Decor Checklist

Wedding Decorations
& Details Checklist

Place cards, cake stands, centerpieces, confetti, ring pillows, favors…a lot of little details go into making your wedding one-of-a-kind. Whether you’re planning a city hall ceremony, an intimate affair in a far-flung destination, or a black-tie extravaganza, the many moving parts of wedding décor can be overwhelming. That’s especially true if you’re planning to be a hands-on bride when it comes to the design of your big day.

A variety of cakes in different sizes, colors and on different cake stands.


Taking a DIY approach to your decorations feels like a huge responsibility at a time when you’re already busy prepping for the wedding in so many other ways (and hopefully making time to celebrate your upcoming nuptials with family and friends). However, planning your own décor can also be a great way to stick to your budget while achieving the event of your dreams. As you prepare to tackle this important task, a comprehensive decorations checklist will become your new best friend. If you’re foregoing a wedding planner or simply prefer to double-check the details yourself, we’ve created a handy list that covers all the basics of wedding day décor.

Every wedding is different, and your exact décor needs will be determined by your venue, theme, budget, and personal preferences. This list includes the basics to get you started, but you can certainly add and edit to suit your needs. We also recommend reviewing this checklist with your florist and other key vendors to understand how their contributions will fit into your big day. Now, let’s get planning!

Wedding Ceremony Décor

Like the wedding itself, our décor checklist starts with the ‘I dos.’ From a witty welcome sign that greets your guests to petals for the flower girl, sweet details make your ceremony extra special.

When planning your ceremony décor, start by thinking about the sequence of events leading up to your vows. Will you need a sign to point guests in the right direction when they arrive at the venue? How about a table to hold programs, or one where the celebrant can place his or her notes? If you have a flower girl or ring bearer, have you picked out what they’ll be carrying down the aisle? And will the aisle itself be decorated with a special runner, florals, or candles?

While you’re planning out your ceremony décor, take the time to catch up with your bridal party and iron out all the details that can lead to common fumbles on the big day. Decide if the best man will take over ring-holding duties while you say your vows, when you’ll pass off the bouquet to your maid of honor, and who should be responsible for stocking up on tissues or hankies for the inevitable happy tears. If you’re planning to use a vow journal, make sure someone is prepared to pick it up after the ceremony is complete; you’ll definitely want it as a keepsake from your special day.

You’ll also want to think about decorations at the altar to make sure your ceremony photos look spectacular. Pick out the perfect backdrop, flooring, and archway to frame you and your beloved when you exchange your vows. (You might even want to snap a few mockup shots with your phone while setting up to make sure your décor translates to photography.) As you make your selections, stay in close contact with your florist to ensure that the ceremony flowers will fit your color palette, the space itself, and your other decorations. Overall, ceremony décor essentials include:

  • • Welcome sign
    (include the order of events along with
    your wedding hashtag and directions
    to the ceremony space, if needed)
  • • Aisle runner
  • • Table for the celebrant
  • • Flower girl basket
  • • Flower petals or confetti
    for the flower girl
  • • Ring pillow or box
    for the ring bearer
  • • Seating markers
  • • Altar flooring
  • • Altar arch
  • • Altar backdrop
  • • Vow journals
  • • Confetti to throw

Tables, Table Tops, & Signage

Table top décor is the centerpiece of any wedding—but there’s a lot more to it than just centerpieces!If your wedding plans include a dinner, place settings and linens for your dining tables are likely on your décor checklist already. However, you might not be thinking about the many other types of tables that help a wedding run smoothly, from place card pickup to dessert.

Each type of table needs its own décor, and many—like guestbook and favor tables—require some explanatory signage. A note on designing your signs: whether you’re working with a professional sign-maker or taking the DIY route, stick to a consistent set of fonts and colors for all your signage. This will help your guests quickly spot instructions and go with the flow throughout the night.

To make setup a little bit easier, consider sketching out a diagram of your venue space with a layout of all your tables. Once you’ve placed your tables and signs, spend a few minutes walking through your space as though you’re a guest arriving for the celebration. Make sure each table is highly visible, easily accessible, and clearly marked. The thoughtful placement of tables and signage helps your guests navigate the ceremony and reception effortlessly, so they can focus on having fun. Here are a few types of tables that play a part at most weddings:

Guestbook, Gift & Sign-In

|As the first tables that greet your guests, your guestbook, gift, and sign-in tables should set a clear and comfortable tone for the evening. Make sure that these tables are situated near the entrance of your venue (there’s nothing worse than searching for the gift table with a giant present in your arms!) and offer ample space for attendees to gather, sign the guestbook, pick up their place cards, and drop off gifts or envelopes. It’s also key to create signs for each table so their functions are clear and there’s no guesswork for your guests. Finally, don’t forget to task a reliable friend with collecting gifts, cards, and the guestbook at the end of the night, so you can enjoy a stress-free departure.

Guestbook Table

  • • Sign with instructions
  • • Tablecloth
  • • Pens or markers

Gift Table

  • • Sign with instructions
  • • Tablecloth
  • • Box for cards

Sign-In Tables

  • • Sign with instructions
  • • Place cards, or list of names with seat numbers
    (Make sure all names are equally visible,
    so it’s easy for guests to find theirs.)

Dinner

|Before they hit the dance floor, your guests will spend a solid chunk of the reception at their tables, so you’ll want to make sure your dinner décor shines. To get started, you’ll likely work with your venue or outside vendors to pick out the perfect linens and tableware. Take inspiration from your signage by using the same fonts and colors for your menus and any other paper goods on the table. Centerpieces are the perfect place to add personal touches; consider working in some sweet photos of you and your spouse, or a few of your favorite flowers.

Dinner Tables

  • • Tablecloth or table runner
  • • Chargers, plates, glasses,
    silverware, napkins
  • • Centerpieces
  • • Table numbers/names
  • • Printed menus
  • • Printed directions to the after
    party, if you’re planning one

Dessert & Favors

|Our last two table categories provide a sweet ending to the perfect day. First up, the cake or dessert table. Colorful confections will be the star of this table, but the cake cutting is also a prime photo opportunity—so you’ll want to make sure all of your dessert décor looks amazing! Take the time to order a coordinating cake stand and topper, plus an engraved cake cutting set that you can enjoy as a keepsake long after the sweets themselves have been eaten.

It’s easy for guests to forget about their favors after a long night of drinking and dancing, which can be frustrating if you put a lot of effort into finding the perfect parting gift! Place your favors table front-and-center near the exit and include a sign that encourages guests to grab a gift on their way out the door. If you decided to include favors as part of your place settings instead, consider adding a sign near the door that provides an extra reminder to take them home.

Cake or Dessert Table

  • • Cake stand
  • • Cake toppers
  • • Cake knives set
  • • Tablecloth

Favors Table

  • • Sign with instructions
    (Make it clear that favors are
    meant to be taken home.)
  • • Tablecloth

Wedding Reception Décor

Ceremony—check. Photos—check. Cocktail hour—check. Now it’s time to party! The reception is a chance for you and your spouse to let your personalities shine as a newly-married couple, so don’t be afraid to have a little fun and think outside the box when it comes to celebratory décor! Though your reception needs will vary widely based on your space and your plans for the night, these common categories will get you started.

Photo Booth

|A staple at most receptions these days, photo booths are a great way to capture memories from the evening and give your guests something fun to do when they need a quick break from the dance floor. A tip for couples hosting larger receptions: consider setting up two backdrops or posting an attendant at the photo booth to keep the line moving, so your guests don’t get bogged down by waiting for pictures all night. Whether you’re planning to hire a professional or just pick up a couple of Polaroid cameras, keep these photo booth essentials in mind:

  • • Backdrop
  • • Props
  • • Photo equipment
  • • Signage with instructions

DJ or Stage

|Regardless of size, location, season or theme, no wedding is complete without music! Whether you’re planning to have a live band or a DJ to emcee the day’s events, they’ll need a space to set up their equipment and get the party started. Before the big day, make a point to meet with your band or DJ to review your must-play songs and the tracks you absolutely don’t want to hear; a printed copy of this list can be a helpful reminder for the day-of as well. Here’s what to include when planning for musical entertainment:

  • • Backdrop
  • • Signage
  • • Write-in sheet for requests
  • • Do and don’t play list

Bar

|Everyone loves to toast a happy couple, so you can certainly expect one or two sentimental speeches during your reception. Make it even more fun for friends and family to toast your big day with a beautifully decorated bar. You’ll likely select your glassware for cocktails and wine at the same time as your table settings, but don’t forget a few festive decorations to make your bar area feel extra special. Dress things up with garlands that tie into your table top décor, as well as signs that make it easy to see all the drink options. (We’re big fans of a signature cocktail with a punny name that’s unique to the couple.)

  • • Garlands
  • • Signage listing drink options

Bathrooms

|This certainly isn’t the most glamorous element of wedding décor, but your guests will welcome a few thoughtful touches in the bathroom. If the location isn’t clear, a well-placed sign can help guide guests to the restroom. Inside, strategically place a few baskets filled with handy items like Band-Aids, safety pins, hair spray, dental floss, and individual packets of Tylenol or Advil.

  • • Signage
  • • Baskets with necessities

Dance Floor

|There aren’t too many needs for the dance floor aside from ample space for your guests to show off their moves. Set the tone for a night of fun with festive lights and overhead décor. If your venue has specific rules for shoes on the dancefloor, place a few informative signs around the perimeter as helpful reminders.

  • • Lights
  • • Signage if there
    are rules for shoes
  • • Overhead décor

Lounge Area

|Of course, you hope that your guests will dance all night, but most people will need a break at some point during the festivities. A chic lounge area allows guests to take a much-needed breather, chat, and snap a few photos with friends. For a lounge that’s comfortable and welcoming, include muted lights and soft accents like pillows and throws, along with a centerpiece that ties into your table top décor or florals. Make sure the lounge area has a clear view of the dancefloor so your guests can stay engaged with the action, too. You might also include a few simple activities—like games or a deck of cards.

  • • Lights
  • • Centerpiece
  • • Activities

DIY Must-Have Items Checklist

If you’re installing decorations yourself (or with the help of your family and friends), it’s likely that you’ll have a limited window of time in the venue before the big day and after the wedding wraps up. To make sure décor setup and breakdown goes smoothly, put together a simple tool kit filled with handy elements that can solve almost any décor conundrum. Here’s what we would include in our decorator’s toolbox:

  • • Command hooks
  • • Fishing line
  • • Twine
  • • Wire cutters
  • • Scissors
  • • Thumbtacks
  • • Double-sided tape
  • • Duct tape
  • • Hot glue gun
  • • Step ladder
  • • Extension cords
  • • Screwdriver with several
    head attachments

Our Printable Wedding Day Décor Checklist

Tackling your wedding day décor can feel like a big commitment, but with thoughtful planning and a little help from your friends, you’ll be able to turn your décor dreams into a beautiful reality.To make things a bit easier, we’ve transformed this checklist into a printable PDF that you can take along to your venue when it’s time to decorate.

Download it right here!

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