ASK CARLEY: What to do if your reception site is 'vertically challenged'

Q: Our reception site has a very low ceiling. How can I make the room look cozy instead of cramped or cave-like?

A: One simple, inexpensive way to play down low ceilings is to keep the overhead lights dimmed (or leave them off entirely) and then cover the space with candles. A blanket of candlelight will create a gorgeous, intimate atmosphere and it won't matter that the room's vertical dimensions are on the skimpy side. (Tip: You can use battery-operated "candles" if you or your site manager is concerned about safety.) Another option is to create a second ceiling with billowy white fabric for a "tented" effect. Ask a company that does outdoor tents if they can do this for you. The white will make the room look more expansive, and the fabric will create a soft, elegant (anything but cave-like) feel.

(Carley Roney, co-founder and editor in chief of The Knot, the nation's leading wedding resource, advises millions of brides on modern wedding etiquette at