Wedding reception decor: don't forget about these crucial last-minute details!
by Emily Westbrooks

When you're thinking about wedding reception decor, the tables where your guests will sit get a lot of attention. You might think of your reception room or what's hanging from the ceiling of your reception tent, and you've probably remembered you'll need to decorate the church or ceremony location, too.

But there are a bunch of other little spots around your wedding venue that could do with some sprucing up as well. Here's a reminder of other spots you might consider adding a little decor to make yourwhole wedding venue feel festive.

Let's get started!

First, let's start with a post-ceremony cocktail reception. Here are a few areas that tend to get overlooked on the decor to-do list.

Guest Book Table

You've chosen the cutest, most creative guest book and you've reminded your venue to add a table for it. It's easy to think you could just plonk your guest book on the table with a pen, but it can easily look dwarfed on a table by itself. Consider allocating a small flower arrangement or even some greenery to help make the guest book table seem a part of your overall decor.

Favor Table

Favor tables tend to look lovely just because they have high numbers of the same thing lined up or stacked up on them, so you shouldn't have to use too much precious decor here. But consider what happens when half of your guests have taken their favors and the table starts to look a little lonely. Signage is a great way to lift your favor table - a chalkboard or sign instructing guests to take one home with them.

Cocktail Tables

You might have a few small tables at your cocktail hour for guests to set their drinks on or for older guests to have a seat. They'll definitely benefit from a few small flower arrangements or candles. You could put out a few small stacks of cocktail napkins on each table for guests as they nibble on crudites for a little extra useful decor!

Now, on to dinner!


Buffet Table

If you're having a buffet dinner, the buffet table can be awfully boring on its own. Consider adding a few simple decor elements that won't interfere with guests trying to get to their meal. A special table cloth can add color without getting in the way, or maybe a ribbon strung along the length of the table to tie in your wedding colors.


I always think it's a nice idea to give guests a sense of what they can expect for the events of the evening. On the bar, you might think about having a little timeline of the evening, which helps guests who particularly want to make sure they don't miss the bouquet toss or the cake cutting. When there might be lulls in the excitement and guests head to the bar, they'll immediately see what's coming up.


Dessert Table

If you're having a dessert table in addition to a cake, you can make your dessert platters and stands work as decor. Candles aren't a good bet here as you don't want to burn your guests as they reach for the brownies! Instead, little placards explaining what desserts your guests have to choose from can add a little pizzazz to the table.

Cake Table

Your cake will probably need very little extra decor, but letting your guests know when you plan to cut the cake with a little sign can be a nice touch. At my brother-in-law's wedding last summer, we added a few sprigs of ivy to the cake table just to liven it up and make it feel part of the rest of the reception decor.


Most wedding venues' bathrooms are a little dull, so a few small flower arrangements or nicely scented candles can add a little something special. Some couples choose to include a few extra comforts for their guests - hand lotion, mints, maybe even a stain remover stick for accidents.

Gift table

Somewhere on your venue you might have a spot where guests can leave wedding gifts. It's helpful for guests to have a basket or box to put loose cards and space for gifts both on and under a table can be helpful. For your gift table, you'll want signage to direct your guests to leave cards or gifts there so they aren't carrying them around looking for a place to leave them safely. Consider a framed sign that matches your wedding decor or invitations.

Now that we've spiced up so many of those often-forgotten corners of your wedding, we'd love to hear what you almost forgot (or even what you did forget!) in your own wedding planning. We'll add them to our list!


Emily Westbrooks is an American-born writer and blogger based in Dublin, Ireland. She is the Online Editor for Confetti Magazine, one of Ireland's top bridal magazines. She also writes her own lifestyle blog, From China Village, where she chronicles her adventures in Dublin, travels around Europe, DIY projects and Irish design. She shares her home with her husband, one cat, and four sassy chickens! Browse Emily's unique tips here.