Decor for a Casual Wedding Reception

Source: Ezzy Lynn

If you and your future hubby are on the same page, save money and stress by planning a casual wedding reception. No, casual does not have to mean cheap or cheap-looking! According to Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg, casual means finding that near-perfect balance between subtle elegance and down-home charm from designing programs, creating flower bouquet arrangements, and more.

No matter what your decor for a casual wedding reception looks like, remember that it is all about your day and what your décor for a classy DIY idea for a casual wedding reception involves. To give you some casual reception ideas, let's look at a few ideas and places to start for casual wedding decor.

Ceremony Programs

Source: Paper Culture

Creating your own wedding ceremony programs is as easy as a click of the mouse on your laptop or desktop computer. They are an easy and inexpensive touch to add to your wedding day. There are many online wedding program templates that can be customized to fit any design you can imagine. Regardless of your wedding day theme, you will be able to find a template online to match. You can send and print through an online store, or buy the template and print yourself.

Creating your own programs allows couples to make last minute changes without costing you lots of money. Quality paper for your programs is available at many online and brick-n-mortar stores. Printing your own programs is a budget-saving part of your wedding reception décor idea.

Flower Bouquet

Source: One Fab Day

A flower bouquet is the perfect bride's accessory. It is an ancient tradition that symbolizes many things to a bride. It should hold her favorite flowers for luck and happiness. Procuring your flowers can be accomplished the night before the wedding or if our wedding is in the afternoon, you can make arrangements with your local florist, grocery store, or street vendor to pick them up the morning of your nuptials.

Your flower bouquet doesn't have to be expensive if you purchase them at any local vendor and decide to arrange yourself. If you're looking make your own bouquet, try and stick to 2-3 main blooms in your color scheme and some greens to work as filler. If you are going through a local florist, ask them to incorporate a lot of greenery to keep costs low, or focus on one single bloom for the same impact without the high price tag.

Unity Candle

unity candle
Source: Etsy

Consider using unity candle as decor for a casual wedding reception ceremony. A unity candle is lit by the future bride and groom as a symbol of two families enjoining as one. Believe it or not, your local Dollar store will have style glasses and candles that you can use.

It's easy to DIY a unity candle with videos to give you details on how to glue candles inside of the glasses, how to monogram them, and how to elegantly decorate the glass and candles with your own personalization that will impress everyone. Consider getting plain candles online or at a local store and attached lace motifs for a rustic feel. Or use plain taper candles and pick out a special unity candle to light together.

Casual Reception Ideas

Personalized Cups and Napkins

Source: When it Rains Paper Co.

Cocktail hour does not have to cost a lot of money on your end. Consider buying your own champagne and wine by the bulk, this will save you lots of money for your casual wedding reception.

Wedding planners will tell you that the largest percentage of any wedding costs is food and drink. Yes, even a casual  wedding reception requires time and energy to plan. The accessorized paper product décor for a casual wedding reception can save you money by ordering them wholesale.

personalized cocktail napkins
Source: The Knot Shop

Napkins and plastic cups are important necessities that don't have to cost you an arm and a leg. Planning a casual wedding reception is about staying on budget and spending money on supplies can easily add up. Companies offering bulk paper products can easily customize your cups and napkins in the color and design and will feel more personal thank bulk plain paper goods.

Head Table Decor


The head table centerpiece is as its name applies, the center of it all. The design of table centerpieces depends first on the kind of tables that you use. Long banquet-style tables with a fabric runner are often popularly favored. Remember that your centerpiece should not be dwarfed if your table is very long. However, if your casual wedding décor is an intimate affair, then your centerpiece will balance the table.

Quality folding chairs are easiest to work with at any table seating. Decorating the chairs is a simple and cost-effective option, to include garland or ribbons hanging down or you can drape a fabric that is the color theme from your wedding across the back. Greenery garlands are an inexpensive (but expensive looking) way to distinguish your chairs from the rest of the reception. Purchase your own Mr. and Mrs. sign or DIY one yourself with wood for a rustic wedding.

Easy Centerpieces

wedding centerpiece
Source: Pinterest

Creating your own centerpieces couldn't be easier! If you're looking to incorporate greenery for your centerpiece, choose a long eucalyptus garland as your base. This is less expensive than doing vases of flowers, but still adds a romantic and rustic touch. You can sprinkle in a couple blooms or keep the garland plain.

For an easy, romantic centerpiece layer didn't levels of candles down the table. Incorporating different heights of taper and pillar candles is an inexpensive way to set the romantic mood of the reception,  while keep the vibe more casual. You can use tea lights,votives, floating candles, in a mixed environment of glowing beauty.

You can also use different shaped bud vases along the length of the candle. They can be small and clear with a couple colorful blooms in your palette, or choose colored bud vases in your wedding colors. This helps fill the space with inexpensive vessels and is the perfect look for a casual wedding reception.

The Photo Booth

DIY wedding photo booth

To further memorialize your special day, create a  DIY photo booth. The photo booth can be a simple decorative sheet hung on a wall, where guests can stand in front of it and create photo opportunities. Better still, the camera technology in our smartphones are great, have guests take pictures and send them to you. You can set up a ring light to provide guests with lighting, or rely on guests using their own phones.

Drape soft fabric (tulle works great) or strips of fabric along a tall rod for an easy DIY photo booth. You can hang some garlands or greenery or even some signs about your wedding details. Don't forget to set out photo booth props! Take a trip to the local dollar store, where you can stock up on boas, necklaces, hats, glasses, and other fun props to add to your photo booth.

Dance Floor

backyard wedding dance floor
Source: Green Wedding Shoes

Will there be dancing at your casual wedding? With modern musical technology like iPhones and portable speakers it is easier than ever to provide the musical entertainment.

If your casual wedding reception is outdoors, you are well prepared with plenty of dance floor room for the latest dance moves. You can easily rent dance floors or build one yourself using wood or old palettes. Utilize cafe lights and other touches to make the dance floor feel intimate and wedding worthy- without the price tag!

For an indoor dance floor area, you must have enough room for your guests to move around comfortably after the leadoff dance by the bride/groom or the bride/father.

DIY Ideas for Casual Weddings

Pre-Mixed Cocktails

pre mixed drinks wedding
Source: Wedding Day Pins

Remember to order your drinks in bulk to save time and money. Pre-mixed drinks like  wine mixers, margaritas, sangrias or other drinks are served perfectly made-up in pitchers. Hire a professional server to pour drinks like beer, soft drinks, etc. Using a server which can be a family member or friend will save you money, or set out in large drink dispensers with signs on what the cocktail is.

DIY Dessert Tables

DIY dessert tables
Source: Huff Post

What about sweetening the decor for a casual wedding reception with a  DIY dessert table. With a little planning and resources like family and friends, you can have a dessert table with lots of deliciousness.

Use an assortment of bites like cookies, cupcakes, either from family members or your favorite local bakery. The more simple you keep your dessert table, the easier the arrangement and traffic will be. If your wedding reception is small, presenting small slices of your wedding cake is always a crowd pleaser.

Choose an area within the reception location to design your dessert table. Your table should feature height with a white covering. No matter what your color theme is, a white dessert table covering is easier for your guests to see and choose their favorite desserts. Utilize dessert stands that can rented or purchase to allow your dessert assortments to take center stage.

Casual Wedding Ideas

Source: Ezzy Lynn

Just remember that a casual wedding reception is about fun. If have a unique idea for your reception, just do it! This is your day! Modern day weddings are becoming less formal and people are appreciating creativity and personalized details to each individual couple more and more. There are many low-cost ideas for unique décor for a casual wedding reception where everyone can walk away with humorous stories and smiles on their faces.

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How to Plan a Wedding to Beginning to End
How to Plan a Wedding to Beginning to End

Nice post, I think the outdoor scene is most ideal for the casual wedding reception, maybe something close to the beach, as it will offer better scenery at no extra cost to you.


Love casual summertime receptions that are held on the beach, at picnic venues in parks, or near a lake. Add in some games and a local caterer and you've got one fun party.


Opting for a casual wedding reception is a wonderful idea because you will enjoy the company of those closest to you such as family and good friends. You must give all the information needed to ensure that they would be wearing the appropriate attire for the occasion.

Crystal L.
Crystal L.

For some reason, it never occurred to me that I could customize and create my own wedding invites! I'm actually very fluent in photoshop and stuff so it shouldn't be too hard for me! We are going to save a ton on design costs!


Exactly! Thank you for reading.

Amy R.
Amy R.

Having self-serve will definitely save everyone time and money at our reception. We are trying to be very low key about it and make it more like a casual party. I'll even borrow the pitchers from a close friend so we'll really only be paying for the drinks. Score!


Awesome, hope you have so much fun!


Do you know if there are any companies out there that would custom build us a dance floor? I figured that it might be cheaper than actually renting one and paying for people to set it up. We just don't have the time to try and build it ourselves.


For sure, ask your wedding planner for local events subcontractor recommendations!

Mindy Jollie
Mindy Jollie

I love the look of the soft drapey fabric used for the photobooth backdrop. I imagine that would be flattering for just about everyone. My cousin is getting married in a few months and has started planning her reception more intently. I hope she chooses a nice venue where she can play around with the decor a little and try some of your suggestions.


Yes we agree about the backdrop! Thank you for reading.