Creating an intimate lounge at your reception gives guests a place to go when they want to relax, take a break from dancing, or get away from their tablemates! Fill it with comfortable furnishings and give it a low-key vibe, and guests will be more than happy to hang there. Depending on your venue, the lounge can be set up anywhere there's extra space, including an area near the main reception room, in a cozy room nearby, or even an outdoor space. Here's how to easily create an additional go-to place for guests.
Match the lounge's look and ambiance with the wedding's style.
If your wedding is formal, for example, with myriad touches of gold and ivory, your lounge should follow that decorating lead. "The lounge should be a mini version of the wedding," says Maureen Petrosky, an entertaining and lifestyle expert. If your centerpieces are voluminous arrangements of roses and sweet peas, order a smaller version for the lounge; if your wedding colors are lavender and green, use them in the lounge on everything from the throw pillows to the lighting.
Load it with comforts.
Since the goal of the lounge is to offer a place for guests to chill, fill it with plush chairs or couches, a few small tables to hold drinks, a rug, and whatever else says "comfort" to you. Keep it affordable by working with what the space already has, suggests Petrosky. And don't worry if the venue's furniture isn't your style: "You can change a vibe by simply draping faux furs over the chairs," she says. Don't forget to check out home stores—purchasing what you need may be less expensive than renting it. And you get to keep everything!
Lighten things up.
Bright lights aren't conducive to a cozy, relaxing environment, so aim for layered lighting instead. That means dimming the overheads and using lamps that have a three-way setting, strands of twinkle lights, and loads of candles.
Figure out if you need al fresco amenities.
If the lounge is on a lawn or other outdoor spot, you may need a tent and flooring. "It all depends on where you are and what weather elements you expect to deal with," says Petrosky. Providing warmth is essential too: If your wedding is during a season where the nights get chilly, guests will appreciate sitting around a fire pit or draped in blankets or pashminas. If you live in a particularly hot area, offer a shaded spot to ward off the blazing sun during afternoon weddings.
Make drinks available.
Mingling with a cocktail in hand is a fun part of being in a lounge. But you don't need a separate bar as long as there are enough bars in the main reception area, advises Petrosky. "However, it is nice to offer a signature cocktail that's already poured, as well as prepoured bubbly, as guests enter the lounge area," she says. If you're serving drinks, you should also serve food, so set out some simple snacks like cheese and crackers for everyone to nibble.