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{LDS How-to} Transform a Cultural Hall into a Wedding Reception

LDS Living staff - February 11, 2011

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How to turn a cultural hall into a reception hall.

Not that basketball hoops, brown carpeted walls, and accordion dividers aren’t fabulous décor for a wedding, but a bride usually wants a little more glamour when it comes to this special day. So how can you transform a church cultural hall into a beautiful reception? Easy!

1. Reserve the venue. As soon as you have a wedding date you need to call the stake clerk. The cultural hall can be booked as far as three months out, so the sooner the better.

2. Make it cozy. If your cultural hall is a larger space than you need, use the dividers to make the room smaller. For obvious reasons, it’s easier to decorate a smaller area, but also, a large, empty space is less inviting than a smaller, more intimate one.

3. Camouflage the ceiling. There’s nothing wrong with bringing in a big, white tent to hide the ceiling tile. No tent? Instead, create the illusion of one by draping sheer fabric from the middle of the ceiling down to each wall. Or you can create a dropped-ceiling effect by draping the fabric straight across the room. You might also consider hanging flowers, pom-poms balls or any type of décor on strings from the ceiling.

4. Hide the walls. Again, draping fabric over the walls is a great way to hide them and add elegance to the cultural hall. Set up plants along the walls for further concealment.

5. Add mood lighting. Try not to use the harsh lights from the cultural hall. Instead, bring in all your own lighting; the softer light is more flattering. For a European look, string lights from one wall to the other in parallel rows. You can amp up the look by attaching paper lanterns. Another idea is to hang netted lights along the walls. Make sure to bring floor lamps to set up around the perimeter.

6. Add pretty props. A cultural halls can be transformed into outdoor gardens with added props like trickling fountains, fake plants (like Baroque-style hedges), columns, arches, etc. You can rent items like these, or even borrow them from neighbors’ gardens.

7. Decorate beyond the cultural hall. Who says you can’t decorate the hallway and entryway leading up to your reception? Continue your reception’s theme from the front doors all the way to the cultural hall. Your guests will never even feel like they’re in a church building.

© LDS Living 2011.
Comments 5 comments

cherylmja said...

12:46 PM
on Feb 19, 2011

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I love your ideas! Thanks for sharing those. I was told we couldn't use water features in the cultural halls...at least in our stake we can't. Cheryl

mamahewie said...

05:22 PM
on Feb 19, 2011

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We had great success using a parachute to "tent" the ceiling. White with a string of white Christmas-style lights attached to the perimeter. Some guest not familiar with the bare "cultural hall" motif didn't even know they were on a basketball court. And a hip-hip hurrah for netted lighting on the wall panels covered with scrunched up white toule. Thanks for your other suggestions !

loh09 said...

01:44 PM
on Feb 23, 2011

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These are fantastic ideas! Is there any way to see pictures of these ideas?

ashwalk said...

09:43 AM
on May 03, 2011

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I am not even getting married, but this is a great idea for the future.

dgj said...

10:07 PM
on May 13, 2011

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I have helped many people decorate the cultural hall for a wedding reception and I have yet to see a really good cost effective solution. It still looks like a cultural hall. If money is an issue I would recommend asking a ward member who has a nice home or backyard if they would be willing to host your wedding reception and offer to pay for cleaning the home (both before and after) or ground crew to come and manicure the lawn. They will be flattered that you asked them. An outdoor reception in a nice backyard is 10 times better then any cultural hall reception. If you spend so much time and money on decorating and little time on enjoying the whole process of getting married....I think you have missed the point. Keep things simple and you'll have a better wedding.
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