The Making of a Memorable Wedding Brunch at HGTV Dream Home 2019

Hosting a pre-wedding brunch is a great way to kick off the festivities and celebrate the happy couple. Here's how to plan a party that will welcome and wow your guests, and start the countdown to "happily ever after"—in style.

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February 18, 2019
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Photo By: Robert Peterson

Photo By: Robert Peterson

Photo By: Robert Peterson

Photo By: Robert Peterson

Photo By: Robert Peterson

Photo By: Robert Peterson

Photo By: Robert Peterson

Photo By: Robert Peterson

Photo By: Robert Peterson

Photo By: Robert Peterson

Photo By: Robert Peterson

Photo By: Robert Peterson

Photo By: Robert Peterson

Photo By: Robert Peterson

Photo By: Robert Peterson

Photo By: Robert Peterson

Photo By: Robert Peterson

Photo By: Robert Peterson

Photo By: Robert Peterson

Photo By: Robert Peterson

Photo By: Robert Peterson

Photo By: Robert Peterson

Photo By: Robert Peterson

Photo By: Robert Peterson

Photo By: Robert Peterson

Photo By: Robert Peterson

Photo By: Robert Peterson

Photo By: Robert Peterson

Photo By: Robert Peterson

Photo By: Robert Peterson

Make a Scene

Extending your décor beyond the actual tabletop will help turn your home into a very special destination. Here, textural layers both on the table and in the surrounding area—glossy plates, soft blankets, papery hanging poufs—in a single bold accent color welcome guests in celebratory style.

Get the Prep Work Done Early

Don't wait until the last minute to set the table. Enlist help and get all the decorating finished early in the morning before the brunch, or, better yet, a day or two before. That will give you time to step back and admire your work—and notice if there's anything you’ve forgotten or could add to make an even bolder impact.

Treat Your Guests

A beautifully set table will immediately let guests how special they are, but you can elevate the appreciation factor even more with a hand-written place card at every seat. For best effect, choose a card holder that ties in to your design theme. Here, a mini-antler is in perfect keeping with the western locale and lodge styling of the home.

Keep it Casual

Even if you’re decorating to the nines, your guests will have more fun if you take care to create an atmosphere that's comfortable and relaxed. Choosing down-home patterns like a bold buffalo check and bright colors as accents will keep the mood light and fun. Comfy seats help, too!

Go High

Table set? Don't stop there: Extend your design theme all the way up to the ceiling, hanging whimsical pompoms, wedding-themed decorations, and even simple curling ribbon to help turn your dining table into a show-stopping focal point.

Make Every Seat Special

Soft blankets draped over the backs of the dining chairs add layers of luxurious softness and vibrant color, creating an even more inviting atmosphere. Of course, the bride's and groom's seats should get a slightly different treatment. A romantic nametag does just the trick.

Make it Romantic

Even if your decorating style is more laid-back than lacy, no wedding celebration is complete without some fancy flourishes. Keep the look fresh and modern by keeping the more romantic elements to a simple black-and-white color scheme, like this charming "Here Comes the Bride" sign draped over the guest of honor's seat back.

Pare Down the Guest List

The wedding guest list may be in the triple digits, but pre-wedding celebrations are often best kept on the intimate side. It's a great way to make family members and close friends feel involved, and to create warm relationships between them before the big day.

Surround Your Guests with Style

Delight guests with fun, coordinated details wherever they look. A banner hung across a nearby artwork or throws draped over chairs in another part of the room, for example, help extend the party atmosphere throughout the house.

Make Sure Party Décor Feels at Home

Glitzy accents have their place, but they'd look completely off in a modern-rustic lodge-style home like this one. But no worries: It's easy to find party decorations that will look like they belong. Case in point, this "Mr. & Mrs." Banner, which has a flag motif and a natural-looking color palette that are prefect complements to this home.

Make it Personal

Keep the focus on the happy couple by creating personalized printed elements to display around the party space—in a pretty bowl by a stack of shower gifts, for example.

Create Conversation Zones

Invite guests to make deeper connections by providing some smaller seating areas. Here, a pair of armchairs near a coffee bar are the perfect invitation for a moment of quiet conversation for two.

Decorate in Unexpected Places

Any surface or wall is fair game for a celebratory splash. A string of lacy pennants add a subtly romantic touch above a rustic dresser; a framed invitation adds a pop of color, and acts as a visual reminder of the occasion; and a metalwork "present" is the perfect vessel for collecting special notes from guests to the future bride and groom.

Mix it Up

Adding a few elements that are outside your main color scheme can help special elements make a bigger impact. Here, for example, the warm peachy tones of the roses and ribbon help the framed invitation stand out.

Create Focal Points

The brunch table doesn't have to be the only focal point of the party. Choose one space per room to make extra special. Here, a large table provides the perfect surface to pile high with beautifully-wrapped gifts, flowers, and decorative accents. Strings of lacy pennants and a chalk-board sign help lead way.

Give Guests Guidance

A rustic chalkboard with a pretty hand-drawn note not only looks pretty, it lets guests know where to leave their gifts for the couple—and where they can grab a cup of coffee.

Go to Great Heights

Varying the heights of decorative elements will make any display look more dynamic. Here, a large arrangement of baby's breath helps create a centering backdrop for the gift table and tiered stands raise champagne glasses to make them easier to reach above the gifts.

Consider Scale

In a large or tall space, it's easy for party décor to get dwarfed by the architecture. Avoid this by massing several decorative elements together to help them make a bigger statement. Here, for example, piling the presents on a table with a large floral arrangement makes many smaller pieces feel substantial. Adding a chalkboard sign, a basket, and hanging décor completes the "big" effect.

Layer in Softness

Whether it's a fun accent pillow, a basket for cushy gifts, or a throw slung over the back of a chair, incorporating soft details into the decor will create an atmosphere of inviting luxury.

Keep it Coordinated

As you plan your party, choose a main color family—cool blues, for example—plus a contrasting accent color (warm peach, say), and then keep all the décor in that range. Here, presents wrapped in different shades of blue coordinate, but not so perfectly matched that they look fussy.

Incorporate Natural Accents

Flowers are a must for any event, but don't forget about other natural elements like branches gathered in a vase, or wicker, wood, and bark furnishings and accents.

Take it Outside

If you're lucky enough to have outdoor entertaining spaces, make them part of the celebration. Even in freezing temperatures, an outdoor table can be inviting, thanks to warm blankets and toasty hot chocolate.

Consider Guests' Comfort

Try to think of your guests' needs before they do. If you pillows and blankets into a basket, for example, they won't have to ask for anything if they get cold—and they'll appreciate their thoughtful host.

Create Food and Drink Stations

Of course, you have your brunch menu and table planned to the last crumb, but why not go to the next level and create pre- and post-meal food and drink destinations? Consider a champagne bar with some elegant hors d'oeuvres to kick things off, then follow up with a hot chocolate and dessert table, and, later, a cocktail bar.

Let the Games Begin

Keep guests engaged with games, indoors or out. If the game center is outside, make sure each chair has a warm blanket and that games are the type guests can play with gloves on!

Soak Up the Scenery

A winter wonderland looks even prettier from the depths of a steaming hot tub. Make sure you have warm towels nearby so guests can wrap up quickly.

Make Room for Everyone

At some point everyone may want to gather together in one place, so make sure you have adequate seating for the whole crowd before the party starts. If necessary, add in seating from other rooms—and pull the look together with pillows or throws in a unified color scheme.

Display Snacks in Style

Choosing special display vessels will make your party foods look much more appetizing. Cutting boards, footed serving bowls, tiered trays, cake stands, and even simple glasses are all pretty ways to serve hors d'oeuvres and more.

Make Food Part of the Décor

Grouped together on a sideboard or table, shrimp can look almost too pretty to eat. Here, the trifle bowl with ice and shrimp picks up the colors of the roses, and the powdered-sugar coating of the bonbons ties in with the baby's breath bouquet.

Get Ready to Relax

Careful planning and prep work before the party starts means that you'll be able to sit down and have just as much fun as your guests do. Try to get the decorating done a day or two before, then sit in each entertaining area to make sure it’s comfortable and well stocked for your guests' needs. Keep the menu simple and enlist plenty of help the morning before the brunch, and then sit back and enjoy the celebration!