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How to Decorate Your Wedding Like a Pro in 7 Easy Steps

How to Decorate Your Wedding like A Professional - 7 Easy StepsBeautiful decorations add style, fun and drama to your wedding day. It's no secret that ceremonies and receptions take place just about anywhere these days including boats, mansions, backyards, marinas, gardens, parks, zoos, barns, restaurants, scenic locations, and churches, etc. Every location provides opportunities for setting the scene and enhancing a mood with decorating options that run the gamut from elegantly simple to over-the-top elaborate! 

We are often asked, "What makes a wedding classy?" or, "How can I make my budget wedding look elegant and expensive?" Now these questions are totally subjective as different people are going to have different thoughts and ideas about what constitutes class and elegance in their minds.

However, there are a few things that classic and elegant weddings really do have in common and it can be boiled down to, "less is more". Less fussy decor, less decor overall and three or less colors used. There is beauty in simplicity. 

If you love a particular mood or theme and simply want to create a gorgeous and memorable setting, choosing the appropriate decorations and placing them strategically throughout your venue is going to help you achieve the look and feel you want. 

With a little imagination you'll be amazed at how easy and affordable it is to create a unique day that you and your guests will remember for a lifetime. Here we break this process down and show you how to choose your decorations like a wedding professional. 

7 STEPS FOR CHOOSING YOUR WEDDING DECOR

STEP 1: Ask yourselves what style and mood do you both want for your wedding day? Do you lean casual, modern, romantic, bohemian, classic? You may decide you want a traditional evening wedding ceremony with lots of candles, crystals and flowers or you may decide on a more contemporary black-tie affair in a modern museum.What season you marry in also plays an important role. You may want to include a special motif throughout your wedding that means something special to you both.

STEP 2: Choosing a color palette that matches the vibe and style you want is next. See our Pinterest board for tons of wedding color inspiration. You can also visit our article on "Choosing Your Wedding Color Scheme" to learn basic color theory and use a photo to create your own color palette from scratch. 

If you are unsure what you like, the best way to find out is to create a free Pinterest page for yourself and start pinning what catches your eye. After you pin about 50 photos, look over them to see if there are any particular styles or trends that keep popping up. You might find that you really like a natural rustic look as opposed to lots of sparkle and vibrant colors or that you are drawn to winter nuptials rather than a fall vibe.

Boho Wedding DecorSTEP 3: It's important to know your decorating budget. This gives you an idea of how many decorations you can reasonably incorporate into your wedding without overspending. Remember that careful planning is necessary to avoid costly mistakes and returns.  If budget is an issue, choose only two or three wedding decorations or decorating ideas that really add visual impact to key areas of your venue.

This could be a lighting effect, dramatic ceiling decor, stunning wedding cake, a beautiful altar backdrop or grand entrance, etc. Adding something metallic to your designs catches the eye. A little glitter or a sparkling brooch or ribbon can really elevate your designs.  

STEP 4: Choose your venue with Steps 1-3 in mind so the location doesn't compete with the decorating style you want and what you can afford. Many locations are quite beautiful and do not require too much enhancing (a huge cost savings), while others may be a blank slate with little personality, think catering halls and community centers.

If possible, visit your chosen venue and take several photographs of the outside, entrance, ceremony area, reception space, and ceiling heights so you can reference them as you look through your favorite decorating ideas. Take a notebook and a long measuring tape (100ft) and measure entry areas, aisle lengths, reception area dimensions.

STEP 5: Try to imagine where you could use some of your favorite decorating ideas from step 1. It will then become clear which decorations will be successful and which ones are unsuitable for your particular venue. For example, if you really want a dessert station, band or dance floor, where will they go? Is there room? 

Many times, the venue manager will have photos of previous wedding setups and can help with determining foot traffic flow so everything runs smoothly. Definitely ask for pictures or a website gallery link! 

STEP 6: If your venue does not have a focal point when you walk in, try to create one. Focal points make a lasting and positive first impression. They grab your attention and ground the space. Examples are a gorgeous backdrop, light display, floral installation or stunning cake or head table. The higher and stronger the focal decorations the better!

STEP 7: Trust the process! You may be thinking, "How will I know that everything will look great in the end?" If you follow the guidelines here, there is little chance for error. Take the time to look at your decorating ideas together in one place. Use Pinterest or do it in real life with a mood board (think color swatches and fabric samples).

If something looks out of place, then focus on why that is and correct it before putting down the money. Try to delay making decorating purchases until about 4-6 months before your wedding date. Tastes, trends and budgets can change over long engagement periods!

IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS

Woodland WeddingAs mentioned before, locations that are already very festive or decorative may require less or even no wedding decorations at all. However, you may choose to create an entire wedding theme using elaborate decorations and backdrops or you may simply want a few flowers and candles to enhance your ceremony site and reception tables. This is totally up to you and your budget.

Here's a breakdown of things to keep in mind as you start the decorating process:

    • Your Wedding Date (Season & Time of Day)

    • Your Wedding Location/Setting (Get Measurements)

    • Your Decorating Budget

    • Available Venue Space (Ceremony & Reception)

    • Number of Guests (Smaller weddings require less table decorations.)

    • Your Wedding Mood & Theme

    • Your Favorite Color Scheme

    • Lighting Requirements (Especially for Evening - Lighting is very important to get right. Up-lights, twinkle lights, Edison bulb lights, votive and pillar candles are great choices.)

    • Any Family Traditions You Want to Include

    • Day-Of Setup Time Requirements

    • What You Can Make Yourself (See DIY tips below) and What to Rent

Consider decorations for the following key areas:

    • Altar/Pews/Aisle
    • Table Linens & Centerpieces (Guests should be able to see each other across the table so they can’t talk.)
    • Gift & Cake Tables (Including Any Cake Top Decorations)
    • Entryway (Guestbook/Pen)
    • Tabletops/Wedding Favors/Confetti
    • Buffet Table
    • Head Table
    • The Bar/Cocktail Setting
    • Chairs/Chair Backs
    • Patios/Decks
    • Walls/Doors
    • Banisters/Mantles
    • Ceilings (Lights, Floral Installations, etc.)
    • Floors (Dancefloor, Projected Monograms, etc.)
    • Dessert/Candy Buffets
    • Restroom Counter

THE BEST WEDDING DECORATIONS TO DIY

Beach Wedding CenterpieceIf you like crafting, making your own wedding decorations can be super fun... until it's not. OK, here's the deal. DIY projects are great for adding your own flare and personality to your day. They can also save you a bunch of cash, but only if they turn out the way you want them to and you actually use them in your wedding!

Trust us, you will want to read #4 in this article for more on DIY wedding ambitions. Your DIY costs will naturally depend upon the size of your wedding and the number of decorations you want to incorporate. 

Design Note: Talk to your venue before using glitter or confetti. It tends to get everywhere and many sites prohibit it because it because of the additional cleanup time. If your designs include glitter, be sure to seal the surfaces with a spray-on clear-coat polyurethane. 

The most popular DIY wedding items include the following:

    • Table Centerpieces
    • Table Numbers
    • Place Cards
    • Welcome Signs
    • Invitations
    • Wedding Favors
    • Photo/Story Boards
    • Aisle Markers
    • Chair Back Decor
    • Backdrops
    • Candy Buffet (no desserts)
    • The Wedding Cake (advanced)

THE BEST WEDDING DECORATIONS TO THRIFT & UPCYCLE

Framed Table NumberWeddings are an occasion to incorporate anything from home or from friends that you can use as unique decor. Thrift shopping and upcycling items can also save you money and it's great for the environment!

Have a list of what you need and hit several thrift stores over the course of your planning. A can of metallic paint can do wonders to transform cheap plastic items into eye-catching pieces.  Popular wedding items to thrift and upcycle:

    • Frames
    • Vases
    • Candle Holders
    • Wooden Crates
    • Vintage Furniture
    • Baskets
    • Plates/Flatware/Glassware
    • Platters
    • Bowls
    • Linens/Lace
    • Books
    • Craft Supplies

DAY-OF WEDDING DECORATING TIPS

Ceremony - In many cases, decorations need to be set up just prior to the ceremony and taken down immediately afterwards. Check your venue contract. Have friends or relatives transport your ceremony decorations such as flowers, pew bows, altar backdrop or candelabras to your reception site, but again, be sure that someone responsible will transport them quickly and set them up artistically at the reception before your guests arrive.

Reception - Likewise, reception tables are often not ready for decoration until an hour or two before dinner. There usually isn't enough time for members of the wedding party to take on these decorating tasks. If you prefer to have a hand in your own decorating, look for decorations that can be prepared ahead of time and choose a responsible person to arrange them according to your wishes. 

HIRING A PROFESSIONAL WEDDING DECORATOR

If you choose to have a florist prepare your arrangements and decorations, be sure to discuss whether they will also set up, decorate and remove the items after the wedding. If you choose a professional decorator they will take care of these tasks as a part of their duties as well as create the decorations themselves.

Professional decorators and florists generally have an inventory of rental items that can be customized to carry out your wedding vision or theme. It's wise to rent table centerpieces, vases, mirrors, silk and dried flower arrangements, pedestals, archways and plants that you will only use for one day. Similar items can be rented from party rental or wedding specialty stores. Combine these items with beautiful ribbons, tulle fabric, twinkle lights, candles and/or garlands to make beautiful customized wedding decorations. 

WEDDING AISLE DECOR

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WEDDING LIGHTING IDEAS

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WEDDING DECORATING DETAILS

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WEDDING CENTERPIECE IDEAS

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HELPFUL DECORATING ARTICLES