If you have a long guest list for your wedding reception, you'll need a venue that is big enough to hold everyone comfortably. While you may prefer a romantic, intimate space, it won't accommodate a small army of reception-goers, especially if they'll be dancing throughout the night.

A good venue option when hosting a large wedding reception is a banquet hall, which can be a stand-alone space or part of a hotel or other structure. Although the halls can be seen as sterile spaces, you can personalize it and add warmth with the right decor pieces and lighting elements. 

Here are a few banquet hall decorating tips for wedding receptions:

1. Divide the Area Up 

One way to give the cavernous space a warmer, more intimate feel is by dividing it up into several smaller areas where guests can mix and mingle. You can use either decorative screens, partitions, silky flowing sheets, or a combination of all three items to dive the hall up.

You can create separate areas for cake-cutting, dancing, present-opening, and dining, as well as other activities. If you're creating a space for guests to mingle and talk, be sure to provide an adequate amount of comfortable seating options.

2. Add Warm Lighting Elements 

Another way to create the feel of a cozier space is with soft lighting elements. Rather than light the entire hall with bright, fluorescent overhead bulbs, wrap white string lights around pillars, posts, and railings if possible. 

Hanging lanterns filled with LED lights from ceiling beams will give the space a romantic touch and a soft glow. You can also use decorative pillar candles as table centerpieces.

3. Work in Splashes of Color 

Personalize the large area by decorating with the wedding theme colors, such as pink and gray or red and black. Add pops of color via tablecloths, runners, chair covers, and even vases of flowers. If you're using standard white tablecloths, go with colorful cloth napkins to brighten up the look.

If you're on a budget, balloons are another way to work specific hues into your banquet hall. You can tape them to pillars, create a whimsical entrance archway, or just let them float freely to the ceiling. 

4. Create a Centerpiece 

When decorating a big hall for a wedding reception, set up one area as the room's focal point. This will bring the guests' focus to one main space and make the venue seem less cavernous. 

Focal point ideas include a bridal cake table or a dance floor.