Designing your dream wedding can be a lot of fun—but it can also be overwhelming, with a million wedding decor checklist items to consider. This includes everything from wedding arches, to floral arrangements, to table decor. While in the past, decor could be pretty similar from wedding to wedding, these days, your big day is a canvas for your personal style and tastes. There are endless creative wedding ideas for you to take inspiration from, meaning that you can be as individual as you like.

Whether you lean towards the unexpected or the traditional, your decor decisions should mirror your love story. As event designer Sugar Taylor puts it, “Décor ties your energy together as a couple in a tangible way…it communicates the joy of being together.”

Whatever kind of theme you’re dreaming of for your New Jersey celebration, our expert wedding decor checklist will ensure that no detail is overlooked. Let’s look at various elements to consider for your ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception. Hopefully, you’ll find plenty of inspiration.

Wedding ceremony decor

Floral arrangement on wedding table

Welcome sign

Offer a warm New Jersey welcome with a sign that sets the scene for your celebration. Choose welcome signage style that aligns with your overall wedding aesthetic, such as incorporating elements like florals, calligraphy, or personalized touches that showcase your unique love story. Whether it’s a rustic wooden board or elegant mirror, your welcome sign creates a strong first impression, inviting everyone to step into the magical world that you’ve created.

Program display

A program display is your wedding’s itinerary, keeping guests informed about the flow of events, from ceremony, to cocktail hour, to reception. Choose a display that complements your overall decor, whether that’s a sleek acrylic board, a vintage-style chalkboard, or an elegant framed print. Include details like the order of ceremony, names of the bridal party, and any special notes or dedications. Make your program display an extension of your wedding theme, incorporating colors and fonts that match your overall aesthetic.

Aisle Markers

Aisle markers guide your way down the path of love, adding a touch of elegance to your ceremony space. Markers can take various forms, from floral arrangements, to enchanting lanterns, to simple bows tied to the sides of chairs. Consider your wedding aesthetic when choosing aisle markers—for instance, rustic mason jars for a country wedding, delicate flowers for a garden affair, or atmospheric lanterns for a nighttime wedding. Aisle markers not only define your walkway but also contribute to the overall styling of your ceremony, adding to the atmosphere.

Aisle runner

An aisle runner transforms your ceremony space, adding a sense of grandeur and style to that all-important walk down the aisle. Choose a material and design that complements your wedding theme, whether it’s a classic white runner for a traditional wedding, or a personalized one featuring your monogrammed initials and wedding date. Consider the venue’s flooring and colors when selecting the aisle runner to ensure it matches the overall aesthetic. 

Wedding arch

A wedding arch frames that amazing moment when you make your vows, creating a stunning backdrop for your ceremony. These days, wedding arches can come in many shapes, sizes, and styles, including rustic arches, minimalist metal frames, draped in beautiful fabrics like organza, surrounded by lanterns, or covered in traditional flowers. Consider incorporating elements such as greenery, neon signs, or personal touches like photos or meaningful quotes. Your wedding arch is a focal point that ties together your ceremony and theme.

Vow book

Vow books are a sentimental detail that add a personal touch to your ceremony. These books are keepsakes to treasure forever, preserving the promises exchanged between you and your love. Your style of vow book can express your personal tastes, whether that’s an elegant leather-bound journal, boho craft notebook, or sleekly modern design. You can also get a customized vow book with your names, wedding date, and meaningful quotes. 

Ring pillow for your ring bearer

The ring pillow holds your wedding rings and adds a timeless regal touch to your ceremony. Your pillow could come in many styles, including classic white velvet, country-style burlap, or covered in romantic lace. You could even choose a heart-shaped pillow for extra romance. 

Or if you’re having a retro wedding, then you could choose a pillow in the popular fabrics and patterns of your era, for instance, a geometric design for an Art Deco wedding. You could also add pretty personalized embroidery, such as your shared initials. 

Cocktail Hour Decor

Signature drink signage

If you’re serving signature cocktails at your wedding, then signage will showcase your unique beverage and encourage guests to try it. Make sure that the fonts, colors, and illustrations all match your wedding look. You could even use your sign to share the story of your signature drink, for instance, letting guests know that it was inspired by cocktails that you had on your first date.

Guest book table

Your guest book table is a hub for collecting well wishes and memories from your loved ones. You can design the table to align with your wedding aesthetic and include visual elements like florals, framed photos, or personalized signage. 

There are plenty of wedding guest book styles to choose from, whether it’s a classic journal, a unique alternative like a signing board or stones, or even a creative interactive display. The guest book table lets your guests express their love and become an active part of your wedding story.


Lighting is a big wedding design element that can enhance the mood and atmosphere of your cocktail hour. Whether it’s ethereal fairy lights, pretty lanterns, or grand chandeliers, choose lighting that expresses your personal style. 

It’s also a good idea to think about your venue’s architecture and layout when planning lighting design, including opportunities for creating highlights and focal points. Lighting not only illuminates your space, it also creates an intimate ambiance while your guests mingle and sip your signature cocktail.

Cocktail napkins

It might sound like a small detail, but carefully chosen cocktail napkins can add a thoughtful touch to your drinks hour. Aim to match your napkins to your wedding colors and styling, plus add an extra flourish by personalizing them with your monogrammed initials, wedding date, or a romantic quote. 

This way, your cocktail napkins become more than just practical accessories—they add a touch of extra elegance to your mingler. Cocktail napkins are also an especially important detail if you are planning a cocktail-style wedding.

Reception decor

Memory table

Your memory table is a thoughtful tribute to loved ones who are present in spirit. Design your table with care, incorporating photos, mementos, lanterns, flowers, quotes, or candles that honor them. Your memory table is a place of reflection and remembrance, adding a sentimental touch to your celebration and helping you to feel closer to absent loved ones. So think carefully about its placement, perhaps choosing a quieter, more peaceful corner of your space, or situating it beside the doorway as guests arrive at your reception.

Table centerpieces

Centerpieces are the focal points of your reception tables, showcasing your wedding theme, tying everything together, and adding visual interest. Whether it’s floral arrangements, candles, or unique decor items, choose centerpieces that showcase your personal style. Consider varying heights and textures to create dimension, and consider adding striking features like hurricane candles, circular test tube table vases, or flamboyant feathers.

Table runner

A table runner adds a touch of elegance and continuity to your reception tables. Choose runners that complement your overall table decor, whether it’s a simple and elegant fabric strip, a lush garland, a bolt of bold color like scarlet. You could even have personalized runners featuring your names and wedding date. 

Also consider the length and width to ensure it suits the table size and style, plus choose a fabric and color that complement your theme. Popular wedding runner fabrics include cotton and linen, plus you can jazz them up by choosing metallic colors, or designs with sequins and sparkles.        

Place cards

While place cards have the practical purpose of guiding your guests to their seats, you can also use them to add a personal touch. Carefully chosen calligraphy, cards in unusual geometric shapes, or rustic pine wood card holders can all add a touch of individuality and flair. 

Table chargers

Wedding table chargers are decorative plates that add an extra layer of elegance to each place setting. Design ideas include striking metallic finishes for a touch of glamor, beautiful marble effects for classic romance, or wooden chargers for a more homespun feel. 

Glass chargers can look particularly elegant and are ideal for a minimalist wedding, while white chargers encircled by gold are a classic choice. Also make sure that your chargers complement your dinnerware, table linen, and centerpieces.


Candles are timeless decor elements that add warmth and romance to your reception tables. You could choose candles in varying sizes and styles to create visual interest, arranging pillar candles, tea lights, and elegant tapers together. 

Also consider incorporating grand candelabras or flickering lanterns for extra visual interest. Your choice of candle color should complement your overall wedding styling, from classic white or ivory, to glamorous gold, to dramatic jet-colored candles for an all-black wedding.

Dinner menus

Menus guide guests through your culinary journey while adding a stylish touch to each place setting. When choosing your wedding menu style, consider elements like typography, illustrations, color combinations, paper stock types, and detailing like gold leaf. 

You could also consider creative ways to display your menus, including decorating them with feathers, pampas grass, or feathers, tucking them into rustic wooden holders, or even folding them into playful origami shapes such as swans. Some couples are even foregoing traditional menus altogether and displaying their courses on stylish boards or even written on bespoke vinyl records.

Gift table

Your gift table is the place where your guests can leave cards, presents, and money envelopes for you. You can have a lot of fun designing this area, including adding decorative card boxes, pretty tablecloths, florals, lightning, and personalized signage expressing your gratitude. Just make sure to choose the right size of table to accommodate all your gifts. 

Cake topper

Your topper completes your wedding cake, adding style and personality to your dessert table. While you can choose the classic, much-loved miniature bride and groom, you can also have a lot of fun with your topper design. 

Think about adding a signage-style topper displaying your initials, cute animals representing your personalities, or even quirky dessert-style toppers such as pretty macarons artfully arranged on top of your cake. Your topper can be classic, elegant, or playful, so think about how it expresses your love story. 

Ready for your big day?

Hopefully, you’ve found lots of inspiration from our expert wedding checklist. And if you’re looking for the perfect New Jersey wedding venue for the festive season, then the recently revamped Il Tulipano in Cedar Grove is the romantic destination of your dreams. From our chandelier ballroom to our stunning Italian gardens, there’s a reception space for you.

Want more wedding tips? Head over to our blog.