How to Decorate a Wedding Reception Hall on a Budget

Planning a wedding can feel overwhelming, especially if you’re trying to stay within a budget. Costs can quickly skyrocket, regardless of whether you’re planning a small, cozy reception or a large-scale party for the ages.

Luckily, with a bit of ingenuity, you can make your city hall marriage in San Francisco memorable without breaking the bank. If you want to know how to decorate a wedding reception hall on a budget, consider these tips.

1. Use Objects from your Home

One of the key aspects of a memorable reception is the personal touch, and using items from your home can help you envelop your guests in familiar objects that represent you and the groom as a couple.

The options are endless when using existing decor items at your reception. Some popular objects include:

  • Linen
  • Pillows
  • Vases
  • Picture frames
  • China

2. DIY Wedding Decor

Planning a DIY wedding is a trade-off between money and time. If you have the time and inclination, you can save a lot of money by channeling your inner arts and crafts lover. Depending on your skill, you can consider some easy projects, such as:

  • Making paper lanterns
  • Upcycling ugly flower pots by decorating them with paint or fabric
  • Writing the beverage menu on a chalkboard sign at the bar
  • Spray painting wine bottles and using them as candle holders

More advanced DIY wedding decor may include creating hand-made pottery vases as centerpieces, creating a flower wall, or drying flowers and using them for wedding bouquets.

3. Find Secondhand Bargains

Many people only use wedding decor once and will often sell these items at yard sales or to thrift shops. You can pick these up at a fraction of their original price, and in most cases, they’ll look almost as good as new.

In addition to physical shops, make sure to shop online. Wedding resale sites or online marketplaces often hold treasure troves of potential budget-friendly wedding decorations to suit any type of reception style.

Not only does buying second-hand save you money, but it also prevents waste. By repurposing old items, you save them from the trash while reducing the burden of producing new items that you’ll probably either throw away or sell once your wedding is over.

4. Rent Items

One of the best tips to know when learning how to decorate a wedding reception hall on a budget is to rent as many items as possible. The list of what you need for a reception will often feel endless, but the good news is that you don’t actually need to buy everything. Many wedding venues will have contracts with rental vendors for common wedding items, including:

  • Backdrops
  • Aisle runners
  • Floral arrangements
  • Cutlery and crockery
  • Chairs and chair covers
  • Stage decor
  • Canopy tents
  • Head table decorations
  • Cocktail tables

Renting these items isn’t only budget-friendly but also more convenient. In most cases, the wedding rental agency will deliver the items to the venue, reducing transport costs and giving you more breathing room before the big day.

5. Choose a Budget-Friendly Theme

The reason why so many people are opting for smaller, more intimate weddings is that they’re easier on the budget. However, even if you want to go big and invite everyone you know, choosing the right theme can significantly impact on your overall budget.

Having a strong theme makes wedding decoration much easier. Not only does it make decisions about napkin colors and other decorative elements simpler, but it also looks more professional and is bound to impress your guests.

A good example of a budget-friendly theme is a black-and-white wedding. It provides a strong, bold color scheme, and you won’t need to spend a fortune on colored crockery and backdrops.

Another popular option that’s especially useful if you’re planning an outdoor wedding is a seasonal theme. This theme lets you take full advantage of seasonal colors and makes preparing floral arrangements significantly simpler and more affordable.

6. Use Lights to Their Full Potential

Many people underestimate the importance of lighting, but it’s one of the most important aspects of creating a memorable mood and enhancing your decor. Soft, muted lights create an intimate mood, while bright Christmas lights can make a bold statement.

Using lights strategically to highlight centerpieces or other decorative elements can take your DIY wedding decor to a completely new level.

7. Think Outside the Box for Centerpieces

Centerpieces don’t need to be boring flowers in boring vases; the best news is that there are no rules to what you can use as your table centerpiece. One good idea is to look for items around the home that have sentimental value or remind you of certain guests and consider how you can incorporate them into your decor.

If you’re particularly crafty, you can even construct these centerpieces yourself, adding an extra personal touch to the reception. Other ideas include:

  • Fill fishbowls with personalized candy
  • Float some dried flowers in a shallow bowl of water along with some tea lights
  • Fill tall vases with willow branches or seasonal flowers

8. Add Greenery

Many reception venues can feel relatively sterile and lifeless, which can alter how your decor choices work in the space. One way to add life and vibrancy is to incorporate florals and greenery. This is a particularly great idea if you’ve had an outdoor wedding and decide to bring this theme through into your reception.

The best thing about adding plants is that they fit almost everywhere — as a backdrop, as a table centerpiece, and even on the ground. Being creative with plants can give your reception a unique flair while helping you stay within your budget.

9. Get Expert Advice

Knowing how to decorate a wedding reception hall on a budget can save you plenty of budget-related headaches. Planning a wedding often results in escalating costs, and keeping your costs low means you have more money to spend on other aspects of the wedding.

For more top reception ideas after your courthouse wedding or any other useful wedding-related advice, sign up for the City Hall Wedding newsletter today!