Decorating Ideas for your Reception (Beyond Flowers) 

Flowers have for a very long time been the foundation of wedding reception decorations; nevertheless, many brides of today seek adornments that are either more distinctive or customised, less costly, or both. Using Afrocentric customs and décor, as well as balloons and ice sculptures, are also attractive possibilities. Each of these ideas for decorations, whether used jointly or separately, has the potential to liven up your wedding celebration.


Imagine you and your spouse-to-be walking over a balloon arch in the form of a heart as you approach your reception, and then having your first dance beneath a floating balloon canopy. You won’t believe how many brides and grooms are really choosing to do that!

According to Arlene Kronowitz, owner and president of A Whimsical Expression, a balloon decoration business located in Chicago, “Balloons are a cost-effective method to convert a simple room into a fantasy,” and she explains this by saying, “Balloons are a means to turn a plain room into a dream.” “You can decorate a huge space with balloons much more cheaply than if you used flowers; and the alternatives are practically unlimited,” she proceeds to say. “The possibilities are almost endless.”

In addition to the arch and the dance floor canopy, another common alternative is to have multicoloured balloon drops fall from above. If you want a celebratory beginning or ending to the celebration, scheduling the drop for after the first dance or at the conclusion of the reception is a good idea. Exploding balloons are a great option to consider if you want your reception to get off to a rousing start (or finish on a high note). A big balloon, often ranging in diameter from three to eight feet, is adorned with ribbons and bows before being loaded with hundreds of smaller balloons and confetti before being hoisted over the dance floor. When the timing is right, the bandleader or disc jockey will engage a control that will cause the balloon to burst, so unleashing the contents within.

The use of lighting is a sophisticated way to showcase the balloon decorations. The framework of a structure, such as an arch or heart, may have lights strung all the way through it, and the lights can even be put below the building.

Balloons are quickly becoming the most popular option when it comes to decoration possibilities since they can be made in almost any colour combination and in an almost infinite variety of designs. Balloons, in addition to being used as sculpture-like decorations, also make for fantastic centrepiece arrangements. They may be entwined with candles and tulle; connected by ribbons to bud vases; party bags or baskets; or used to accent theme and seasonal decorations, such as top hats, Christmas stockings, and party horns. One of the most popular things at Chuck’s House of Magic, which is located in the Chicago region and is co-owned by Joyce Gruberman, is a wicker basket that resembles a hot-air balloon and contains a balloon that is connected to the top of the basket. The basket is versatile enough to accommodate gift envelopes as well as favours for the reception.

If you are thinking of adding balloons to the decoration for your event, you should pay particular attention to the ceiling height at the location of your reception. According to Kronowitz’s recommendations, there should be a space available of at least ten feet in order to allow arches and canopies. She also recommends that the color(s) of the balloons should compliment the colour scheme that you have chosen or the décor that is already in the space.

Ice Sculptures

Consider using an ice sculpture as a stunning and eye-catching approach to bring exquisite beauty to whatever setting you’re designing. Debbie Muckerheide, who works with Nadeau’s Ice Sculptures and is headquartered in Chicago, believes that their creations “truly are a crowd pleaser.” “People just lose their minds; they can’t believe it’s ice,” said the man.

The sculpture may be set as a centrepiece on a buffet or dessert table, or it can be positioned to the side of the head table and lighted by lights. Either way, it is a versatile piece of decor. According to Muckerheide, “They can be useful; you can serve food out of them.”

Among the most popular sculptures are depictions of a bride and groom as well as a combination of a heart, dove, and swan. Brides also desire customised sculptures. For instance, Muckerheide once sculpted a fighter jet for a customer who was about to be engaged to a lieutenant in the Air Force.

Ice sculptures, according to Muckerheide, are more opulent in look than they are in price; a typical piece costs only a hair under $300. Despite the fact that an ice sculpture could seem to be complex, Muckerheide believes that they are not. And she adds that ice sculptures are more practical than one would assume; drip trays and any other maintenance requirements are often included in the cost, so all a couple has to do during the reception is appreciate the beauty of the sculpture while it is being served.

Themes Centered on Africa

Traditions with an African American focus may stand on their own as reception decorations or be coupled with other elements, such as balloons, for a more comprehensive effect. Kente cloths, which are woven with the classic African hues of red, green, and black, provide a plethora of alternatives for decorating and may help you decrease expenditures at the same time. Kente cloths are weaved.

According to Deryl Wallace, proprietor of Flowers to Remember in Vallejo, California, “You may construct a centrepiece that serves as a guest favour, for example, so you’re saving money,” says this explanation.

The fabric may be draped over tables or used as table runners, and it can be embellished with ribbons in colours that are complementary to those of the Kente. The ribbons may be embellished with bows and dried flowers, which, as stated by Wallace, are not only more cost effective than fresh flowers but also more effectively blend in with Afrocentric design. In addition, the Kente may be hung behind the chairs of the bride and groom at the head table to provide a unique background for the ceremony. You may also wrap the kente around the wedding cake and decorate it with ribbons and flowers for an extra unique touch.

Kente cloth may also be used for the purpose of making napkins. The wrapped napkin should be secured with a ribbon, and some baby’s breath should be tucked in below it, as recommended by Wallace. The napkin may be transformed into a souvenir that guests can take home with them by adding a card that is printed with the names of the bride and groom as well as the date of the wedding.

It won’t be difficult at all to include other African customs and rituals in the celebration. Wallace writes that in Ghana, a pot is presented to the bride as a sign of her transition into the position of a housewife. It is possible to incorporate this into the reception by placing favours in similar-looking pots.

Broom leaping is one of the most well-known African traditions, and it would be a wonderful addition to any celebration. Guests at an African wedding often use brooms to drive away any bad spirits and protect the newlyweds. At the turn of the century, one of the ways that African-American couples opted to symbolise their devotion to one another was by performing the leaping the broom ritual. The ritual, which not only drives out evil but also represents the transition from single life to married life, is making its way into an increasing number of weddings among African Americans.

Rosemary Gordon, a wedding planner based in Chicago, proposes handing out small brooms as party treats to the attendees. Wallace provides yet another method to have some fun with the age-old custom of broom jumping: “Weddings in Africa are seen as the coming together of two families, rather than merely the joining of two people. It is a sweet gesture to demonstrate that the couple’s loved ones and closest friends will always be there for them, no matter what stage of life they may be in. One way to do this is to have each family member and friend tie a ribbon onto the handle of the broom and then give their blessing to the couple “What can I say?

By exchanging a few words with one another and then tying a ribbon around their wrists, the bride and groom may conclude the ceremony.

It is a nice idea to make a brief announcement during dinner explaining the tradition that is behind the decorations if you plan to add Afrocentric touches to your wedding reception. This will ensure that all of your guests are able to appreciate the decorations and have a more authentic experience of your celebration.

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