1) Take some photos of your venue when the space is empty. If you only see it once or twice throughout your planning stages, you may not remember whether there is artwork on the walls, or other color throughout the room. I think we've all remembered something being much more grand in our minds than it was in realty.....so the pictures are going to save you from the drama when you realize it's not how you remembered it when you fell in love with the venue!
2) Make sure that you really take the time to think about the whole picture. Inspiration boards have become a huge source of inspiration and direction for brides and you can see a bunch of beautiful ones here: http://www.stylemepretty.com/inspiration_boards/index.html. Peruse vendor websites, visit blogs, keep a scrapbook of your favorite magazine photos, but do your best to pull the your vision together before you start shelling out money for something that you may not be happy with down the road.
3) Don't give up on your vision! A venue will look entirely different at night than it will during the day. If you are having an evening wedding with low lighting or soft candlelight, don't worry about the color of the walls or carpet. You can create a beautiful ambiance through some creative decorating and these days, there are so many options when it comes to wedding decor. Consider adding lots of color and lighting to tabletops with candle votives, candle lanterns, or hurricanes. More is always better in our opinion and candlelight always translates beautifully in wedding photos! If you are working with a specific theme, choose decor that will be complimentary.
4) Consider what other elements you will have at each table to tie in with your wedding colors. Some of the most common are centerpieces, colored linens, chair covers and wedding favors. This is where you can find playful accents like these centerpieces, or you can opt for a modern and simple look like these. If your venue has uninspiring linens and the standard boring banquet chair, consider renting colored linens and chair covers. These can be an inexpensive way to dress up the room, especially if what comes with the space is taking away from the look that you're trying to achieve.
5) If you are having a daytime wedding or want to infuse bright colors and texture, there are lots of options. A wedding decorator may or may not be in your budget. We've seen event decorators do amazing things with swags of fabric from ceilings and draping on walls, and fabulously done up head tables. You can literally turn your wedding venue into an unrecognizable space (and we mean that in a good way!). There are always new designers who are looking to build a portfolio and will offer their services at a fraction of the going rate and sometimes Craigslist can be your best friend. If you don't want to go that far, consider hanging pretty patterned or plain paper lanterns. Not only are they economical, but they add elements of whimsy and color. Hanging small chandeliers with crystals would also be stunning at a glamorous formal wedding.
These are just some tips on how to have success with your wedding vision when it doesn't seem like it can be possible with what you have to work with. It isn't easy to pull together the perfect wedding, but it is 100% possible.