Decorating a park ramada

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I have been going round and round in my head for some idea on sprucing up a park ramada in a state park that we are using for our reception. The picnic tables I am not so worried about – those can be covered! But I am trying to make it look fun and festive with out it looking like a) a carnival b) country bumpkin – no offense on that cause I am one! or c) like a 5 year old's birthday party! Any suggestions on helping me with keeping the natural element but making it look special? -Rebecca

Sarahbella in control

To answer this question, I brought in the best expert I know — my friend Sarah Kelly, better known to those of you who have read the book as Upper Location Manager Sarah! Sarah is an interior designer specializing in organic decor working out of Los Angeles.

• Fabric is good and can be your friend. Drape it, layer it, cover it, use different colors for depth. For a dramatic effect, use deep or contrasting colors. That said, there is such a thing as too much chiffon and organza.

• I am going to go on the record and say that balloons, if ever used, should be used sparingly and only for an effect that can not be achieved by other means.

• I love flowers I know there can be some controversy about using a lot of fresh cut flowers. I get it — call it my eco-sin. I love flowers!

• I'm a big fan of lighting. Here are a few examples of lighting that, if modified and used right, could easily be applied to a ramada:




• Some of the best sources of inspiration come from the seasons themselves. For example, if you were having a fall wedding you can cover the ramada in different layers of yumminess. Maybe start with a base fabric with deep jeweled tones and add on to layers of corn stalks, wheat stalks, sunflowers, branches with fall leaves on them – you get the picture.


Below are a couple examples of layering or attaching natural elements or floral bouquets that are lovely and not too over the top.



Thanks to Sarah for her input! And now I'll open the question to offbeat brides — any amazing decor fetishist ideas for how to decorate a park ramada to make it look extra awesome? No balloons allowed.

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