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

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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.