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Ideas for Reception Hall Decorations

Updated on March 20, 2012

Decoration Designs for the Hall

Many events require you to decorate a reception hall, and the task can be daunting. If you begin with a theme, you can coordinate colors, linens, flowers and all the rest of the decorations much more easily. This means that you’ll still have enough energy left to enjoy your dance, anniversary party, wedding reception or banquet.


There are some general suggestions that apply to any event and any décor. First, unless they are beyond hideous, don’t worry too much about the walls in the reception hall. Most people will not notice them, especially if you have focused your efforts on creating attractive tablescapes.


Another tip is to avoid overcrowding the room with more tables or chairs than you absolutely need, and don’t overcrowd the tables with too many decorations. Remember that people come to the event to enjoy the company and that the decorations should never take center stage.

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Starry, Starry Night

For a Starry Night theme for your dance or reception, begin by stringing tiny white lights all over the ceiling. Cover them with parachute silk or another fabric of a similar weave and weight. Your room will look like the heavens have exploded into the room. Add filmy fabric table covers embossed with silver stars or other celestial designs. Sprinkle silver metallic star and moon glitter between battery-operated votive candles. Drape some silver or white bead strings along the center of the table, as well.


Continue your starry theme at the refreshment tables with white electric taper or column candles and white flowers that will seem to reflect the “moonlight” of the room’s décor. String crystal, silver, or white beads on jewelry wire and place the strings in the plants. Use silver plates, tableware, cups and napkins to reflect the light.


Create the sense of a moonlight garden with benches, garden statues and potted plants meandering along the outer edge of the room along a pathway of artificial turf strips or canvas painted to look like cobblestones.

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Under the Sea

Turn your tables into aquariums with blue tablecloths covered by fishing nets. Place a small fishbowl in the center of each table and surround it with dried coral, silk seaweed and scattered shells and starfish. Fill the bowls with water and artificial sea plants or transparent glass balls that mimic fishing floats. For a whimsical touch, fill the bowl with mechanical fish that will swim around their own little piece of the sea. Cut fish shapes from colorful fabrics and fuse the pieces together so the right sides of the fabric show from all angles. Trim the edges with pinking shears and string the fishes together on long pieces of monofilament line. Tie the line to clear balloons filled with helium to simulate floating bubbles.

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A Red Carpet Affair

Match the romance of your special event with that of Hollywood’s black-and-white movie days. Decorate the room with vintage movie posters from movies like Casablanca, The Philadelphia Story, or ’Its a Wonderful Life , or leading men and women like Cary Grant, Humphrey Bogart, James Stewart, Ingrid Bergman, or Katharine Hepburn.


Cover the tables with fabric (or paper) painted to look like old film and use black and white plates, napkins and tableware. Serve punch in champagne flutes to emphasize the glamour of the theme. And be sure that the quests enter on a red carpet from the parking area to the reception area.


Include single-use cameras on the tables and encourage guests to take candid shots throughout the event.

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Country Chic

Create a relaxed, homey feeling with country designs for your reception. Cover the tables with gingham or calico tablecloths. Place silk wildflowers in small galvanized tin buckets and tie raffia bows around them; alternate the flower arrangements on the table with votive candles. Place the candles in glasses to which you’ve glued cinnamon sticks to and then tied with ribbons.

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Night at the Oasis

Add a dash of excitement with a desert night theme for your Valentine’s banquet. Again, cover the ceiling with tiny twinkle lights and gauzy fabric to create the sense of the stars shining through a desert tent. Decorate the walls with pictures of pyramids and the Great Sphinx, along with a few camels. Stage some palm trees around the room. Cover the tables with flowing fabrics like the robes of the desert sheiks of the old movies. Place palm fans and tiny gardens of cacti and succulents on the top. Spread plastic in a corner and fill a child's swimming pool with water and cover the outside with sand to mimic the water at the oasis.

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Mardi Gras

Laissez les bon temps roulez at your next banquet when you adopt Mardi Gras as your theme. Hang green, gold and purple streamers from the ceiling; make them from traditional crepe paper, from metallic paper and from plastic beads. Cover the tables with purple cloths topped by green metallic fabric runners. Scatter chocolate doubloons and strings of plastic beads down the center of the table, in between parade floats you’ve made from shoeboxes covered with tissue paper and silk flowers. Add the silhouettes of jazz musicians to the walls. Use Mardi Gras masks as place card holders or napkin rings. These themes are only the beginning of the possibilities of ways to decorate a reception hall. Let your imagination take you to new heights as you explore the themes.

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    • pjmartin profile image
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      pjmartin 6 years ago

      Thanks! I hope it helps someone -- and, you know, there are anniversaries! ;-p

    • ntone profile image

      Nicole Tone 6 years ago from Buffalo, NY

      I definitely should have gone on HubPages before I got married. Love this!

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