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dragonfly726
Master October 2011

Reception Decor for a large space

dragonfly726, on February 22, 2012 at 2:39 PM Posted in Style and Décor 0 20

My sister is getting married next spring and just recently found a hall she hopes to be able to use for the reception (she can't book it until she has a date, and she won't have a specific date until they know exactly when her FH will be getting leave from the Navy). The only problem we are running into is that it is HUGE - it can seat up to 450 people, while she is only planning on about 200-250. Of course the dance floor will take up some of the space, but we aren't sure what else we can add to make it feel more elegant and cozy. Here are some pics of the room. The first pic shows how she'll be arranging the tables (two tables pushed together to make a more square like table).

Her theme is daffodils and her colors are navy, yellow, and pewter.




20 Comments

Latest activity by Brittany, on February 23, 2012 at 8:26 PM
  • Sara
    VIP May 2013
    Sara ·
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    I am very curious to see the ideas everyone has for your questions since I have the same issue with trying to decorate a large space. I know I am going to put more space between tables. The guests won't have to worry about bumping into other people when getting to their chairs.

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  • Katie Bug
    Super June 2012
    Katie Bug ·
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    First of all, make sure that she is SET on this venue...an empty hall looks really awkward and well, empty. It can be done, just make sure she doesn't like another smaller venue as equally! Is she inviting 200-250 or expecting that many?

    Definitely don't push the tables together! That would only add to your problem...you want the tables to be fairly spread out...give plenty of room to push out chairs and walking space between them.

    Has she considered doing a buffet style dinner as opposed to plated? If so, you can make the buffet take up a ton of space and even make it double-sided...with 200+ guests, it will need to be double-sided anyway so the line isn't out the door!

    Consider having a stage in addition to the dance floor...the DJ can set up on it and the toasts can be given from there. That will add to your dance floor space and take up a big chunk of room.

    Put the dance floor in the middle of the room, with tables on each side. That will help fill the space more!

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  • Katie Bug
    Super June 2012
    Katie Bug ·
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    Keep in mind that the cake table can be larger than usual...you can put some flowers on it and some pictures...

    If she's open to having a candy bar/dessert bar/smoothie bar/etc...then those are all things that take up space...

    Is there a built-in bar in the venue? If not, then you'll want a very large bar...with that many guests, you need at least 4 bartenders, so a big bar to go with that.

    Rather than trying to fill the place with a bunch of decorations, which will look obvious, try to fill it with functionality instead...

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  • Katie Bug
    Super June 2012
    Katie Bug ·
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    Also, I don't know if she's into balloons or not...I know that some people consider them inappropriate for weddings, but I personally love balloons and they are an excellent way to fill empty spaces...

    A really decked out sweetheart or head table?

    Bride and groom...adorable



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  • dragonfly726
    Master October 2011
    dragonfly726 ·
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    There are really only 2 reception halls in our town that will allow her to bring in her own food (she will be doing a buffet, so yes, that will take up some of the room). The other hall is about $500 more, and they have a very tight budget. Also, the groom's family is providing the alcohol and the other hall won't let them bring their own.

    I should mention that she is doing 20 "tables" so if she does the square like pictured above, she will have 20 squares (40 tables total), whereas if she doesn't push the tables together she will only have 20 regular tables. So that will actually help take up space.

    The venue has a bar, and they are hiring bar-tenders, I'm not sure how many, but the venue has guidelines for # of guests and # of bar-tenders.

    They do have a stage for the DJ, you can see it in the first and second pic, it can be moved anywhere in the room.

    (cont)

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  • dragonfly726
    Master October 2011
    dragonfly726 ·
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    I think she is wanting ideas more of decor that she can add to make it seem more elegant/cozy besides just the centerpieces on the table. The venue does have an arch that they put in front of the entrance (see pic #3), so that will help.

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  • Katie Bug
    Super June 2012
    Katie Bug ·
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    Sorry I missed the stage! Well then yeah, just spread things out and take advantage of having breathing room for your guests Smiley smile That first picture looks TIGHT...so at least be thankful that you don't have the opposite problem!

    I would play off of the arch since you already have it...make similar arches for the head/sweetheart table...you could even have some as "entrances" to the dance floor to highlight it more. (like this...sorry it's balloons again, but it doesn't have to be)


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  • Katie Bug
    Super June 2012
    Katie Bug ·
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    This might not be realistic because you said she's on a budget, but a lot of people get ice sculptures...we are having one! It will be a shrimp cocktail ice luge...like the pic below...so excited!

    Since she is on a tight budget, all the more reason to use as much space as possible for function, rather than decor. Decor adds up FAST and is something you can spend a lot of money on. Just be careful...that $500 extra that the other place costs might be more than the difference in decor expenses...although I know there are other factors you mentioned.


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  • dragonfly726
    Master October 2011
    dragonfly726 ·
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    Also, another reason she doesn't want the other hall, is that its the hall I used, and our weddings will not be that far apart, so she wants something of her own Smiley smile

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  • Sabrina
    Master November 2014
    Sabrina ·
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    Uplighting is really nice and it gives everything an elegant glow, also, make use of cocktail tables. Strategically placed near the dance floor so people can leave a drink on it or something. What Katie was saying about the cake table, the buffet, etc etc was right. It will take up more space. i kinda love the double table look, lol.... Im trying think maybe a ribbon wall behind the DJ on the stage in her colors? a photo collage of them as they've grown up? IDK, just tossing ideas out there

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  • Sabrina
    Master November 2014
    Sabrina ·
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    Katie, that is freaking AWESOME>.granted i wont eat shrimp like that, but other ppl will.....NICE !!

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  • Katie Bug
    Super June 2012
    Katie Bug ·
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    Yeah I definitely think that's enough reasons to want this hall Smiley smile

    Uplighting is a good idea...didn't think of that. Although it costs money...

    @Sabrina - Yeah I love it...I don't eat any seafood, not even shrimp lol, but I know other people (including FH) love it. Plus, it will have our monogram on it, so it will serve as decor and a centerpiece for the room!

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  • Len Woelfel
    Len Woelfel ·
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    Uplighting will draw attention to how big the room is, not the opposite. The obvious answer is to drape off, or put potted plants or some other element across an area and divide the room. But budget seems to be an issue. Another possibility would be to turn the unneeded part of the room into a lounge area, but that requires bringing in lounge type furniture (couches, tables, etc.) and if you don't have that handy, you have to spend money.

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  • claudia
    Dedicated June 2012
    claudia ·
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    This is something she could do...

    have the dance floor in the middle and put the tables around it


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  • dragonfly726
    Master October 2011
    dragonfly726 ·
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    Thank you everyone for your input Smiley smile

    We will definitely be sure to spread the tables out a little more than usual to give guests more room to breathe, as well as having a large dance floor and larger cake table.

    She loved the idea of the ribbon wall that Sabrina K. posted, but sadly it just isn't budget friendly.

    We did find a couple ideas online last night. One is the tissue paper poms in the first pic. We are going to make 100 of them (5 to hang over each table). The other is these doily chandeliers (lace is kind of a mini-theme in her wedding) we're going to make a few of them to hang over the head table and maybe the cake table.

    She still would like some ideas of ways to dress up the walls a little. My mom said she has seen some couples do some really neat stuff with draped tulle, but my sister and I are having a hard time picturing it.

    Thanks again for all your help, and definitely keep the suggestions comingSmiley smile



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  • Tammy
    Devoted September 2012
    Tammy ·
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    Personally, I would bring everything into the middle, and leave the extra room on the perimeter of the room. Then, light the center portion where the event actually is. Spreading everything out to fill the giant room will only make it more impersonal, drawing guests too far away from each other. Don't let anything be up against the wall, just bring it all in! If the budget allows, get some colored lighting to focus on the "actual event space"... it will rock that way - trust me.

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  • dragonfly726
    Master October 2011
    dragonfly726 ·
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    Oh, I don't mean spreading it out too much, just if you look at the first picture the guests would be crammed in like sardines. She just wants to space them out a little more so they aren't so crowded. I think with the number of tables, the DJ stage, the bar, the buffet, the head table, cake table, etc... we can fill the room pretty easily. She just wants ideas to make it feel a little warmer and cozier.

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  • Sara Dick
    Sara Dick ·
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    Fabric Fabric Fabric! USe ceiling draping and wall draping wiht added uplight to give your space a more elegent feel. The picture that Claudia posted is a greta example of this.

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  • Tammy
    Devoted September 2012
    Tammy ·
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    AH! Thanks for clarifying that!

    Warmth & cozy are typically created thru lighting & colors. Putting the dance floor in the middle will draw the crowd together, which helps for "cozy". If the venue allows candles, use them in the centerpieces.

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  • Brittany
    Devoted April 2014
    Brittany ·
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    I'm the aforementioned sister(; Thanks for all your ideas ladies! I kind of like the idea of a dance floor in the middle with the tables surrounding it and the picture Claudia posted is pretty! I think we're on to some good ideas about how to make it feel cozier!!

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