There's nothing we love more than a wedding reception space that makes your family and friends feel right at home. To create a space that's as comfy and cozy as your own living room (or scratch that...a living room in your favorite interior design magazine) we asked a few decorating pros to share their top tips.
1. Offer multiple lounge areas
According to interior designer Anna Kohler, founder of My Chic Nest, one way to make a reception space feel more intimate and approachable is through creating different seating areas for people to carry on conversations. "Often at receptions there is one large space for everyone to mingle in." Try placing sofas in different corners of the room to create conversation zones, she advises. "Sofas are a beautiful addition to tables and chairs and are another great opportunity for a photo opp." Oh, and don't forget the throw blankets and pillows!
2. Lay down rugs
This living room inspired décor instantly brings warmth underfoot and subtly establishes distinct zones within an open floorplan, just like at home, note the editors at Wayfair Registry (launching this fall). "Define a lounge area, highlight several small conversation spots or showcase your sweetheart table simply by bringing in a rug or layering on a couple. High-pile (fluffy) options in crisp neutrals will convey a classic, traditional look, while oriental styles create an eclectic, bohemian vibe."
3. Go green
In other words, use a lot of potted plants! When it comes to decorations, wedding planner Kelli Corn of Kelli Corn Weddings & Events says it's best to add plants to corners and empty walls to give the room a more natural, homey feel.
4. Set up a coffee and tea station
Sometimes it's the simplest of touches that makes all the difference, and trust us, your guests will be gravitating toward this table more than you'd think, point out the Wayfair Registry editors. "Introducing a self-serve element to your reception helps make everyone feel at home and gives guests the flexibility to indulge in a caffeine boost whenever they crave it without the awkwardness of having to ask or wait it out. Hot chocolate (plus s'mores) and other warm beverages are always a big hit too!
5. Go overboard with candles
Because we're a sucker for soft lighting and so is everyone else. Candlelight is undeniably enchanting and romantic, which is exactly why the editors at Wayfair Registry recommend going beyond the boundaries of your dinner tables. "Decking out your venue with an abundance of soft, flickering light casts your evening in a happy, welcoming glow. Cluster candlesticks on your seating card table, gift table or side table in a lounge area. Line windowsills, fireplace mantels or the bar top with votives and group lanterns together on the ground in out-of-the-way but still visible spots." String lights for an outdoor wedding are another cozy chic option.
6. Do use draping
Fabric has the ability to completely transform a space and make a large room feel more warm and cozy, notes Kohler. "At my wedding, for example, we tented the entire space and had the cocktail room separated from the reception by a large drape lined with florals. This made for a grand entrance as well as way to divide the two large rooms in a beautiful and soft way." Consider using soft textures for all your fabric options, including the lounge furniture you rent (think velvet and suede over leather) and your table linens too.