Maddie and Sam are thrilled because they hosted a beautiful, personal wedding reception on a budget! Their sister-in-law, Faith, made it happen.

What if I told you that you could decorate your reception venue on a budget, or even for FREE?

I have honestly never been so impressed.

Maddie and Sam had planned all along to hold their wedding ceremony on a Friday and the reception on a Saturday. This meant I was not going to be there to capture their reception, and I was a bit disappointed, to say the least. Maddie and Sam are from a close-knit Wisconsin community filled with love and support for the happy couple. I really wanted to see what kind of warm and inviting space they would create to celebrate with their friends and families. Color me thrilled when Maddie offered to have her sister-in-law, Faith, a.k.a. party planner extraordinaire give me a sneak peek of the reception space.

You guys. She did this all (except the balloons) for free. And what's even more impressive!? She did it in just two days. Find out how below:

white bench at wisconsin wedding reception
green bench at wisconsin wedding reception
two chairs and three flower hoops on the wall at a wisconsin wedding reception
glass bottles with flowers in them at a wisconsin wedding reception on a budget
plants in pots at a wisconsin wedding reception
three drawers stacked up with flowers coming out of them as wisconsin wedding reception decor
story about the bride's dress and photos of the women who wore it before her on a table at a wedding reception
budget wedding reception details like a wooden box, candles, and glass jars
white shutters with candles and balloons at a wisconsin wedding
close up of table reserved sign surrounded by candles at a wisconsin wedding reception
L-O-V-E sign on top of a bookshelf at a wisconsin wedding reception
small potted plants and a watering can on top of an antique trunk
green milk pail with a lot of flowers at a wisconsin wedding reception
framed photographs of women wearing wedding dresses at a wisconsin wedding reception
gift table with a balloon arch at a wedding reception

Five Ways to Decorate your Wedding Reception on a Budget

  1. Define the space. Maddie and Sam's wedding reception was held in a large building in western Wisconsin that housed boats, trailers, and other equipment in one end, while a stage took precedence along one side. In order to block the boat and trailer end visually, Faith brought in a mountain of hay bales and propped vintage doors against the hay to create a visually appealing "wall." She hid the stage behind Sam and Maddie's "sweetheart table" that was surrounded with a large, trailing balloon arch and candles galore. This created a casual and inviting space while disguising some of the space's other uses in a really clever way!
  2. Upcycle large pieces. Maddie and Faith took a drive through town a couple days before the wedding and collected shelving, seating, and architectural pieces from many of their friends' and neighbors' farms. They pressure-washed all of these pieces to give them new life and make them suitable for a fun, casual celebration. The large tables, benches, and shelving were placed throughout the room to define certain areas of the space: gift table, conversation areas, informational tidbits (wait till you hear the story about Maddie's wedding dress!), and food service spaces were clearly distinguishable.
  3. Personalize. Faith used incredibly personal touches to fill Maddie and Sam's wedding reception space with tributes to their unique relationship. Guests were invited into Sam and Maddie's love story through her use of family photos, treasured books, cozy blankets, and other belongings that have been special in the development of their relationship. Most of these items were displayed prominently on some of the larger pieces that were upcycled during the week. There was an entire bookshelf filled with photos of Sam and Maddie, and a dresser top was covered in photos of the many women who've worn parts of Maddie's wedding dress in the past (have I mentioned it's an awesome story!?).
  4. Group, group, group. One candle looks nice, and a dozen mismatched candles looks eclectic and warm. A grouping of chairs and benches invites cozy conversation. A collection of framed photographs invites guests to stop and reminisce. A bunch of shallow baskets create the perfect backdrop for the "LOVE" feature on top of a bookshelf. Groupings of items bring cohesion to a space and make every mismatched piece look incredibly intentional.
  5. Green it up. Faith scattered greenery all throughout the space by using both faux and real flowers and plants. She draped greenery out of stacked up dresser drawers for a bit of whimsy and wrapped burlap around standard black plastic 2" pots to add a soft touch. No surface was left un-greened; there were plants and flowers tucked in among the chairs and benches; little flowers shared shelf space with photos of Maddie and Sam; even the gift table was graced with some cheerful sunflowers. The layering of the plants in with the rest of the wedding reception decor really made everything so cohesive and calm and happy.
discount wedding reception idea: fill an upcycled bookshelf with framed photos of the couple

Bookshelf filled with photos of the happy couple, edged with plants galore!

Groups of candles all over every table in the space; the Sweetheart Table disguises the stage area behind it.

Sam and Maddie's "Sweetheart Table"

Are you inspired?

What do you love the most about what Faith, Maddie, and Sam created for Maddie and Sam's Wisconsin wedding reception? Do you love the warm, casual atmosphere? The fact that it was done almost completely for FREE?! Get in touch with Faith over on her Instagram @4everrmemories or send me a message and let me know what you LOVE about this wedding reception on a budget!