Décor Tips Tips for Your Big Day

A few custom touches make a venue personal and memorable.


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COURTESY REBECCA AND HANNAH/DOCUVITAE

It’s your day.” That’s a common refrain for any big event: wedding, bar mitzvah, and quinceañera alike. But how do you design a celebration that really feels like you?

Start by looking to your own life for inspiration. Are you a fan of a particular historical era? Maybe you really love the beach or the woods. Do you want to honor your cultural background? The best themes are borne of your personal experience. Remember, too, that a party is a holistic endeavor. So think of everything as a piece: the invitations, flowers, clothing, food, even the music. It should all sing in one voice.

Once you’ve found the direction of the day or night, it’s time to set the look of it. There’s not much variety when it comes to rental chairs and tables, but that doesn’t mean you have to stick with the same old set up. In lieu of round tables, try grouping rectangular ones into several long communal tables. People can mingle more easily that way, and it feels both current and fun.

You can easily customize your table linens, too. If you’re not a fan of the standard offerings, pair rented white cloths with your own napkins. Anthropologie, West Elm, and Sur La Table sell ones that are both beautiful and well priced. Or purchase yards of a fabric you love and have it sewn into table runners. The seamstress at your local dry cleaners should be able to do the job for a reasonable fee.

Next, consider your flowers. If your event is a wedding, don’t forget to prettify the ceremony site. Ropes of blooms make a beautiful backdrop, and rose petals are always lovely underfoot. All parties require table decorations, but there’s no need to limit yourself to big, old-fashioned arrangements. Why not try bunches of bougainvillea for a south-of-the-border gala? Or mason jars filled with peonies for a country bash? Flowers aren’t the only option, either. Both succulents and fruit make great centerpieces, and blossoming branches can provide some real dramatic flair.

Now that the stage is set, you can concentrate on the fun: Hire party cannons to shoot confetti onto the dance floor. Not only will your guests have a blast, your pictures will be spectacular. If your venue doesn’t come with comfy places to sit, consider creating a lounge area. Local company Yeah!Rentals (YeahRentals.com/sf) offers several suites of hip furniture, including couches, chairs, and tables. Your guests will love to kick back and enjoy the scene in style.

Even though this is your day, the party is for your friends and family, too, and it’s your job to ensure that everyone has a good time. One thing all guests want is to feel involved, so make that easy for them. Rent a photo booth, and invite people to ham it up. Ask your friend with great musical taste to take a turn at the DJ table. Or have your caterer incorporate some family recipes into the menu.

Follow this guide, and you’ll end up with the best kind of celebration: one that feels both tailor-made for you, and unforgettable for the people you love.

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