James Kilcoin

The Best Ways To Decorate Your Wedding Venue

From DIY to downright decadent, there are so many creative ways to beautify your wedding venue. Read on to learn some of our favourites

04 Jan 2019

Flowers

Perhaps one of the more pricey decorative options, people are often surprised by the cost of flowers. Fresh blooms, particularly if you’re after a variety that isn’t in season at the time of your wedding, are expensive. It just goes with the territory! If you have the budget for it, working with your florist to create something really special is one of the best ways to make your venue exceptionally beautiful. And it’s hard to beat natural beauty, so we always recommend having some on your big day!

Florist Dickenson & Doris created the striking flowers and lighting at this real wedding

Personal touches

Decorations that represent the couple are a very popular choice. It makes sense, right? Where better to celebrate your quirks, interests and memories than at your own wedding? We’ve seen cultural references for dual-nationality weddings; travel-themed signage for couples who love to travel; photos of family members who may not have been able to attend. Personal details are the most meaningful.

A bride's heritage is incorporated into the day using fabrics and lanterns brought by her family from India

Bernardo Gouveia

Lighting

Fairy and festoon lights, candlelight and other forms of lighting deliver the best visual impact with the least effort required. Some of the most romantic celebrations are filled with twinkling flames and glittering lightbulbs. And this is a seriously cost-effective way to make your venue look magical.

Florist Dickinson & Doris creates a romantic entrance using just candles and fairy lights

Gabrielle McMillan

DIY it

Creating your own decorations is time-consuming but also a sure way of getting what you want while not spending a fortune. Lots of couples recruit close friends and family members to help (though don’t expect anyone to do this – undue pressure on loved ones can cause tension during wedding planning). Popular DIY options range anywhere from table plans and simple flower arrangements to homegrown blooms or even bespoke clothing made by a loved one.

This couple bought flower stems from the Green & Gorgeous flower farm, then made table decorations by putting them in miniature milk bottles they had saved

Mark Lord Photography

Cultural elements

If yours is a destination wedding, including decorative details that reference the country you’re marrying in is a really lovely idea. Give guests a local souvenir as a favour or include illustrated signage or stationery as a nod to the nation. The world is your oyster!

A lovely illustrated map of the island decorated a reception table at this Santorini wedding

Lee Scullion

Wow-factor features

The insta-worthy flower wall or floral arch has long been in wedding fashion, but there are other ways to make a decorative statement, too. If you want to work with your florist to create something remarkable, another option we love is a canopy. Leaves, flowers, lights and/or candles hanging down above a table or room are always spectacular. On a smaller scale, light-up letters, magnificent cakes or bold colours can achieve a stand-out effect, too.

Bring the outdoors inside by hanging baubles from foraged foliaged, moss and decorative twigs

Shaun Taylor Photography

Trinkets

Gathering antique items, old books, kooky instruments and anything else, then using them to jazz up your tables is fun and pretty affordable. Head down to your local charity shop or vintage shop or pay a visit to that quirky market you’ve never been to. You can also grab whatever nice-looking things you have at home and use those, too. It’s all in the imagination.

Etsy and Add Vintage were used to source various decorations for this wedding reception
Photograph: Hamish Irvine

Garden games

If your venue has a garden or you’re marrying in one, we love garden games as a quaint way to spice up the lawn and get all your guests having fun. They always look really cute in pictures, too.

Get guests mingling with lawn games like Jenga. They're fun, cheap and look awesome in photos of your friends and family having fun

James Kilcoin

An amazing wedding cake

You'd be surprised at how effective a wowza wedding cake can be in dressing up a room. We've seen some really amazing real wedding cakes in our time. Put it somewhere it'll really stand out, surround it with candles, flowers, treats or other desserts. Choose a huge multi-tiered design that's covered in dripping icing or sugar flowers. Or maybe have one made bespoke! The best bit about this idea is that nothing will go to waste (your guests will make sure of that, nom nom.).

A breathtaking cheese-wheel cake from The West Country Cheese Co

Robin Goodlad