35 Romantic Ideas for Your Wedding Reception

Wow-them ways to share the love at your dream reception.

Set the Scene

1. Hold your festivities at the site where your husband-to-be proposed. One couple held their wedding at the majestic Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, where the groom had proposed a year earlier. Since he'd popped the question in a horse-drawn carriage, they treated guests to their own romantic rides.

bride and groom kissing
Photo Credit: Tanja Lippert Photography

2. Let your site inspire your wedding look. Engaged at the Eiffel Tower? Incorporate a Parisian theme into everything from your save-the-date cards to the napkins at your cocktail hour. (And consider a gorgeous French-style croquembouche cake, a wonderful cream-puff pastry covered with caramel.)

3. Some locales are inherently romantic: Choose a vineyard, a botanical garden, a lush backyard with beautiful plantings or an old mansion with chandeliers, ornate mantelpieces and a landscaped garden for guests to roam in. With naturally gorgeous backdrops like these, you just can’t go wrong!

4. Consider the hues you use. For a fairy-tale romance effect, try a color scheme of pinks, whites and silvers. Or use shades of red, from the palest pink to luscious watermelon to a deep rose. If you prefer a more sensual, romantic ambience, choose a palette of strong, passionate reds.

blue and purple wedding
Photo Credit: Tanja Lippert Photography

5. Lighting sets the stage for romance. Have a lighting specialist create a special glow for your first dance.You might project your married monogram or a simple, swirling design onto the dance floor. It never fails to get guests out there to kick up their heels.

6. One idea for a very romantic looking table: a white linen tablecloth covered with a pink overlay. Tuck a tiny, perfect rosebud into each guest’s pale pink napkin. A centerpiece might include varieties of pink blooms, such as roses, orchids and tulips.

7. Masses of candles will warm everyone’s heart. Float them in glass bowls or cluster some in various heights on tables. At an outdoor wedding, you can achieve a magical effect by suspending dozens of tiny electric candles in small glass globes from tree branches. And don’t forget to consider nestling pretty Japanese lanterns among the branches — utterly enchanting!

wedding candles
Photo Credit: Sinclair and Moore

8. Sheer fabrics make a romantic statement. Use lengths of tulle or organza as table runners. Adorn windows, mantels and doorways with gorgeous swags of the same fabrics.

9. Have table cards printed with the “firsts” of your romance. The two of you can write these together. Use them instead of standard table numbers — for example, one table would be the “First Kiss” table and another would be the “First Date” table and so on.

10. A somewhat different version of this idea: Have romantic facts about the two of you printed on cards, and place one on each reception table. Put the cards in holders so guests can pass them around and enjoy them. For inspiration, think about the most romantic thing you’ve done for each other, how the groom proposed or your favorite thing to do as a couple. You could also include a line from a movie, song or poem that is special to you.

11. Put friends’ and families’ wedding photos on display. This is a wonderfully inclusive way to show how much you appreciate the encouragement and support from everyone who loves you.

Next: Sweet and sentimental wedding ideas ►