13 Ways to Make Your Wedding Reception Unique

From adding personal touches to suspending a cake from the ceiling, wedding experts share unique ways to make your wedding reception refelect your taste

Dobrina Zhekova
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One of a Kind

Every couple wants their wedding to be special and custom-tailored to their taste and preferences. To achieve that, you often have to work, side by side, with your event designer or wedding planner, and communicate your vision clearly. Don't settle.

Think about what makes you, as a couple, unique—do you both like hiking? Or maybe the first time you both said, "I love you," you were taking a walk at the park? Incorporate elements of those experiences into your wedding decor. Once you know what you want, there are so many ways to translate what you envision into (a beautiful) reality.

From décor design to custom furniture, we asked 13 wedding pros from the wedding vendor site Carats & Cake to share their tips on how to customize your wedding reception.

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Make It Feel Like Home

“Think about designing your wedding in more of a residential way. For example, we had this wedding at the Mansion hotel in Dallas, Texas which was once a private estate. We worked with the couple to bring the decor of the hotel back to feeling like a home. We designed what is usually the restaurant into a living room, and in the reception tent instead of having all tall arrangements that you would see in a traditional ballroom wedding, we had all low centerpieces.”

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Use Your Cake as a Focal Point

“Urban spaces allow for some really cool installations and why not use that to your advantage! We suspended this cake from the ceiling and utilized the space under it to create a ground to ceiling dramatic moment.”

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It's All in the Details

“The key to customizing your wedding is finding those tiny details that speak true to your vision and your personality. When working with any venue, never be afraid to bring items in from linens, to flatware to furniture. It is important to design an event that will make sense in the environment you are working within, but it is also important to work with colors and textures and items that honor the emotions and impressions you are hoping to create for your guests. By thoughtfully selecting pieces, you are creating a space that is filled with all of the things that you love.”

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Spice Up Your Bride & Groom Chairs

“Add a new element of detail to your bride and groom chairs with not only foliage and blooms, but a special love quote that makes them truly unique.”

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Drape It

“Draping is an easy way to transform any space, from a ballroom to a tent, and create a truly customized space. Whether you want a softer wedding design or a more glamorous look or just want to cover up the existing space, work with a designer who has an expertise in draping to really help you bring your vision to life.”

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Create a New Environment

"Use various types of tables and seating to transform any outdoor space.”

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Play with Fabrics

  • Katie Mamula, senior event designer and marketing manager, Ryan Designs

“Couples want to reflect their own personal style, from their fashion tastes to their interior design choices, within their weddings —custom fabric patterns and prints on lounge vignettes or even in the ceiling of tents is an easy way to make your wedding your own.”

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Light It Up

“A lot of brides automatically think that lighting has to be the colored uplights throughout the room. While that type of look is useful in some cases, soft ambient light, coming from several different sources and areas can also transform a space. Floor and table lamps in lounge areas and bars, pin spots on the centerpieces, uplighting in amber and soft white shades and bistro lights make the room feel less like an event and more like an intimate dinner party.”

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Add to the Space

“Many venues may have incredible views but lack the space to entertain comfortably. Therefore, customizing the location for a dinner reception can be extremely rewarding. We love having decking custom built, allowing a perfectly level location to place beautifully designed and adorned tables to capture the vistas and without a tent structure overhead if weather permits.”

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Focus on Personal Touches

“Personal touches are what make each wedding unique and memorable. It really is the little things that make your guests feel like every moment and detail was considered to showcase what is special to you as the couple. For example, one of our couples owned a pomegranate farm and wanted to incorporate that element into their big day. To do this, we used a pomegranate to hold each place card which added the perfect pop of color. To add a little something sweet we also incorporated dishes of chocolate covered pomegranate seeds in the table displays for guests to enjoy.”

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Bring The Outside In

“We love to bring the outside in by creating a park-like atmosphere with cut trees. We have acres of woods and we cut saplings to create a magical ambiance and help fill the vast space at the top of a tent or in a large room.”

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Invest In Floral Installations

“Adding custom installments to entryways and high traffic areas is sure to set your event apart from the rest.”

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Create a Custom Bar

“Instead of traditional highboys to serve drinks, think about creating a custom bar that becomes a centerpiece for your wedding and a great gathering place for guests. Offer your favorite signature drink, complete with coordinating florals, signage and barware.”