Pool Décor for Wedding Receptions
When having your wedding reception in a private home or golf club that has a swimming pool, there are several different ways of handling pool décor. This is a tricky element because in many cases the pool is already one of the biggest visual elements in the space. Part of the pool décor answer comes down to budget and yet it is also not something that demands your attention.
The good news is that people are used to seeing pools; they know what they look like, they are used to walking around them and for the most part there is not much that’s interesting about them (unless that’s where you keep your pet dolphin). The point is, if you do nothing, no one will miss it because most guests ignore the familiar and notice the extra enhancements on the buffets, tables, and bar. However, if you do want to devote some dollars to the pool, don’t be cheap. It’s a big space so you have to go big. Here are three ideas that work well.
- Large floating floral displays. Often built on Styrofoam disks at least 48” round, your florist can create a stunning arrangement that ties in with your theme and color. This should be positioned in the center of the pool (I actually recommend 2 of these for most rectangular pools) and anchored with fishing line either to a weight at the bottom of the pool or tied off to anchor points around the perimeter.
- For a softer look, lanterns mixed with large tropical leaves and a scattering of rose petals looks nice. Lightweight lanterns are also built on floating disks that can also display a small floral accent. The candle inside the lantern is best as a sealed, long-burning oil candle. These need to be lighted earlier in the evening before guests arrive. The tricky thing with this method is that the wind will have its way with anything floating. Even a gentle breeze will move everything to the sides or corners so I recommend actually installing this display in the corners. You’ll need at least flour lanterns or more to create a decent display per area. Again, let your florist or production company recommend the best way to make this happen. Everyone has their own installation trick for this one.
- The last method that we’ve had some fun with is a touch whimsical. Large inflatables pool characters like swans, flamingos, rings, even simple colored orbs; anything that’s fun to look at, unexpected and ties in someway with the character of the bride or groom. I still recommend using several of these (or filling the pool completely) and anchoring these somewhere so they don’t spend their whole evening in the corner.
With any method including doing nothing, lighting is key. You’ve got to eliminate the glare of the bright blue water. Change the lighting with a dark plastic pool light cover or get your lighting company to gel the lights. One of our most recent backyard weddings had a pool with LED lighting that was remote controlled so I was able to make it a deep, dark romantic blue. If you can’t do that, then don’t be afraid to simply turn the pool lights completely off and treat the pool as a pond or lake. Surround it with candles (set in glass hurricanes) and let the candlelight reflect off the water surface. Don’t worry about the threat of your guests falling in the pool. In 25 years this has never happened at any of my weddings on accident. Your guests don’t want to fall in either and will make every attempt to avoid this unpleasant mistake.