Ideas for cheap wedding reception decorations

Updated February 21, 2017

A beautiful wedding reception doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg. If you are creative and willing to take matters into your own hands, you can come up with pretty yet inexpensive reception decorations. Use unconventional items, such as empty bottles for the centrepieces, and think of new ways to use common, inexpensive objects.

Candle Centerpieces

Light up the reception by placing a group of candles in a lovely arrangement on each table. Invest in a few packages of tealights from a craft store or use pillar or taper candles. Instead of using real candle holders, which can become expensive, display the tealights or taper candles in inexpensive champagne or wine glasses. Fill the glasses with coloured sand or small pebbles to hold the candles upright. If you're using votive candles, arrange them on a cake stand or decorative mirror.

Empty Bottles

Use empty wine bottles as single stem vases to decorate the buffet and dessert tables at your wedding, and set a single flower into empty beer or glass soda bottles and place one in the centre of each dining table. You will probably want to remove the labels from the bottles first, unless you have a popular culture wedding theme in mind. To remove the paper label and glue, fill the bottle with hot water and place it in a bucket filled with hot water for a few hours. The label should peel off without much fuss. If you have several decorative bottles of different sizes and colours, arrange them in the centre of the tables and skip the flowers.


Fill clear glass serving bowls with fruit and set one in the centre of each table. Use finger fruits, such as berries, to encourage the guests to nibble on the centrepieces throughout the reception. If you want the fruit to double as wedding favours, use durable varieties, such as whole apples or oranges, instead. Be creative with your fruit choices, or even incorporate some vegetables into the mix if you don't want guests to eat the centrepieces. Create an arrangement of artichokes, broccoli and leeks, for example.

Prints and Postcards

Hang a few wedding-appropriate posters on the walls by the buffet or dessert table. Look for prints that have something to do with love or other images that relate to you and your spouse, such as inspirational postcards, postcards representative of the place you'll visit on your honeymoon or places you and your partner have visited together. Place the postcards in inexpensive 4-by-6-inch frames and set a few in the centre of each table. After the reception, you can hang the posters in your new home and place the postcards in a wedding scrapbook.

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About the Author

Based in Pennsylvania, Emily Weller has been writing professionally since 2007, when she began writing theater reviews Off-Off Broadway productions. Since then, she has written for TheNest, ModernMom and Rhode Island Home and Design magazine, among others. Weller attended CUNY/Brooklyn college and Temple University.