Your Complete Wedding Décor Checklist; From Ceremony to Reception Party

Wedding Décor Checklist

Your Complete Wedding Décor Checklist; From Ceremony to Reception Party – Planning a wedding, we know, is an incredibly overwhelming, yet exciting task. The only thing that is equally, if not more overwhelming, is designing a wedding from scratch.


Couples typically have unique ideas inspired by their favorite celebrity weddings or other dream visions. However, when it comes to bringing a wedding idea to fruition, there are countless numbers of moving parts and practical thinking involved, not to mention creativity. Especially for large wedding celebrations like Indian weddings, the need for intricate décor elements, and the pressure to execute the event to perfection, is directly proportional. Regardless of the size of the wedding, there is simply no room for mediocrity. After all, it is the most important day of your life; by all means, you deserve to have the wedding of your dreams.


This is where an experienced wedding planner can help you. From defining your wedding vision, putting pen to paper, and executing dreamy drawings to create a memorable wedding event, your planner can help make your special day go from zero to 100 with meticulous thought and deliberation.


Here’s a detailed wedding décor checklist to help you get a head start on designing the wedding of your dreams.


Ceremony décor


The ceremony area is most crucial to the event; however, it is also a place where your guests and you, will likely spend the least amount of time. Hence, the focus should ideally be on creating an excellent first impression, elegant backdrops for ceremonial photos, and décor elements to add depth and character to the space, not to mention ample seating for guests to watch the ceremony comfortably.


Here are some must-have décor items for the ceremonial area.


Aisle runner


A long piece of cloth that can be spread, much like a red carpet or a rug, that runs along the length of the aisle at the ceremony area. Couples also use flower petals, special vintage rugs, etc. in place of aisle runners.


Aisle markers


Aisle markers can be anything from floral arrangements to ribbons to bows or any other decorative element. They are used to mark each row of chairs at the ceremony area to distinguish the arrangement and make it clear.




Elegant chairs, arranged neatly in rows for guests to sit and watch the ceremony. Ensure to provide enough seating to accommodate everyone, while also keeping the aesthetics aligned with the overall wedding theme.


Altar décor


The altar, being the place and the frame in which you will officially be married, needs to be picture-perfect. Consider adding floral décor, arches, innovative frames, square arbors, canopies, etc. to make a stunning aisle. For Indian weddings, invest in an elegant mandap.


Ceremonial items


Other items required for the ceremony:

  •       Candles
  •       Program handouts for guests
  •       Bouquets for the bride and bridesmaids
  •       Boutonnieres for the groom and groomsmen
  •       Flower baskets for the flower girls
  •       Ring bearer pillow
  •       A welcome sign
  •       Wedding vow books for handwritten vows
  •       Wrist corsages 

Cocktail hour décor


Between the ceremony and the reception, guests socialize and have the most fun at your wedding during the cocktail hour. This is why wedding planners always advise having a short and sweet segment for snacks, drinks, and exchange of sentiments. Investing in decorating the cocktail area would be a worthwhile affair. Here is a breakdown of the cocktail part of the wedding décor checklist.


Bar signage with signature drinks


A short list of the signature drinks available at the open bar including cocktails, beer, and wine. This can include elegant or innovative bar signage and can be used for the reception as well.


Lawn games


A few classic wedding lawn games to engage the guests and encourage socializing, such as horseshoes, croquet, and cornhole.


Lounge furniture


A set of comfortable furniture pieces for the lounge area where guests can have conversations over delicious drinks. Ensure to follow your wedding theme or overarching color palette when picking colors and textures for your furniture rentals.


Welcome signage


A signboard to greet guests as they arrive for your wedding or cocktail hour if you are hosting it in a different venue.


Bar décor


Interesting design elements such as neon motifs or signs, paintings, or other personalized art installations to add depth and character to the bar area.


Additional décor items


Miscellaneous décor items to enhance the ambiance:

  •       Guest book table
  •       High-top tables
  •       Memory table to honor lost loved ones or to display older photos of family members
  •       A card and gift table
  •       Drink stirrers
  •       Escort cards for guests to navigate their seating

Dinner table décor


The dinner table is perhaps the most important place at your wedding venue. It is where all of your guests gather to eat and toast to your new journey together. Needless to say, it deserves special attention. Your wedding décor checklist would be incomplete without table aesthetics.


Here is a full list of the things you will need for your table. Remember to pick out all elements according to your color palette.

  •       Table linen including table runners and napkins
  •       Centerpieces
  •       Table numbers
  •       Silverware
  •       Escort cards
  •       Dinner plates
  •       Salad plates
  •       Water glasses
  •       Wine glasses
  •       Candles
  •       Menu cards
  •       Placemats
  •       Additional floral elements
  •       Elegant chairs with suitable décor and special décor for the couple
  •       Chargers

Reception party décor


Your reception is where your guests will be spending the most amount of time. Hence, it makes sense for you to allot a significant portion of your budget towards decorating this event. Aside from the table décor, there are a few other elements to take care of including a platform or a stage if you have performances or a band planned. Here is a detailed wedding décor checklist for the reception.

reception party decor


Wedding cake and topper


The reception is where you will be cutting your wedding cake and having your first dance. Couples typically have a tiered cake with little toppers of newlyweds. You can decorate your cake with any symbolic topper that is significant in your wedding story.




Centerpieces form the core focal point of your reception table. They can be anything from fresh floral arrangements, a mix of fruit and florals, candles, or any other type of greenery, placed in glass vases, baskets, compotes, or ceramic containers. There are many ways to place a centerpiece; seek the help of your planner or decorator to enhance the appeal of your reception table.


Card box


A box in which guests can drop off gifts, envelopes, or cards. Couples typically choose to place the card box along with the guest book or a seating chart.




Elegant and theme-appropriate chairs for guests. You can choose to keep the decorations minimal with simple chairs or add elements like flowers or ribbons to further decorate the chairs.


Escort cards or a seating chart


Cards that indicate the guest’s name and the table number in which they are assigned to sit. Alternatively, you can also have a laminated seating chart that serves the same purpose. The idea is to assist the guest in navigating through the event.




Signages indicating designated areas for dinner, drinks, etc. at the reception.


Place cards


Cards indicating the names of guests corresponding to their assigned seats at the table.




The reception party typically starts in the evening and extends till late in the night. The event needs artificial lighting. Incorporate a combination of soft and warm, functional and decorative lighting to set the mood and ambiance. Additionally, use more lighting techniques like uplighting to throw focus on art installations, signages, wall décor, etc.


Wedding guest book


A guest book can be included in the reception as well; it is a place for guests to sign and write well wishes for the newly married couple.


Send-off elements


Décor items like confetti, bubbles, lanterns, etc. to be used when the newlyweds leave the party at the end. Some couples also choose to have vintage cars or similar vehicles decorated with a banner that says “Just Married”.


Wedding favors


Small gifts for guests to take home from the wedding, given as a token of appreciation for joining the couple’s celebration. New-age wedding favors can be anything from saplings, seeds, custom portraits, mini beauty kits, cocktail kits, small household items, etc.


Dance floor


The dance floor is where you will have your first dance, followed by your guests partying. Some venues provide a dance floor as a part of their package or as a built-in amenity. If your venue does not have one, you will need to rent one for the occasion.


Photo booth


A modern decorative element, a photo booth allows guests to take pictures, socialize, and have fun. The newlyweds also join their close friends and family and take group pictures to post on social media.




A tent is a temporary structure that can be assembled and dismantled when needed. Wedding events involving outdoor celebrations need tents for protection, especially in cities with unpredictable weather. Depending on the size and grandeur of the celebration, wedding tents can be of any size, shape, and material starting from basic plastic to better-quality sailcloth. If you have an outdoor segment in your reception, such as a bar or a lounge area, you will inevitably need a tent.


Miscellaneous items


A few extra items to add to the wedding décor checklist to ensure a smooth and pleasant ride.

  •       Additional printables such as place cards and escort cards to cater to add-ons or corrections if needed
  •       Contingency drapes to use in case of unfavorable weather
  •       A mic set for speeches, karaoke, etc.
  •       A background music playlist to set the mood
  •       A box of essentials such as hair pins, safety pins, band-aids, fashion tapes, etc. to handle wardrobe challenges
  •       Thank you cards for guests with printed hashtags to lend a premium appeal to the wedding

Wedding Décor Checklist

Wrapping up


Designing and building a full-blown wedding event from the ground up is no easy task; it comes with an overwhelming amount of effort, difficult-to-solve challenges, patience, and creativity. This is why, the job is best done by a professional wedding planner and decorator. This complete guide will help you gain a solid overview of the many décor items you will need mandatorily to host your wedding. Carry this comprehensive wedding décor checklist along during the planning process and partner with an efficient wedding planner to ensure a smooth, hassle-free, and enjoyable wedding experience.

For customizable wedding planning and decoration services, contact ForUrEvents.

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