photo by Carina Skrobecki
Ballroom weddings continue to be a favorite option for couples no matter their guest list size or style. While ballrooms might not seem as flexible as other venues, they do offer an elegance and comfort that can make styling a wedding reception a breeze! Real couples have proven time and time again that with a little creativity and a keen sense of design, you can transform a ballroom to fit virtually any wedding style. Whether you want a modern and minimalist vibe or a more casual and rustic feel, these general and style-specific tips will help you create the ballroom wedding of your dreams!
photos by Joel & Justyna
Divide Up the Room
The beauty (and the challenge) of a ballroom wedding is that you have so much space to work with. Rather than set out tables around the perimeter and place a dance floor in the middle, create a warm and welcoming feeling by dividing up the room into specific zones. Think lounge areas, cocktail area, dance floor, dining area, photo booth, and so on. By creating smaller vignettes, you add visual interest to the entire room, encourage guests to move throughout the space, and can create specific vibes for each area that keep the energy up for the duration of your reception.
Play with Vertical Space
When it comes to décor, it can be hard to make a grand ballroom feel full unless you take up vertical space. Topiaries, candelabras, and tall vases with flowers are great items to use in your table centerpieces to add height to your décor. You could also take up vertical space with floral, light, or greenery installations that hang from the ceiling. If you decide to use tall centerpieces, keep in mind that you don’t need to put them on every table. Alternating between tall and table-level centerpieces adds even more visual interest and keeps the rooms from feeling too crowded.
photo by Phototerra
Explore Your Lighting Options
If you’re having a glamorous, elegant, or classic ballroom wedding, chandeliers and sconce lighting might be totally sufficient. However, if you want to add a more romantic mood, create a more casual feel, or simply don’t like the built-in lighting options, you might need to explore other lighting options. Before you book the venue, take a tour during the time of your reception so you can assess the lighting and discuss what options you have to alter it (if any). Candles are an inexpensive yet effective way to add romance, but up-lighting, twinkle lights, or even a color wash are great alternatives for more dramatic lighting. Not sure where to start or what options you should explore? We’ve got everything you need to know in our ultimate guide to wedding lighting!
Work with the Room’s Color Palette
Because ballrooms tend to have distinct colors and décor of their own, it’s important to keep that in mind when choosing your color palette. When you do your initial walk-through, take photos and make notes of all the colors in the room. When it’s time to choose the colors for your wedding, either pull a few colors from the room or make sure they complement the existing colors so that your décor won’t clash.
Drape the Ceiling and/or Walls
If you can’t make the room’s color palette work with your design or you want to create a more dramatic look, ask the venue coordinator if you can add drapery to the ceiling and/or to the walls. When done right, drapery adds an intimate feel and an upscale look to a ballroom. We love when couples add twinkle lights to ceiling drapery so that a hint of light shines through or when they use uplighting to accentuate the walls. As with the lighting, we highly recommend you discuss this idea with the venue coordinator before booking the venue because it does require extra effort and time and might not be something all venues can accommodate.
photo by Stefano Santucci
Décor Ideas By Style
Rustic Ballroom Wedding
Just because your wedding will be set inside a ballroom doesn’t mean you can’t give it a casual, rustic feel. Instead of using just regular tables topped with linens, ask your venue coordinator if you can bring in farm tables to either mix in with regular tables or use exclusively. Keep your centerpieces simple with wood accents, votive candles, and lots of greenery, and opt for casual place settings over china and sterling silver utensils. You could even bring in small trees draped in twinkle lights to set around the room to bring elements of the outdoors in.
Modern Ballroom Wedding
Modern, minimalist weddings are all about striking details without too much fuss. So, apply those same principles to styling your modern ballroom wedding. Start by choosing a ballroom with a neutral color palette and minimal wall décor so you can focus on your personalized elements. Crisp white linens, mixed metallic accents, fresh greenery, and minimal place settings are all you need to pull off a modern look. For lighting, you can’t go wrong with clusters of hurricane vases with floating candles, LED spotlights, or a bold color wash.
Bohemian Ballroom Wedding
While most people wouldn’t think a bohemian wedding could fit into an elegant ballroom, we’re here to tell you that it can be done! In fact, the juxtaposition between the grandeur of the room and the soft, earthy elements of your décor is sure to take your bohemian wedding to a whole new level of romantic. Add ceiling and wall drapings to create a more cozy and intimate feeling, fill your vignettes with organic textiles and various textures, and create a floral-forward design that brings a sense of wild, natural beauty to every corner of the room.
Glamorous Ballroom Wedding
Between the chandeliers, the tall ceilings, and the intricate architecture, most ballrooms are tailor-made to host a glamorous wedding. So, when it comes to décor, simply focus on rich colors, glitzy tablescapes, dramatic lighting, and luxurious floral design. Bold contrast will be your best friend in creating a glamorous look, so add pops of black and gold into your color palette wherever you can. Also, you cannot have enough sparkle! Add a glittery runner on top of your table linens, place votive candles on every table, and position metallic table décor near those candles so they catch and reflect that light around the room. For your centerpieces, use as much vertical space as possible with your floral arrangements — the taller and fuller your centerpieces are, the more glamorous your wedding reception will feel.
Space Planning Tips
When planning the floor space of your ballroom wedding, there are two important things to keep in mind: aesthetic and flow. A room full of only round tables or only rectangular tables are perfect for a dinner-party reception, but that might be too uniform for other wedding styles. By using at least two different table shapes, you add depth and dimension to your dining area.
When deciding what size and shape tables to use, keep in mind the flow of the space. You have to allow enough space between chairs for guests to walk and you have to provide enough space on and around the tables for guests to sit, store their personal items, and eat comfortably. Before planning your space, make sure to read our pro tips for creating your reception seating chart and consult the reception seating chart guide below: