How to Decorate a Table for a Wedding
Once you have picked your wedding theme and color scheme, the next step is to bring it to life. One of the best ways to do this is to focus on your table arrangements and centerpieces. Tables play a large role in dictating the wedding atmosphere, as they are often the focal point of a venue. Choosing the right table style and accent pieces will complement and enhance your special day.
Pick tables that complement your wedding theme and colors.The tables at your wedding need to align with your wedding theme. Are you having a pastel blue summer wedding on the beach or a rustic autumn wedding at a farmhouse? If you know your theme, you will be able to incorporate cohesive details into your table decorations.
- Classic, polished wood tables can be expensive to rent, but will provide a clean look to your wedding venue. Even if you cover the table, any visible legs will look polished. These are great for high-end wedding venues.
- Rustic tables with long wooden planks will incorporate earthy tones into your wedding. These work well for outside venues that have a central rustic theme.
- Plastic folding tables can be inexpensive rentals hidden under sleek tablecloths. These tables will be sturdy enough for your guests to lean on and will allow you to allocate money to other parts of your wedding. Folding tables are a good choice for beach weddings because the moist and gritty sand will not damage the metal legs.
Select a table shape that reflects your wedding size and theme.Your tables need to reflect the size of wedding you are having. If you are having a lot of guests attend your wedding, or if you are in a small indoor or a large outdoor venue, your table needs to accommodate those conditions.
- Long rectangular or banquet tables are great if you need to fill a large banquet hall. You will have less to worry about with seating arrangements with a few long tables, and your guests will be able to chat freely with each other.
- Circular or square tables will help break up a guest list into intimate and manageable groups. These shapes work for just about any venue size, and you can even alternate the table sizing to break up the tables visually.
Get chairs that complement your selected tables and wedding theme.The types of chairs you have at your wedding tables can greatly depend on the conditions of the venue and the number of people who attend your wedding. For outdoor weddings, you may not want to overcrowd the scenery with chunky wooden chairs, and for a fancy indoor wedding, folding chairs may look out of place.
- Folding chairs are an affordable renting option that will blend into an outdoor setting. If you are having a wedding on the beach, consider getting white folding chairs. The white will contrast nicely with the sand and any tents you have set up, and the slim style of the chair won’t detract from the setting.
- Wooden chairs are more expensive to rent but will look more polished in a lavish indoor setting. If you get rustic wooden chairs or benches, they will even complement an outdoor wedding set in a field or at a farm.
- Just make sure to use an even number of chairs around square tables; otherwise, you will wind up with an odd number of place settings, and the table setting will look unbalanced.
Measure the length, width, and height of the table you have selected.The dimensions are needed to purchase an appropriately sized tablecloth or a runner. To obtain accurate dimensions, use a measuring tape over a ruler. If you rented your tables from a rental company, the staff will be able to supply you with precise dimensions.
- The tablecloth can be floor length to hide unsightly table legs, or a medium length so guests can easily slide their chairs in and out.
- If the table is round, measure the diameter and height of the table.
Selecting Linens and Runners
Select a color that will complement the color scheme of your wedding.Your table design will be built off your tablecloth color. The color should be able to blend in with the rest of the table setting, and not clash with other colors used in the design.
- If your place setting or centerpiece is going to have many multi-colored elements, opt for a tablecloth that is neutrally colored. Neutral tablecloths will balance out the other bold table elements.
- White or cream tablecloths can also enhance minimal color palettes as well. For example, at a beach wedding where the central color is blue, using a white tablecloth will complement the sand and define any blue elements used on the table.
- If you have a minimal table design that encompasses many neutral colors and shades, make the tablecloth the pop of color. The tablecloth will pop against the neutral place setting and centerpiece, and it will add depth to the design.
Pick a fabric that will enhance your table design.The fabric of the tablecloth should simplify or dress up your overall table design. You want to choose fabrics that are durable and will remain fresh looking throughout the day. Just avoid using pure cotton tablecloths as they develop wrinkles and creases very easily.
- Polyester blend tablecloths provide a clean look that can easily be dressed up. These are inexpensive and come in a variety of colors and shades to fit any wedding decor. The polyester blend will prevent the linen from wrinkling or creasing during your big day.
- Make your wedding shine with silky satin or sheer lace tablecloths. These can be on the more expensive end but are great if you want the tablecloth to be the focal point for the table arrangement.
Drape a tablecloth over the table.Make sure that the tablecloth is evenly displaced around the table. Push and pull it until you are satisfied with the placement. If the table is really long, recruit a friend or loved one to help put on the tablecloth.
Leave wooden tables bare for a rustic or autumn themed wedding.Some wooden tables have great character or charm that you want to show off at your wedding. Don’t feel obligated to cover these gems, and instead, make the wooden accents of the table part of the decoration.
- If you want a rustic feel without having your tables bare, invest in some burlap tablecloths. These are becoming more popular with outdoor weddings and events that want to be environmentally friendly.
Add a runner across the table to create a base for the centerpiece.Small or uncluttered centerpieces may need a runner or placemat to define them from the rest of the table setting. Have the runner or placemat be a contrasting color or texture to the tablecloth, but still adhere to the overall color scheme.
- Pick a polyester runner that has a contrasting color to the tablecloth. Pair a purple runner with a white or off-white tablecloth for a large indoor venue, or a bright blue runner with a pastel green tablecloth for a beach venue.
- Silk, lace, or sequin runners with a defining pattern will add drama and texture to your table. These are good to use if you opted for an inexpensive or simple tablecloth and want to dress it up.
- Use a burlap or polyester runner with an elegant print to contrast a rustic or wooden table.
- Runners do not have to be fabric either. Use a long, shallow planter or block of stained wood to build your centerpiece off of.
Creating Memorable Centerpieces
Play with alternating heights and widths in your display.An easy way to add dimension to a long table is to make the centerpieces have alternating heights and widths. Pair short ceramic vases with thin, taper candles, or place a statement glass vase with a cluster of small, colored candles.
- House flowers or candles in varying ceramic vases, glasses, jars or bottles.
Bring color to your tables by adding flowers to your centerpiece.Flowers are classic accents for a wedding table. Choose flowers that will complement the venue or color scheme of your wedding. Use differing flower heights to add dimension to the arrangement.
- Small glass pots of blue or purple hydrangeas set in river stones can add a needed pop of color to an ocean themed wedding.
- Mix tall, curling lilies with bunches of soft, white gypsophila to create a statement flower arrangement.
- For a minimalistic look, fill a glass jar with water and float plucked flowers or petals on top. Then scatter more of the petals on the tablecloth. This looks best with contrasting colors like with a white tablecloth and red petals.
Break away from traditional centerpieces by adding leafy foliage.If you are looking to get away from using flowers as centerpieces, try adding foliage or succulents instead. These can add tropical or rustic elements to any wedding.
- Rest candles on a runner of palm tree leaves or place white ceramic pots filled with hearty, green succulents to add texture to your table.
- Sneak some herbs like rosemary or thyme into your foliage arrangement to add a pleasant aroma.
Add soft lighting to the tables at an evening or outdoor wedding.Place little pockets of lighting on the table to create a warm ambiance at your wedding. It can also tie together any other table elements you might have. Try pairing the lighting elements with contrasting flowers and foliage, or make the lighting display your focal point on your table.
- Candles can add elegance and even a pleasant aroma to your table setting. Use tall, gold candelabras with long white candles for a dramatic statement piece, or create intimacy with small tea lights. Don’t stay focused on white candles either. Have fun playing with different colored candles to add pops of color to a neutral setting.
- Place lanterns to bring metal and rustic accents to your tables. Surround the lanterns with small wildflowers or foliage to add to the outdoor, fantasy setting. If lanterns are too bulky, use white Christmas lights instead to add a special twinkle to each of your tables.
Arrange a bouquet of fruits and vegetables to add pops of color to your table.Having an edible bouquet is a clever way to accent the theme and color scheme of your wedding. Pick fruits and vegetables that go with the season or venue you are having your wedding at.
- Place pineapples and mangos on palm tree leaves to accent a tropical themed wedding, or arrange pumpkins and gourds to bring out warm colors in an autumn wedding.
Assembling Place Settings
Make your place setting set the overall tone of your table design.It is important to be creative with your place setting as it can round out your overall design. Choose colorful plates with sleek silverware to dress up a neutral or white tablecloth. If you have a lot of decorations or centerpiece items on your table, use a simple white place setting to quiet the design.
- Think beyond the traditional round plates. Create an edgy look by pairing square place settings with square tables, and rectangular place settings with rectangular tables.
Fold your simple cloth napkins into fancy shapes.Your creativity does not have to stop at the centerpiece. Little touches like folding a napkin into an interesting shape, or a pocket to hold the silverware, can elevate or add cohesion to your table design.
- For a minimalist look, fold a red, white, or colored napkin of your choosing into a rose to incorporate the scattered rose petals on the white tablecloth.
- To add an embellishment to your place setting, arrange your napkin into a fan fold or a double-candle fold, and slide on a bedazzled napkin ring.
Use glasses that will subtly add to the theme of your wedding.Think about the venue and the number of guests who will be at your wedding when doing this. Glasses with long stems can be knocked over easily at a crowded table, or short glasses may be lost on a table with a large centerpiece or place setting.
- For a rustic outdoor wedding, use glasses without stems or even mason jars to subtly play off of the farmhouse vibes.
Finish your table design with uniquely styled place cards.These are the items your guests will be looking at to find their seats, so you want the place cards to incorporate your table design. Think about different textures and fonts for your place cards. You can use a single wildflower with a name tag attached to mark a seat, or you can go for the more traditional cardstock and a swirly font.
- If you are having a beach themed wedding, make large clamshells the place cards. Write the name of the guest and the event on the shell using a permanent marker. For an added bonus, have the marker ink be a pop of color that matches the color scheme of your wedding.
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