7 Tips for An Absolutely Breathtaking Ceremony and Reception Setup

How many of you have seen amazing looking photos (usually on Instagram) of beautiful ceremony and reception setups? We always delight in seeing the different, creative, and breathtaking ways couples, suppliers, (and Mother Nature) come together to make it happen. Today, we’re going to be breaking down some tips to help you get the ceremony and reception setups of your dreams.



Try finding unique venues. 

[Left: Taylor Bartram | Right: Rachel May Photography]

One of the ways you can guarantee an IG-worthy setup is by finding a unique-looking venue. From museums and bridges to castles and greenhouses, there’s really no hard and fast rule when it comes to deciding where to get married. You can even get married in an old warehouse that you can turn into a wonderland! Think out of the box, and don’t let initial looks deceive you, as you can always spruce it up once your big day comes along.


[Left: Laura Gordon Photography | Right: Katie Grant]


Utilize the natural scenery around you.

[Left: Donny Zavala Photography | Right: Lunalee Photography]

Outdoor venues or venues with a great view are good options when it comes to choosing your venue because you can utilize the natural scenery around you. Think of it as decoration you don’t even have to pay for! You can try looking for places with a mountain, cliff, or beautiful sunset/sunrise view, a waterfall in the background, or even a lush field will look great too!


[Left: Sposto Photo | Right: Holly Clark Photography]


Provide contrast with different accents. 

[Left: Lilly Red | Right: Jana Williams]

Depending on the venue you choose, add accents for some contrast. While foliage and flowers are beautiful accents to work with, you can even go with carpets, potted plants, drapes, lamps, or even a backdrop made out of marble or wood. There are so many options out there, so don’t be afraid to stray away from the norm. If you have a specific theme in mind, go with accents that would match or fit in with what you already have in mind.


[Left: Greg Petersen | Right: Andrew Bayda]


Consider having an arch. 

[Left: KT Merry | Right: Chris & Ruth Photography]

Ceremony arches are becoming more and more popular these days, and just by looking at these photos, you can tell why! They help draw attention to you as a couple and they look great in photos as well! Check out these gorgeous arches! Circular, triangular, geometric, rectangular, you can even customize and personalize your arch by making it a symbol that means something to the both of you!


[Left: Huma 06 Photography | Right: Julia Kaptelova Photography]


Don’t underestimate the power of good lighting. 

[Left: Alexandria Monette | Right: Pablo Laguia]

This is especially important if you’re having an outdoor wedding that extends until late into the evening. Don’t think of your lighting as simply a necessity for your guests. You can actually use your lights as decorations to set the ambiance and feel of your ceremony and reception too. Fairy lights in the trees, light bulbs by the entryway, lanterns hanging from the ceiling, candles as your table centerpieces, and strands of lights draped around your table are just a few ideas you can take note of!


[Left: Gideon Hermosa | Right: Jose Villa]


Experiment with different seating arrangements. 

[Left: Caroline Tran | Right: Mari Giaccari Fotografa]

Sometimes all you need is a unique seating arrangement to help elevate your wedding’s overall look. You can arrange the chairs in a circular or semi-circular arrangement for the ceremony and try a wavy or zig-zag arrangement for your reception. You can even experiment with different types of chairs (e.g. folding, ghost, wooden, benches, etc.) too.


[Left: Jose Villa | Right: Jamie Mercurio Photography]


Communicate with your suppliers.

[Left: Gray Door Photography | Right: JAGstudios]

At the end of the day, it really boils down to your suppliers. Your event stylists, your florists, your wedding coordinators or planners will be the ones executing these beautiful ideas and making them come to life. While keeping a good and open line of communication with them is a must, you also have to trust that they know what they’re doing and that they’ll get the job done well. You hired them after all, so allow them some free reign to do what they do best.


[Left: Mike Cassimatis Photography | Right: Amber Jean Photography]


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