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Make the Mood: A Simple Wedding Decor Checklist to Help With Planning

May 10 2021 – Mike Yarbrough

Wedding decor

Wedding decor

There are many ways to make your wedding unique. From personalized vows and custom wedding rings to micro-weddings and non-traditional venues, you have endless opportunities to create an experience that tells your story and expresses your commitment to your spouse. 

Wedding decor can also play a role. Whether your wedding is lavish or minimalist, the decor has a huge impact on the atmosphere and "feel" of the big day. Use this wedding decor checklist to make sure all the important details are present and accounted for on your wedding day and your wedding plans go off without a hitch (no pun intended). 

Ceremony Decor

In addition to accents like ribbons, lights and floral decorations, the most crucial elements of the ceremony decor are signs. While you may want to vary the signage depending on the specific needs of your ceremony and venue, it's important to provide directions for your guests, as well as all the information they need to fully enjoy the ceremony. 

  • Welcome sign
  • Seating instructions sign
  • Order of service sign
  • Reserved seating signs
  • Ceremony programs
  • Program display
  • Vow books
  • Aisle runner, aisle decor and pew ends
  • Ceremony arch and backdrop
  • Decorative candles or lanterns
  • Bride bouquet
  • Bridal party bouquet
  • Basket and petals for flower girl
  • Ring pillow
  • Guest book table, guest book, sign and pens

Reception Decor

Wedding reception decor includes a fair amount of signage to point all your guests in the right direction. The reception also offers ample opportunities to get creative with your decorative style, though this can present some challenges of its own. The good news is, some of the reception decor can be brought over from the ceremony, including the guest book table and welcome signage (to be placed in parking areas, entrances and near restrooms). 

  • Gift table and decor
  • Card receptacle and sign
  • Table plan/seating chart
  • Menu sign and/or tent cards
  • Decorative candles or lanterns
  • Hanging decor (lights, lanterns, balloons, floral arrangements)
  • Dessert table and table decor
  • Favors and/or favor table decor
  • Lounge seating and side tables
  • Cake stand, serving set and topper 
  • Bar or drinks station with menus

Table Decor

While table decor is technically part of the overall wedding reception decor, it's also a large enough category that it might be helpful to think of it separately. Wedding dinner table decor includes everything your guests need to eat and enjoy their meal, a few ornamental touches and—you guessed it—plenty of signage. 

  • Tablecloth and/or table runners
  • Floral centerpieces or garlands
  • Candles or lanterns
  • Table number signs and/or table number holders
  • Place cards
  • Menus (per person or per table)
  • Glassware (wine and water glasses, champagne flutes)
  • Plates and cutlery
  • Napkins and napkin decoration
  • Wedding favors
  • Table games and kids activities

Wedding Decor Tips

The wedding decor checklist will look different for every wedding and venue type. While the decor can be as simple or as luxurious as you want it to be, just keep a few basic tips in mind: 

Start With the Mood

You don't have to pin down every aspect of your wedding decor right out of the gate. Start with broad strokes and decide what you want the overall mood and style to be. Are you going for classic? Bohemian? Rustic? Glamorous? Once you decide on the overall aesthetic, the individual elements will fall into place more easily. 

Take Advantage of Your Surroundings

The wedding venue or location can be part of the decor, and should certainly play a role in guiding your design choices. For example, a church will already have elements like stained glass windows, pews and ceiling fixtures that can enhance the decor. If you're having an outdoor garden wedding, look for elements like trees, paths and fountains that you can naturally meld into your decor. 

Be Flexible With Color

Your color scheme should be thought of as a general guideline, not necessarily a strict rule. It helps to work within a broader color palette rather than trying to stick to a few rigid colors. 

Focus on the Essentials

Don’t let all the fine details overwhelm you. Start with the big, essential items like tables, chairs, lighting and the wedding arch or backdrop. Begin with these major items you can't do without and then build outward to establish the smaller details. Consider hiring a wedding planner who will know exactly what to do, taking much of the weight off your shoulders.

The decor is a big part of making your big day special, so make sure it matches your wedding style. Take our wedding style quiz to discover which type of wedding is most suitable for your tastes and lifestyle.

Tagged: wedding decor, wedding planning