Reception styling - Amy Higg Photography

Style seduction: Set the scene for a next-level celebration

Stories // Styling // by The QB Team

Endlessly scrolling, compulsively pinning, and wondering how to put together a show-stopping reception? Let’s bring it back to basics and start with three essential styling elements.

1. Colour

Photo: Soda Photography / Beautiful Weddings Australia - reception styling
Photo: Soda Photography. Styling: Beautiful Weddings Australia

Think of your wedding palette as the foundation for your reception style. It should first and foremost be a personal choice that aligns with your location and wedding vibe. Although there’s no rule book when it comes to choosing key hues, one trend getting plenty of love is the return of pastels. According to expert stylist Nicole Ritchie from Beautiful Weddings, “There has been a recent shift back to pastel colours, including the use of soft, romantic pinks, which is a palette that works well with any style of wedding.” Versatility is why pastels never really go out of style. Match with metallics, add a pop of colour to a clean white scheme or soften a chic monochrome mood. Want to bring depth to your design? Rich, bold colours lend gravitas and help spaces come alive – they team particularly well with gold accents and character-filled vintage themes. Julie-Ann Brown from Cloud Nine Weddings has also noted a move towards a single colour palette, such as using different shades of one hue to achieve a harmonious look. Our favourite contender for this approach is Pantone’s 2020 Colour of the Year: Classic Blue. A foolproof choice for seaside and beach weddings as well as chic, inner-city celebrations, Classic Blue can be used at different strengths to deliver a wedding that’s elegant, modern and all class.

2. Textures

Shellbells Photography. Reception styling
Photo: Shellbells Photography. Styling: Cloud Nine Weddings

From beautifully draped fabrics and table runners to stylish napkins, glossy tableware and ornate glasses, quality fabrics and textures will help finesse your overall design. “Natural linens are more popular than ever and are great for bringing warmth and character to the setting,” says Nicole. “Velvet is also proving to be a big hit in both soft and bold colours.” You could also add texture with flowers, from soft, round and romantic blooms such as peonies or roses, to modern sculptural arrangements using greenery or orchids. 

Soda Photography from the real wedding of Michael & Philip - reception styling
Photo: Soda Photography from the real wedding of Michael & Philip

Looking beyond the table,furniture selection is also an opportunity to introduce texture. If you’re creating a lounge space or cocktail area, consider beautiful velvet cushions and natural-fibre rugs, and matching your overall look with either modern metals or an eclectic, coastal-cool mix of rattan and leather. Don’t underestimate flooring and light fixtures either. Hardwood floors, marble accents, fairy lights, neon signage and sugar-soft beach sand all bring their own unique textural delights.

3. Tablescapes

Soda Photography at CityWinery. Reception styling
Photo: Soda Photography at CityWinery. Styling: The Styled Group

Chasing reception perfection? Look to your tablescapes – that is, what you include on your tables to create a mood or style. Layer from your tablecloth up with a mix of cutlery, napkins, place cards, gift bags or favours, add drama with candles or lights and play with height through varying vases of fresh blooms and high-impact installations. “Tall centrepieces, on gold or clear acrylic stands and adorned with large fresh or silk floral arrangements continue to be popular with our couples,” says Nicole. With the increasing focus on restaurant quality reception food, we’ve also noticed a move towards the ‘dinner party’ reception. This relaxed type of reception puts an emphasis on a cosy, shared experience, featuring long communal tables and vases of fresh-cut flowers. “It’s more about the overall atmosphere and vibe rather than matchy-matchy tablescapes,” explains Julie-Ann. “Reception looks are moving towards clean, classic tables by sticking to a single colour palette, with modest flowers and candles on tables and a large statement installation piece, such as a suspended floral arrangement over the bridal table.” Simple and stunning.