Wednesday, 9 April 2008

How to decorate your venue

You have found your perfect venue and now want to make sure that when your guests arrive they are as amazed by it as you were. So how do you go about creating a truly unique space that not only compliments your style but uses all the venues features to their best advantage?

Even if your venue is well kept and modern or aged and traditional you can add special touches to rooms that will really pull your day together and make it look even more beautiful.

When visiting for any pre wedding meetings take a notebook and pen with you to jot down anything that catches your eye when you are there. If you go on a Saturday and a wedding is being set up for the day look at the way they use the space and learn from it. How will you do things differently? What would you do the same?

A good starting point would be to consider the area where your guests will enter your venue. Topiary trees can be placed both sides of the entrance and decorated with coloured feathers or loops of ribbon. These can also have battery operated fairy lights hung from the branches to be turned on later in the day to welcome your evening guests. If your venue has a long drive way, consider placing candle lanterns or luminaries ( along the side of the road or path to guide your guests to you.

Door arches are gorgeous and most often seen over church doors, but are just as fabulous over the entrance to a venue and a great way of introducing more flowers to your decoration. Ask your florist to use a small number of bright blooms and lots of greenery to keep the price down. Alternatively an arch can be constructed in front of a marquee entrance or within the venues grounds for a brilliant photo opportunity. Door wreaths ( are a pretty and clever way of indicating to your guests which rooms are being used on your day. Hanging from a ribbon attached to the top of the door (no drawing pins in sight!) or hanging from the door handle these can also be given away as gifts at the end of the day.

Stairways can be bought to life and made a real focal point with a few easy ideas. Wind organza fabric around the banisters or hand rails and add fairy lights set to twinkle all day. This can also be great for around pillars and posts to create a grand entrance to a room or to add extra light to an area. Ask your florist to trail ivy down each side of the stairs and stand groups of three battery operated candles ( on the top stair to create a warm glow throughout this room. Check to see if you can move any flower pedestals or arrangements used in your ceremony to your reception so they can be used again. Stand these at the bottom of the staircase or at the entrance to the room your guest will be eating in. If there are wide window sills, stand thick church candles here and scatter fresh or dried petals around them. If you only have thin sills available, purchase odd numbers of long tall vases and stand individual flowers in each one. An ideal solution if you want people to notice what is inside of the room rather than outside the window!

If you are not very keen on the decoration of a certain room you can always investigate the possibility of fabric drapes ( to hide the walls and areas of the room you would rather remain hidden. Drapes can also be used to highlight a certain part of your room, for example behind the top table or to decorate a whole room to match a colour scheme or to create a blank space to work with. To create an air of mystery to the room you will be eating your wedding breakfast in, hang organza fabric drapes from the top of the door so that when they are drawn back to allow your guests in, they are faced with their first glimpse of the fabulous room you have created within.

White table cloths on round tables will create a clean and traditional look. Match your napkin colour to the flowers in your centre piece or stay with white napkins but tie a contrasting coloured ribbon around in a bow to add colour and interest. You could even add a tag with your guests name on to the ribbon as a place marker or wrap a rose or flower from your bouquet to your napkins using bear grass as a gift for your guests. If you really want to make an impact patterned or coloured cloths will really make a statement! Checks, lines and contrasting colours like pink and orange or purple and yellow ( will look fantastic coupled with simple table layouts and will add colour and interest to any room. Don’t forget your tableware - Coloured glassware or charger plates bring that extra flash of colour to your table decoration and make your food and drink taste even more special.

Chair covers are a wonderful way of creating a polished look to your room and coloured sashes or bows will complement your chosen colour scheme. Alternatively, use the chairs available at your venue and make them more interesting. Hang small flower arrangements or single stems to the back of each or every other chair using a thick satin ribbon. Attach large tags with your guest’s names written in special font to the chair to direct people to their place at the table. If you are thinking of having favour boxes filled with sweets, wrap them in this ribbon too so they hang from the chairs instead of being placed on the tables.

Table centres don’t have to be flower arrangements, though these are still a great favourite to add colour and height to your tables. There are so many alternatives you can consider that will make your tables really make an impact. Over sized martini glasses filled with tropical fruit or chocolate goodies provide an amazing and edible option. Alternatively ornamental bird cages ( filled with flowers and greenery look amazing as do cake stands ( with the bottom layer full of favours and the top layer overflowing with flowers and trailing ivy. Mirrored vases look perfect alongside lit tea lights as their reflection will create a lovely glow across the table and the flowers will also be reflected too. More flowers for your money!

Lighting is so important and candles always cast a romantic glow across any room. Table centres can be created round thick church candles nestled in greenery and surrounded by coloured tea lights. Add fairy lights to table centres to turn on as the evening draws in and up lighters with coloured gels can add to the atmosphere as your elegant day turns into your evening celebration. If you have the opportunity think about adding height and interest to your room by hanging flower arrangements suspended from the ceiling over each table or hiring candelabras ( to decorate with flowers or butterfly garlands ( and light the long tapered candles.

Add scented candles to bar areas in bright colours and fill glass bowls with sweets in wrappers the same colour as your colour scheme. Remember to leave paper bags for the kids in your party to fill with these goodies and take home with them. Don’t forget to add small table centres to any separate bar areas and ask your coordinator to replace tea lights as they stop burning or re light any blown out candles.

Above all remember to look carefully at your surroundings and show your venue to its best advantage using as many tricks as you can!

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