20 Wedding Decorations Ideas & Simple Wedding Decorations

Rustic barn reception space with draped white fabric decor

20 Wedding Decorations Ideas & Simple Wedding Decorations

Style your soirée with these fresh ideas.

Depending on your venue contract, there might be a few restrictions when it comes to the type of wedding decorations you can bring in or alterations you can make to the space. For example, a museum or historic wedding venue probably won’t be okay with altering or damaging their walls in any way (think: using nails to hang signage).

Or maybe minimalism is your style and you’re just not into the idea of a ton of décor, but you still want to personalize the celebration. Or you need to stick to a strict budget To save money, purchase items you can realistically use again or resell (we’ve included some product recommendations to get you started). Buying in bulk also helps—The Knot Wedding Shop is excellent for that. Otherwise, rent whenever possible.

Here are a few wedding decoration ideas that are totally low maintenance, but beautiful and impactful.

(Psst—still trying to figure out what your wedding style actually is? Not to toot our own horn or anything, but The Knot All-In-One Wedding Planner app includes a Style Quiz that’s not only fun, but refreshingly accurate. And it does way more than discover your wedding vision—it keeps track of everything from vendor contacts to day-of to-dos, all in one place.)

1. Drape the Ceilings

Rustic barn reception space with draped white fabric decor

It’s amazing what a little fabric can do. Keep it formal and elegant with white fabric, or if you’re after a fun vibe, opt for a bright color like yellow. Bonus: Take this approach and you can go light on the table décor and still get the same decked-out reception look.

From: A Rustic-Glam Barn Wedding at Olympia’s Valley Estate in Petaluma, California

2. Pick Up Patterned Pillows

Lounge area with antique furniture and patterned pillows

If you have a lounge area in your reception space (or made one with some rental furniture), get yourself to a housewares department for some pillows. Find them on sale (IKEA-style) and cover them with your favorite patterned fabric for a few low maintenance pops of festive color and pattern.

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From: An Elegant Barn Wedding at a Private Residence in St. Helena, California

3. Create an Escort Card Display

Preppy escort card display with paper flowers and blue calligraphy

Instead of having an escort card table, create a board of seating assignments and display it near the entrance of the reception space. Bonus: You won’t have guests squinting at tiny tented cards, trying to decipher their table number.

From: A Kate Spade–Inspired Beachside Wedding at Sanderling Resort in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina

4. Hang Your Flowers

Suspended floral arrangements in barn wedding reception

Think flowers are just for your tables? Think again. Suspending lush arrangements a few feet above your guests’ dinner plates is a fun way to create a more intimate space. (This tip is especially handy if you’re not so fond of your venue’s carpeting—just keep people looking up!)

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From: A Murray Hill Wedding in Leesburg, Virginia

5. Make Chalkboard Signage

elegant chalkboard wedding sign displaying romantic quote

Chalkboards are a great way to decorate an entrance or jazz up the cocktail bar. Personalize it by thrifting an old frame and spray-painting it to match the rest of your décor. Drape with greenery or a flower garland and chalk away!

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From: A Tented Wedding in Georgia

6. Use Table Lamps

Glamorous wedding reception with modern lamp centerpieces

Create height on your reception tables using table lamps. Tip: You can skip flowers altogether if you want, but surrounding the lamps with flowers or greenery is an easy way to hide cords.

From: A Modern Garden Wedding in New York, New York

7. Add a Sprig of Herbs

Sage and bread place setting with spring of herbs

Just because you’re having a formal wedding doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun with your décor. Add herbs like rosemary or lavender for a fragrant touch on the place settings.

From: A Rustic, Romantic Wedding at Shady Canyon Golf Club in Irvine, California

8. Rent Colored Glassware

Blue colored glassware at an outdoor wedding reception

Instead of pouring your entire reception décor budget into the centerpieces, consider using part of that budget to rent extras like colored glassware—it’ll make your tables pop in an instant.

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From: A Country-Chic Wedding in Sonoma, California

9. Order Calligraphed Menus

Calligraphed wedding reception menus

Rather than printing out your escort cards and menus, take the design one step further with calligraphy. There are different scripts for every type of affair, like traditional copperplate for black tie formal or something more free-hand for farm-to-table chic. If your budget doesn’t allow for 200 professionally calligraphed place cards, invest in young talent—post the job in your local college’s art department and test out a few students for the job.

From: A Vintage-Style Wedding in Boston, Massachusetts

10. Use a Table Runner That Pops

White and blue patterned table runner with tall taper candles

Look for modern table décor inspiration, like this patterned table runner. Rather than having several big floral centerpieces, space them out in smaller bud vases to span the length of the runner (and show off the pattern). This colorful detail will make your rental china pop.

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From: A Buena Vista Farms Wedding in New Castle, Delaware

11. Reshape Your Table Numbers

Uno table number at tented wedding reception

Want something original for your table labels? Think about number presentation. Display your table numbers or names on unique vessels like wine bottles, lanterns, moss topiaries or festive pennant flags.

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From: A Fiesta-Style Wedding in Scottsville, Virginia

12. Make a Family Photo Wall

Family photo wall at outdoor wedding reception

For an easy conversation starter, create a wall of family wedding photos. Devote a row to your partner’s family, one to yours or just mix them all up. Alternative idea: Showcase your (new!) family tree.

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From: A Romantic Old-World Wedding in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida

13. Hang (a Ton of) Paper Lanterns

Tented wedding reception with white and yellow paper lanterns

We know—paper lanterns are nothing new. But multiply the number of lanterns you usually see hanging in a reception space by 100 and it’s a totally different story.

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From: A Classic Garden Wedding in Newport, Rhode Island

14. Add Terrariums

Easy rustic centerpiece idea for wedding reception

Not a flower person? No need to splurge on a bunch of centerpieces. A patch of moss, a romantic terrarium, candles, a few blooms and a succulent or two and you have a perfectly rustic tablescape. 

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From: A Romantic, Vintage Wedding at Carondelet House in Los Angeles, California

15. Photo Backdrops

Paper flower ceremony backdrop

Create a stunning focal point that doubles as a photo backdrop. Layers of different colors and shapes give guests different elements to marvel at. Think about materials that are easily customizable like tissue paper tassels, balloons, garlands of greenery or paper flowers.

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From: A Colorful, Whimsical Wedding at Station 3 in Houston, Texas

16. Mood Lighting En Masse

Dramatic wedding reception with tall taper candles

When paired with some dramatic uplighting and luxe fabrics, the addition of tall taper candles turns your space into a magnificent scene of dancing lights.

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17. Hang Tapestries

Easy wedding decor idea, hanging tapestries

If it’s too difficult to bring in large installments to decorate your space but you want to add a little flavor to the walls (or cover up some less than ideal wallpaper), look to tapestries. They’re easy to transport and require very little setup. 

From: A Rustic-Glam Barn Wedding at Olympia’s Valley Estate in Petaluma, California

18. Opt for Wood

Opt for wood folding chairs instead of plastic for a more formal vibe

If you’re choosing between plastic tables and chairs versus wood, go with the natural option. You can still opt for folding chairs for a lower price point, but wood has a way of looking so much more polished.

From: A Rustic, Vintage Mountain Wedding at Blue Ridge Mountain Club in Blowing Rock, North Carolina

19. Make Them Look Up

Easy decor idea, opting for small centerpieces and supplimenting with hanging garland

If you want to save on flower arrangements for the table, add a few elements that will draw guests’ eyes upward. A simple garland of greenery or a few hanging lanterns will fill the space and no one will notice smaller centerpieces. 

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From: A Whimsical Spring Wedding at Bonnet House Museum and Gardens in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

20. Fewer Blooms, More Greenery

Create lush flower arrangements with a few fresh flowers and a lot of greenery

If you’re looking to save on the flower budget, let your florist know you’re okay with lots of greenery. All you really need are a few fresh blooms to add some color. Eucalyptus, seeded eucalyptus, dusty miller, ferns and lemon leaf are all great options to create lush arrangements.

From: A Colorful DIY Wedding at the Historic Rice Mill in Charleston, South Carolina

21. Add Lighting
If you’re looking for simple wedding decorations that won’t break the bank, try this easy DIY project. Add solar lights to mason jars for a rustic look that requires only a bit of sunlight for power.

From: Garden Therapy’s Mason Jar Solar Lights Blog

22. Personalize Your Ring Pillow
If you’re handy with a needle and thread, this embroidery project is an easy way to bring a personal flair to your decor. As wedding decoration ideas go, it’s one of the simplest and most meaningful. 

From: A Homespun Kentucky Wedding with DIY Touches

23. Treat Your Guests to Something Sweet
Candy is pretty universally beloved. If you’re looking for wedding reception decoration ideas, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more delightful way to sweeten your venue’s aesthetic. 

From: Carnival Themed Wedding Reception

24. Customize Wine Labels
You don’t need to start your own vineyard to design customized wine labels for your wedding. For this wedding decoration idea, you’ll need only a printer, some glue and a design you love. Add the final product to your favorite bottle of wine, or set up an assembly line-style production to treat all of your guests to personalized labels.

From: Vineyard Wedding Ideas

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