Ballroom weddings are popular for a reason—they can be pretty darn seamless to plan. You have a seasoned on-site staff to work with, ballrooms are typically part of hotels (so you have an easy place for out-of-town guests to stay), and they can easily accommodate nearly any size of wedding. But we’d be lying if we said the everyday ballroom wedding was dripping in personality. With divider walls abound and unappealing patterns on carpets (hello, hunter green stripes or burgundy scrolls), adding character and energy to typical ballroom spaces takes some serious strategy. Today, then, we’re breaking down our top five design tips for breathing life into bland ballroom weddings. Read on!


1. Cover those carpets.


We can’t stress this one enough. If the ballroom you’ve booked is covered in unsightly carpeting, ask your wedding planner about options to cover it up. Depending on your budget, you can lay temporary carpets from wall-to-wall, bring in area rugs and textiles to cover certain areas of the carpet, or even lay temporary hardwood floors down.


2. Add some greenery.

When it comes to a ballroom wedding, the more greenery the better. The right florals and greenery will really help to breathe life into an otherwise bland space.Think about bringing the outdoors in with beautiful floral garlands and—our favorite option—stunning floral chandeliers. Work with your florist to see what she can create within your budget. Your goal is to draw your guests’ eyes away from unsightly carpets or boring divider walls—a massive floral chandelier above the dance floor will help to draw eyes up, while lush floral garlands along tables, bar-fronts, and doors will add energy and color into the bland space.


3. Cover divider walls.


If your ballroom has a divider wall, work with your wedding planner to figure out strategic ways to cover it up (without drawing more attention to it). Leaving it completely blank will end up feeling like you’ve forgotten something in your wedding design—but covering it in a wrong way (with cheap fabrics or shoddy paper) will make it stand out like a sore thumb. We love companies like Drop it Modern for super chic, one-of-a-kind backdrops that can be used to cover those bland divider walls, or, for those with a larger budget, see if you can’t lean large living walls chock-full of succulents and greenery along the divider wall. Textiles are another great, less expensive option—have your wedding planner or designer pull some options and hang a wall of pretty fabric in front of the divider wall.

4. Lighting, lighting, and more lighting.

The number-one way to transform a venue—no matter the space—is strategic lighting. From up-lighting to charming market lights to romantic candlelight, figure out what kind of lighting is feasible for your ballroom wedding, calculate what you can afford, and go hog-wild. The more mood lighting, the better. Plus, lit marquee letters can also work to really add character to your space (think about hanging them on or leaning them against a divider wall as an option to dress it up a bit). (Psst...check out more wedding lighting inspo here!)


5. Encourage an open-air flow....or create an entirely separate world.

If your ballroom faces the ocean, a stunning lake, or even just has a nice outdoor patio attached, take full advantage of that. If weather and venue regulations permit, consider keeping doors propped open during your reception, giving the ballroom more of an open-air feel. You don’t want your guests to feel like they’re celebrating in a box. On the flip side of that, if your ballroom is in a basement or doesn’t have glass doors and/or an attached patio, you want the space your guests enter to feel like a world in and of itself. From lighting to cocktail selection to decor, everything about the space should create an atmosphere in line with your overall wedding aesthetic—transport them to India with endless color and fun textiles, or take them to a secret garden with a space dripping in greenery and lush florals.


Overall, adding character to a ballroom wedding is all about making strategic design choices within your budget. Know what items will give you the biggest bang for your buck—like lighting and greenery—and spend what you can there before moving on to less impactful design items. And, as always, working with a seasoned wedding planner will ensure your ballroom wedding is as swanky and stunning as possible!

Photo courtesy Orange County wedding photographer Kristina Adams

Orange County wedding planner LVL Weddings and Events

Orange County luxury wedding venue Pelican Hill Resort