Wedding Reception Decor Basics (what you actually need)

When it is time to plan your wedding reception decor, you might be wondering, “What do we actually need?” Your reception is highly customizable and this part of the wedding will look different for everyone. However, to help you know where to begin, we created this blog just for you! Keep reading to find out all of the wedding reception decor basics.


Seating is incredibly important at a wedding to keep everyone comfortable. One easy way to include more seating options is with a lounge area! This also maximizes your venue space. So if there are some areas in your layout that feel empty and you aren’t quite sure what to add there, consider this feature. You and your guests can relax in between programming from the start of the day, cocktail hour, to dancing. They make cute photo opportunities as well.


Signs are important to direct guests where to got and what different items are for your wedding. Remember, you and your vendors might be familiar with the timeline and layout but your guests are not. A simple welcome sign will help guests know they have arrived to the right place for your big day. Add signs on display tables, at the ceremony and reception locations, and even food tables. We find that signs can also tie different styled looks together for your big day.

Guestbook Table

The guestbook table is a great place to incorporate a sign! You will most likely be including a guestbook and/or gift table in your big day, so factor in what you will need to display this. Will you need to rent an extra table or does your venue have an option? What supplies are needed for the guestbook? You will also want to chat with your wedding planner about what design items to set on the table for decor. This is a great place to add extra instructions for your guests. For example, we added a framed note on this guestbook table notifying guests that the ceremony would be unplugged.

Seating Chart

Depending on your guest dynamics and type of wedding, you will need some type of seating chart. Whether you have guests organized seat by teat or simple per table, having a sign for guests to visually see this is important. A seating chart saves any awkward moments from occurring. Everyone will have a place to sit and will enjoy who they are sitting with. As a bonus, look how stunning seating charts can be!

Rental Items

In general, you will be renting items for your wedding. Even if the venue provides some items, you will most likely be outsourcing some type of decor. From the larger items like tables and chairs to the place setting details, work with your planner to determine exactly what you need. Before you can determine this, you need to speak with your venue. They will be able to inform you of anything they can provide and if they do not allow certain items. Then, consider your guest count. For intimate weddings, you might be able to save some room in your budget with seating and invest in more tablescape items. For larger weddings, you might need to invest in more table and chair options.

Table Numbers

One item that we classify as a “must” for your reception table decor, is the table numbers. Don’t leave your guests hanging after the seating chart. Again, you and your vendors might know every table by heart but your guests do not. Not to mention, there could be last-minute cancellations or layout adjustments. At the reception, it can be confusing to find your table because of these factors. Make it easy for guests and label them.

Sweetheart Table

You will need time to relax at your reception! We love when our clients select a sweetheart table to sit at together for their big day. This is a table near your guests for just the two of you. A sweetheart table will allow you to have a moment to eat, relax, and you will love the resulting photos. Also, this table can act as the focal point of the reception, so have extra fun with the decor!


The last wedding reception decor basic to consider is lighting! Lighting like candles and string lights not only makes your wedding aesthetic more romantic but, they are useful. You can use lighting to indicate different portions of your reception. Dim the lights for dinner and add some fun lighting for the dancing. If you are outdoors, the lighting will also help ensure that the party continues on even as the sun sets.

If you loved reading this blog, find out how to make your wedding reception truly fun next!

  1. […] If you loved these wedding ceremony must-haves, check out what you need for your wedding reception next! […]

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