How to Repurpose Your Wedding Decor from Ceremony to Reception

A bride and groom kissing in front of a floral backdrop at their reception table.

Decorating a wedding is a huge undertaking—especially if you are going the DIY route. From the ceremony to the cocktail hour and reception, there are a lot of moving pieces and spaces to think about when it comes to decor. But instead of thinking about your wedding decorations in pieces or even in portions of the evening, you should repurpose your wedding decor from ceremony to reception. This move will not only save you money, but it will save you time (and, let’s face it, sanity).

All it takes is a little bit of organization with your wedding venue, wedding planner, or even some generous family members or friends who can volunteer to move the decorations from point A to point B. As you are directing your wedding vendors where you would like the decorative items to go, be specific and have an exact plan of what to tell them so you’re satisfied with the end result. A little over-preparedness never hurt anyone when it comes to wedding planning.

Here’s how to repurpose ceremony decorations into reception decorations with a few quick and clever tricks.

Use Your Ceremony Arch or Chuppah as the Background for Your Cake Table

A flower-covered arch in a rural setting for a wedding.

The backdrop where you say your vows shouldn’t just be left behind in the ceremony space! Reuse it by placing it right behind the cake table to create some visual interest for your cake cutting photos.

If your ceremony space is in the same room as the reception, simply move the ceremony chairs out of the way and push the cake table in front of it. This way, you won’t have to carry a heavy or precarious archway or decor piece across the room. If, however, your ceremony space is not in the same room as your reception, it may be easier to take any floral arrangements off the archway and then place them at the sweetheart table or drape them over the cake table. Talk to your florist beforehand about repurposing any flowers or garlands from the ceremony to the reception and the two of you can come up with a clever solution that will save you time and money.

Use Lanterns and Candles at the Cake or Guestbook Table

A lantern as part of wedding decor.

A beautifully lit ceremony is one of the best ways to give the space a more intimate and romantic feel, so why not transfer that same look and feeling over to the reception? All it takes is a little organization to bring over all the lanterns and candles that illuminated the ceremony space. Reuse any lanterns or candleabras on the ends of the cake table or place them strategically on the guestbook or gift tables before the guests start to filter in. Of course, you should always take safety into concern and make sure no paper products are too close to any lit candles. Just as a precaution, keep those gifts and the guest book at least six inches away from any lit candles to prevent a fire hazard. Also, make sure you have someone standing watch over any lit candles at all times.

Use a Flower Curtain or Ribbon Curtain as a Photo Booth Backdrop

A bride and groom kissing in front of a pink and white flower wall.

Flower curtains or ribbon curtains give your ceremony space a beautiful and whimsical look that should be seen throughout the entire evening. Instead of leaving your ceremony curtain behind, re-use it as a backdrop to a DIY photo booth in the reception space. This will make over the traditionally quirky photo booth as a more elegant and refined space for your friends to pose all night. Of course, we aren’t suggesting to ditch any funny props or signs that you were planning on having for the photo booth—but at least this will give those goofy photos a pretty backdrop.

Reuse Flower Arrangements for Table Decorations

A floral centerpiece at a wedding with white and pink flowers in a gold bowl.

Flowers are easily one of the biggest wedding expenses for couples. It’s estimated that couples spend, on average, around $2,000 for all the flowers for the ceremony, reception, bridal bouquet, boutonnieres, and bridesmaid bouquets. To save yourself some time (and some cash), you can easily repurpose the ceremony flowers into decorations for your reception.

One of the easiest tricks here is to use the bridesmaid bouquets as your centerpiece flowers on the reception tables. All you have to do to get these ready is to have a glass vase filled with some water and instruct your girls to drop their bouquet in an empty spot. If your number of guest tables outnumbers your bridal party, you can also re-use any altar flower arrangements that your florist created and surround those pieces with a few votives as your centerpiece. Remember that not all of your guest tables have to be identical. In fact, having completely identical tablescapes can sometimes make your reception look a little stale and homogenous.

Find Amazing Vendors