Your Ultimate Checklist for Wedding Decorations for a Spectacular Event

Whether you’re a wedding planner who’s working on behalf of a couple, or you’re a couple who’s trying to understand what a fully designed wedding looks like, you’re in the right place.

We’ve come up with the ultimate checklist for wedding decorations to assist you in designing a spectacular event that’s sure to have guests talking about it for years to come.

Bride and groom stand in middle of aisle after wedding ceremony

What Role Does Wedding Decor Play in a Fully Put Together Wedding Celebration?

Maybe you’ve been to a wedding before that has completely blown you away. Every last detail was thought of, whether you recognized it or not. So the moment you walked in, you knew there was something unmatched about the celebration.

On the other hand, maybe you’ve been to a wedding that felt a pinch… lackluster. Although there was decor and design, maybe it just felt like something was missing.

That’s the power behind knowing what decorations you need for a wedding, even down to the smallest detail. The details and decor are what pull an aesthetic, a theme, a mood, and even personality all together. And when done correctly, they can create a cohesion that every wedding is desperate for.

When you have an ultimate checklist for wedding decorations, you’re sure to put together a fabulous event that will keep guests’ eyes wide open with amazement.

At Allegoria Textiles, we fully believe in having a complete plan when it comes to the must-have wedding decor. And while we also believe in using ways to personalize your wedding to make it unique, we also know that many wedding decor pieces are staples in practically every wedding.

Don’t worry! You can still put your own flair and personality on everything you incorporate into a wedding. But this ultimate checklist will still guide you through everything to put together a cohesive wedding.

Bride and groom kiss after wedding ceremony with guests watching

Wedding Ceremony Decorations Checklist

The wedding ceremony is the whole purpose of the wedding day. It’s where the unity between two partners happens, and it’s what most of the guests come to witness.

But, believe it or not, it shouldn’t be the main priority of the wedding design and decor budget. Most ceremonies last anywhere between 30 and 45 minutes. On the other hand, cocktail hour lasts roughly an hour, and the reception lasts the remainder of the evening. You can see why we suggest prioritizing the rest of the celebration, rather than the ceremony!

You can also make the most of your design and decor budget by repurposing certain pieces for your cocktail hour and reception decor.

Checklist for Wedding Decorations: Entryway

The entry to the wedding is the first taste the guests will have of the entire event. So it’s always a great idea to set the stage early on and give them an idea of what they can expect.

Think about adding signage at the entrance to the ceremony site. Maybe that looks like a hand-calligraphed welcome sign with the names of the couple.

You can also set the tone as an experience for your guests by offering them something from the get-go. As they walk in, have a table with refreshing drinks or fans if you’re outdoors.

Other Wedding Entryway Decoration Ideas:

  • Welcome signage
  • Seating instruction signage
  • Reserved seating signage
  • Unplugged wedding signage
  • Refreshments table
  • Ceremony program table
  • Ceremony program display
  • Guest book table
  • Guest book (or alternative) and pens
  • Table linens
  • Decorative candles
  • Lanterns
  • Glass vases

Checklist for Wedding Decorations: Aisles

Although it might seem like something that your guests wouldn’t notice, the opposite rings true here. They’ll be focused on finding the perfect seat to witness a beautiful ceremony. So they’ll inevitably notice the aisle decor.

Stay traditional with floral arrangements as aisle markers. Or make a bold statement with a floral-lined mirrored aisle.

Other Aisle Wedding Decoration Ideas:

  • Floral arrangements
  • Flower petals
  • Greenery garland
  • Ribbon markers
  • Chair covers
  • Chair ribbons
  • MIrrored aisleways
  • Glass vases
  • Lanterns
  • Chandeliers
  • Candles or tealights
  • Baskets with flower petals for a petal toss
  • Persian, Turkish, Mexican, or Moroccan rugs
Bride and groom kiss in front of altar at wedding ceremony with large white flower arrangements and mirrored wedding aisle surrounding them
Bride stands on staircase with large floral arrangements surrounding her, after using a checklist for wedding decorations

Checklist for Wedding Decorations: Altar

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box if that fits your theme or aesthetic. Maybe you stick with the traditional floral arch for the altar. But if you’d like to do something different, try a circular floral arch or even a ground covering instead of an actual arch.

Other Altar Wedding Decoration Ideas:

  • Circular floral arch
  • Traditional floral arch
  • Linens or drapery
  • Accompanying floral arrangements
  • Glass vases
  • Candles and tealight candles
  • Local flora and foliage
  • Bohemian ribbons
  • Persian, Turkish, or Moroccan rugs
  • Macrame installations
Altar wedding decoration checklist inspiration from Allegoria Textiles
Bride and groom kiss underneath altar draped with Moroccan textiles and lined with Turkish rugs, after using wedding decorations checklist

Wedding Cocktail Hour Decorations Checklist

Your cocktail hour can mostly be thought of as the “middle tier” when it comes to allocating your design budget between the ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception.

Your guests will spend more time here than they will at your ceremony, therefore they’ll have more of an opportunity to take in the details and personal touches you’ve thought to bring.

As you’re thinking of wedding decoration must-haves, consider it as though you’re walking on a balancing beam. On the one hand, you don’t want to allocate too much of your wedding decor and design budget to the cocktail hour because you want to leave plenty of space for the reception. Not to mention, by this point, they’re probably hungry and thirsty. So you can dedicate more of the budget toward hors d'oeuvres and cocktails.

That said, this is also the first piece of the entire celebration where your guests are really going to start taking notice. So you don’t want to be too light on the decor during this stage of the wedding.

Checklist for Wedding Decorations: Bar Decor

Your guests will more than likely get excited over the bar, whether you’re serving signature drinks, solely wine, or if you’re having an open bar.

Get them even more excited and in the mood to celebrate by sprucing up the bar area with additional decor.

Other Cocktail Hour Bar Decor Ideas:

  • Bar menu and signature drink signage
  • Hors d’oeuvre menu signage
  • Personalized cocktail napkins
  • Drink stirrers

Checklist for Wedding Decorations: High Top Tables

Many guests will mill around cocktail hour while they wait for the reception to begin and for them to find their official seats. In the meantime, they’ll want a place to set the drink down or to eat their hors d’oeuvres. Have high top tables set up around the designated cocktail hour location to give them some added comfort.

Other High Top Table Decoration Ideas:

  • Table covers
  • Table runners and linens
  • Floral arrangements (repurpose your aisle markers or ceremony florals for these)
  • Glass vases
  • Lanterns
  • Candles or tealights

Checklist for Wedding Decorations: Lounge Area

A lounge area is a perfect place to have everyone relax and sink into the warmth of celebration. The joy-filled tears are (for the most part) finished for the day. So it’s time to let loose.

The best way to do that is to add a lounge area for your guests to relax during the cocktail hour. That might look like comfy chaise lounges, small sofas or loveseats, centered around coffee tables and cozy rugs.

Other Wedding Cocktail Hour Lounge Area Ideas:

  • Yard games
  • Photo booth, backdrop, and props
  • Chaise lounge
  • Small sofa or loveseat
  • Coffee table
  • Cozy rugs
  • Accent lighting, such as candelabras
Wedding reception lounge area decor after using a checklist for wedding decorations
Wedding reception lounge area decorations put together after using wedding decoration checklist and guide

Wedding Reception Decorations Checklist

Finally, there’s the wedding reception. This is where you should dedicate most of your wedding decor and design budget because the majority of your guests will be there long enough to soak in every last detail.

This is also where you’ll spend the majority of your quality time with your guests. And although everyone will be focused on dinner, dancing, and toasts, the details will bring everything together.

Checklist for Wedding Decorations: Entryway

Just like the wedding ceremony entryway, your reception entryway is another indicator of what’s to come for your guests. So set the mood from the moment they step inside! Have a welcome sign, especially if it has the names of the couple.

You can also use this moment to immediately send guests to their assigned tables. Use either a large sign with table numbers and assigned seats. Or use a table with escort cards.

Other Wedding Reception Entryway Decoration Ideas:

  • Welcome sign
  • Large sign with table numbers and assigned seats
  • Escort card table with display
  • Specialty signage, such as neon, wood, or acrylic with calligraphy
Wedding reception decor inspiration for bride and groom
Wedding reception entrance decor inspiration from using wedding reception decorations checklist

Checklist for Wedding Decorations: Reception Set Up

A lot is going on for the reception, no matter where you decide to have it. That may be a tented reception or within the halls of a grand villa alongside Lake Como.

No matter what you choose, you’ll want to think of the overall reception set up. That includes having a dance floor if you’re having an outdoor reception. It includes having ambient lighting, such as string lights if you’re having a garden party reception. Or it could include having chandeliers hung over each table for an indoor reception.

It also includes having smaller details like dessert tables and decor, cake stands, and the serving set that goes alongside them.

Other Wedding Reception Set Up Decoration Ideas:

  • Dance floor (for outdoor reception)
  • Ambient lighting, such as string lights
  • Candles or tealights
  • Glass vases
  • Lanterns
  • Chandeliers for individual tables
  • Cake table and floral arrangements
  • Cake stand and topper
  • Cake serving set
  • Dessert display
  • Wedding favor display
  • Draping (for tented receptions)
  • Specialty lighting or uplighting
  • Miscellaneous hanging arrangements, such as hanging floral arrangements
  • Backdrop design or signage for head table or sweetheart table
Elegant wedding reception decor at villa in Lake Como, put together after planner used list of wedding decor checklist
Wedding reception decorations inspiration put together by planner after using checklist for wedding decorations
Bride stands amidst wedding reception decor, expertly put together after using a wedding decorations checklist and inspiration guide

Checklist for Wedding Decorations: Guest Reception Tables

The guest reception tablescape designs involve their own type of practice and skill to put together. It’s one of the more nuanced skills that wedding planners learn over the years!

It includes small details like glassware, flatware, and dinnerware. But it also includes things you might forget like table linens, customized chair covers, and even beautifully folded napkins.

Other Wedding Reception Table Decoration Ideas:

  • Table linens
  • Table runners
  • Chair covers
  • Linen napkins
  • Candles and tealights
  • Candelabras
  • Chandeliers
  • Floral arrangements
  • Dinner plates and salad plates
  • Chargers
  • Flatware
  • Water glasses
  • Wine glasses
  • Toasting flutes
  • Table centerpiece garland
  • Lanterns
  • Glass vases
  • Dinner menus
  • Table numbers
  • Chair decor for the newlyweds
Wedding reception tablescape designed by Allegoria Textiles after using wedding checklist guide
Wedding reception tablescape design using wedding decorations guide

The decor throughout the entire celebration is what brings all of the nuances that make up the mood, tone, and aesthetic of the event together. It sets the wedding on the right foot for your guests and truly rounds out the entire experience for everyone.

And, of course, you can use this ultimate checklist for wedding decorations to help make sure you have everything you need for such a spectacular event! You don’t have to use everything on this list. Instead, find the decor items and ideas that speak to you, your personalities, and the mood of the event. Then find ways to incorporate them into your wedding design!

Looking for other ways to create a jaw-droppingly spectacular wedding or event?

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