Our Favorite Restaurant Wedding Décor Ideas
Couples choose to tie the knot at restaurants—or at least hold their receptions at one—for many reasons, most of which revolve around nostalgia or food. Maybe it's the site of your first date; perhaps it's your go-to date night café that serves up some of the best traditional Italian fare (as close to Mom's as possible) in town. Either way, an eatery's aesthetic isn't always number one on duos' priority lists—and that's something we'd like to change.
While nothing beats out food or sentimentality, there's something to be said about a curated, visually-pleasing space that provides a backdrop for wedding décor. The gist? Don't disregard design entirely when searching for your restaurant venue. Believe us, you won't have to: As you're about to discover, you absolutely don't have to sacrifice on style to host your big day at a restaurant (in fact, some eateries feel as upscale as full-blown wedding venues). Whether you're searching for a space that has a built-in design style to build upon or a neutral blank slate that allows you to bring your vision to life from start to finish, there are plenty of restaurant wedding décor ideas on the slides ahead—there's bound to be one that resonates with you.
From easy-to-recreate ceremony structures that are simple to construct inside of a bistro to pretty floral arrangements that make your go-to table, the one you sit at every Saturday, feel special enough for your celebration (we love this floor masterpiece by Lettre à Élise Events!), get ready to bookmark the following details—they'll teach you how to highlight the space's built-in statement décor moments or make the locale feel a bit more like your own.
The biggest mistake a couple can make when decorating their restaurant wedding venue? Fighting against its as-is interior design. That's why it's important to select a venue you love for more than just its cuisine: It's aesthetic matters and should feel cohesive with your own. This couple worked within Il Buco Alimentari's décor landscape when ideating their event design. The copper chairs' patina finish referenced the mint bookcases along the walls; Nous NY curated simple tabletop elements, like a fruit garland, taupe taper candles, and muted linens (courtesy of Samantha Verrone) that fit into the brick-walled rustic setting, while Bourgeon by Amy Febinger's small floral arrangements added a touch of color.
Spotlight your eatery venue's built-in highlights on the big day, like this couple did here by lighting the statement fireplace for the duration of their reception at Stable Café. Christina Mille of LRE Catering was responsible for the rest of the party's design, which included micro centerpieces from Heirloommade.
Though your event's formality will likely depend on the restaurant's style (it'd be difficult to plan a laid-back party in a room with ornate details, like velvet furniture, crystal chandeliers, and intricate crown molding, for example), more often than not, this venue type connotes a casual celebration. Decorate accordingly by skipping lush, over-the-top centerpieces and opting for small iterations that work well in clusters, instead. Vintage glass bottles were the perfect vessels for these tiny arrangements by Aesme; each was composed of just a few stems. Knot & Pop added modern brass candlesticks and a Himalayan salt rock to complete the vignette.
Since a café or bistro is often a lot less visible than a massive banquet hall, it might be necessary to flag the destination for your guests (especially those who don't know the area well). A calligraphed welcome sidewalk sign is a simple way to help your attendees orient themselves—plus, it's a fun nod to your restaurant locale (who doesn't love reading punny bistro signs on the way to brunch?).
If you're on the fence about hosting a restaurant wedding, there's one key detail that's probably holding you back: the venue's natural light source (or lack thereof). That's a real concern—especially when you start to consider photography. One easy solution? Choose an eatery that's practically outdoors, like New York City's Palma (the Italian spot boasts a glass atrium-inspired roof!). Flooded with natural light, your reception area—this party featured florals from Designs by Ahn—will photograph perfectly.
Less Is More
When your bistro locale has an aesthetic as distinct as Paris' Pink Mamma, keep any additional décor moments to a minimum. The only addition to this extra-long tropically-upholstered booth? A few overhead greenery garlands, which dressed up the space's simple gold candelabras—and played right into the rest of the restaurant's lush plantlife.
Hosting your event in a multi-level restaurant? Don't overlook the staircase that connects each of your event spaces. Simply by Tamara Nicole worked with Gather Design Company to deck out the banister of this modern staircase; pampas grass and whimsical, wildflower-inspired blooms brought a touch of bohemian flair to the otherwise contemporary interior.
If you've chosen a locale with a neutral color palette, feel free to get creative with color (you won't have to worry about conflicting shade combinations in a white-walled space!). Laurie Aarons Special Events brought a tonal collection of tangerine hues to this location, which served as the ultimate blank canvas. Rust tapers from Creative Candles, halved papayas, and a minimalistic carnation garland via Saipua brought unexpected orange hues to the open-air venue.
Another way to introduce (cohesive) color into your restaurant's interior? Unique table linens. A rich navy runner—featuring gold polka dots—brought vibrant texture to this brick-walled bistro.
Thousands of people have sat inside the brunch spot you've chosen to call your wedding venue. While that's a testament to the eatery's success, knowing that the space is so frequently utilized can make it feel less special—and less like it belongs to you. An easy way to make the restaurant your own? Bring in a few rentals that subtly change its vibe. Consider adding elevated seating—take inspiration from these leather-backed beauties—for a fun twist that no one (especially your friends who've brunched there with you) will see coming.
Industrial Meets Modern
A refurbished-warehouse-turned-restaurant can serve as the backdrop for a bunch of event styles, from vintage to rustic—but we're fans of Laura Remmert Events' modern take on this space. With jet black dinnerware, inky candles, and verdant (but contemporary!) centerpieces from Peartree Flowers, this setup was unexpected in a way that didn't feel incongruous with its surroundings.
If you're also hosting your ceremony at a restaurant, bookmark this pretty backdrop by Brittany Branson and Bright Occasions. Made from drapery and a hand-painted runner, it's simple (and unobtrusive!) enough to construct against a wall. Better yet, place the structure between two of the locale's floor-to-ceiling windows for romantic natural lighting.
Here's a perfect example of how choosing wedding décor that's reflective of your venue space pays off. Hosted at San Francisco's Wayfare Tavern, this couple's moody, masculine décor perfectly tapped into the darkly-lit restaurant's vibe.
Searching for color palette inspiration for your restaurant nuptials? Look to the locale's built-in hues. This duo did just that when brainstorming their reception design. The tabletops' pink color story—translated through blooms by Sweet Woodruff—was derived from the Oretta's walls (the Art Deco-themed spot is famous for its blush and navy décor).
The best part about getting married in a restaurant? It comes with a distinct style—which means you usually don't have to bring in a ton of big-day details (if you don't want to, that is). Classic and formal, Cafe Lurcat, pictured here, boasts gorgeous black-and-white marble tiles and coordinating tables and chairs; the couple allowed the venue to lead the décor landscape and kept florals and others tabletop details to a minimum.
Here's another fun way to draw guests' attention to a café or bistro that doesn't feel like an obvious venue: a heart-shaped neon sign.
One of the best parts about a restaurant wedding venue? The built-in bar. Bring your locale's own to life by covering it in plenty of greenery, like Siren Floral Co. did here.
Use this Studio Mondine centerpiece as your guide when selecting your restaurant wedding's tabletop arrangements: Note how the display, which was kept on the smaller side, is wider than it is tall (this allows for better conversations!), thanks to crawling smokebush.
Tying the knot on a café's patio? This often means you'll be surrounded by a lot of concrete. Soften your venue's exterior by enlisting your florist to install intricate trellis-inspired vinework, like Vine Garden Market did here.