Elevate Your Wedding with Out-of-the-Box Designs

Discover tips for planning a celebration you and your guests will always remember.

Written by: Emily Clarke

“It’s all in the details.” This common saying holds absolutely true when it comes to a wedding, no matter the size, venue, or theme of your celebration. Today, couples and guests alike place great value on décor elements that are unique and original, so taking time to brainstorm and create aspects that set your day apart will result in special memories that last well beyond the end of the party. A wedding planner can help provide a cohesive design that customizes each detail, and utilizing an event professional with an in-house graphic designer helps considerably.

When decorating a venue according to your vision, certain customizable spaces often get overlooked: stage backdrops and foreground installations; the dance floor; the bar; and outdoor terraces and lounge areas. Consider the following tips for making these areas something “extra!”

Stage Backdrops and Foreground Installations
If the space behind the stage is beautiful in its own right, look at ways to further enhance the scene. Do not stop at “pretty enough” – make the area truly dreamy with a custom vinyl backdrop, large floral installations, or décor such as flowering vines or ribbons suspended from the ceiling. Likewise, if the foreground of the stage is lacking in luster or does not fit your color story, spend extra time and resources to make it dazzle. My team has learned from experience: “If you build it, they will marvel.” At a recent wedding in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, we hand-painted the stage backdrop with soft white flowers on teal and built matching foreground installations on-site. We then hung luscious vines with white blossoms to frame the lovely scene.

Pretty stage backdrop for live band at wedding reception outdoor flower chandelier pattern emily clarke events
Photo by Sarah Kate, Photographer; Planning & Design by Emily Clarke Events

The Dance Floor
Considering how much time guests spend in this space, leaving it blank feels like a waste of design opportunity! Hand-painting or laying a vinyl with a custom floor design impresses guests every time and also ensures the scene will not be duplicated at a friend’s celebration next season. As the finishing touch at our Jackson Hole celebration, we hand-laid vinyl featuring the couple's custom monogram on the dance floor.

Bride and groom first dance on custom dance floor monogram stage backdrop emily clarke events
Photo by Carrie Patterson; Planning & Design by Emily Clarke Events

The Bar
When guests walk up to the bar to grab a drink, you want them to be blown away with the design and the details. Apply custom paneling that corresponds with your color scheme to the front of the bar, then inscribe your monogram or a witty saying that captures your love story. Remember to add signage and smaller décor elements on the bar too; custom napkins, cups, and koozies create an even greater wow factor. For a wedding in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, we created a custom vinyl that mimicked talavera – the blue-and-white tile so often seen in Mexico. At a Dallas wedding with an Asian-inspired design story, we wallpapered the bar backdrop with a cherry blossom print and placed gold-framed mirrors on the front panels.

outdoor wedding bar with gold mirror panels and hand painted design emily clarke events
Photo by John Cain PhotographyPlanning & Design by Emily Clarke Events

Outdoor Terraces and Lounge Areas
Consider renting furniture and asking the venue’s permission to swap out their pieces for styles that better suit your look. Add pillows, tabletop décor, and lighting elements that jazz up these spaces so guests will enjoy mingling during transitional moments or while taking breaks from the dance party. Constructing an additional bar with a customized design in these areas also increases the likelihood of guests using them.

outdoor wedding lounge area on porch patio blue and white pillows emily clarke events
Photo by John Cain Photography; Planning & Design by Emily Clarke Events

Regardless of which areas of a venue you choose to customize, do not be afraid to push the limits. Go big or go home! When you take your day to the next level by enhancing design components in every space of your venue, your wedding will be remembered as creative, original, and memorable in the very best of ways.

For more tips from Emily Clarke and other wedding professionals across the country, click here, here, and here.

Authored by: Emily Clarke of Emily Clarke Events

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