atmosphere you want for your reception.
Select a theme based on the things that you and your future spouse enjoy. A theme can be based on specific colors, a garden wedding, the beach, an era, a holiday, a movie, an ethnic background or the degree of formality you hope to convey. Order the type and size of tent that matches the size of your guest list. Don't unnecessarily exceed the price you have budgeted for the reception space. A tent rental can come fitted with windows, a clear roof or a fabric ceiling, which lends it a more formal look. Rentals can also include a wooden dance floor, carpeting and rugs to suit your needs, so instead of going for size, save yourself some room for these options as well.
Reserve tables, tablecloths, chairs and coverings as soon as possible after securing the tent rental. The tablecloth colors will form the base color for your theme. Look into the style of lighting you want to use. Remember: Post-holiday sales give you an opportunity to find strings of white lights at reduced prices. Thousands of white lights will produce a starry canopy -- a fantasy sensation for your guests. Torches with citronella will ward off any pests and give an at-the-beach feel to the exterior of the reception tent, while candles floating in table centerpieces will add soft interior light. Hand sparkling chandeliers or lanterns from the tent ceiling and silver candlesticks to each table for an elegant atmosphere.
Bring the outdoors in by hanging pots of cascading flowering plants. Consider a decorated, portable arch with greens, tulle, ribbon bows and flowers at the entrance. You could also place the arch over the cake table for a romantic display piece. Use a silver service for coffee and tea with china settings for the more elegant wedding. Design lush rose, lily or gardenia bouquets for the elegant guest table centerpieces. Tasteful, realistic silk flower garlands are easily spiraled around tent poles to change the look.
For a country or picnic atmosphere, roll red napkins or bandannas around good-quality plastic ware and place them in baskets for self-service at a buffet-style meal served on white plates. Make floral or fruit centerpieces in canning jars or wicker baskets to add to the rustic guest tables. Helium-filled balloons with curling ribbons in wedding colors can float above your guests for simple, colorful additions to the decor.
About the Author
Suzie Faloon is a floral designer and a freelance writer.
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Determine your centerpiece approach and start ordering. You can't go wrong with traditional floral arrangements. Candles are another option that's easy on the budget -- just group and light them. Don't be afraid of fruit either. Lemons in a tall vase make a lovely accent to a spring or summer wedding.
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A decorative element where fabric is draped to form a curve between two points. Often seen on the skirts of tables or as an effect to create the ceiling of a tent.View the Full Weddings Glossary