Your Tricky Wedding Décor Problems Solved

Wedding Style & Decor
Wedding reception balloons

Photo: Heidi Geldhauser of Julie Harmsen Photography

Your wedding décor is what sets the stage for your big day's entire look. And sometimes, not everyone is into traditional flower, candle, or streamer fastenings. Whether you want to incorporate real flowers on your cake, use balloons as décor, or decorate an unconventional space, our etiquette experts are here to help.

I want to incorporate balloons into my wedding reception. To me, they say fun. To my mom, they say child's birthday party. How can I elevate them for my wedding?
It's all in the size and shape, says Jung Lee of Fete in New York City. Stay away from traditional 12-inch balloons for a wedding; they give off a kiddie vibe. Instead, stick to the oversize, 36-inch latex version — and ditch the cheap streamers that come with them for wide satin or tulle varieties like the ones seen above. And avoid using bunches of balloons as table centerpieces, which can be distracting to guests and may obstruct their view of table mates. "Hang them from the ceiling, or attach guests' table numbers and put them in the cocktail area for a fun twist on the escort-card station," Lee suggests.

How can I decorate an unconventional wedding venue, such as a restaurant, that has a distinctive look?
Unlike reception halls with neutral décor designed to be transformed with linens, china, and flowers, most restaurants come with their own distinctive look, which might include unusual art and vivid colors. Presumably, any place you're interested in will have a look you're happy with, since chances are you won't be able to alter the general design. Still, every bride wants to customize her space, so make sure that you're allowed to bring in the flowers and other decorations you want.

I love the look of a simple wedding cake decorated with fresh flowers and greenery. But is that sanitary since there might be pesticides and dirt?
Talk to your wedding florist — he or she will be able to tell you which flowers are suitable choices to use as your wedding cake decorations. If you're concerned about the flowers being dirty, don't worry — florists are careful to meticulously clean each bloom that is intended for your cake. If you're decorating the wedding cake yourself (or have assigned that task to a friend or family member) and want to know how to properly clean the flowers, give each bloom a clean snip at the stems and rinse each flower carefully in cool water. You can also use plastic wrap to carefully wrap and cover each stem if it will need to be inserted into the cake. Or, you could ask your cake baker to place tier separators between each layer of cake; then you could decorate the space between the tiers with small arrangements of flowers. This way, the fresh flowers won't come into contact with your dessert.

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