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5 Tips for Designing Wedding Tables | Tablescapes

Updated on May 18, 2013

Wedding Centerpieces and What is a Tablescape?

5 Tips for Designing Wedding Tables & Tablescapes -- brides and grooms are constantly looking for wedding centerpieces and wanting creative, unique and different tablescapes. After a lot of years in the industry and working with lots of brides, I can tell you that their table decorations are very important.

First, in order to choose/design a great centerpiece we must understand 3 things -- 1) the definition of a tablescape 2) what items are included in a tablescape 3) how this affects your centerpiece choice.

The design for your guest tables is more than just the centerpiece. It is an important part of your overall décor plan. Knowing the details will ensure your tables include all the items your guests will need in addition to the lovely décor you have chosen.

On with the tips!

Image Credit:

#1 - What is a Tablescape?

A Tablescape is...

The centerpiece and so much more...

Tablescape was added to the Oxford American Dictionary in 2006. It was used prior to this addition but has really found it's stride in the early 21st century.

A tablescape encompasses EVERYTHING you put on a guest table -- not just the wedding centerpiece. A list of often used items might include:

  • Linens -- table cloths, napkins, overlays, place mats

Centerpiece and all its' elementsAll flatware/silverware, glassware, dishes and chargers your guests will need at their individual place settingWine/Champagne bottles and wine buckets if usedSalt and pepperCondiments such as butter, sour cream, sauces, gravy's or dressingsPlace cards and their holders (if used)Menu CardsTable numbers or names and their holdersAny additional décor you choose

Image Credit:

Tablescapes | Setting the Table with Style - Learning from the Pros

Tablescapes: Setting the Table with Style
Tablescapes: Setting the Table with Style

In this book, Kimberly Schlegel Whitman outlines why we set a table, why it's important and the etiquette connected with setting a table. She uses photos and lists to show you how to set a table for 100 guests down to setting a buffet for a baby shower.

Whether your event is a swanky party at an upscale venue or a quiet get together in your home, Kimberly has ideas for you!


#2 - Choosing a Centerpiece

Coming Up with Designs for your Wedding Tables

I have seen it time and again:

The bride chooses a centerpiece based on a design she or a floral designer have come up with. They set it on the counter or a table at the floral shop with

pretty linens and remark how gorgeous it is.

In practice at the actual reception, the bride may find out too late that the centerpiece is too large, doesn't fit the size or shape of the table or that there is not near enough room for all the Have-To's that belong on the table.

A table overwhelmed with all the necessary items and then your décor items just looks messy, unorganized. You lost the beauty and ended up with a hodge-podge.

A little pre-planning by taking into consideration EVERYTHING that will need to be on your tables before you choose a centerpiece can avoid this problem.

Image Credit: therichardlife at Flickr under the CC BY-SA 2.0 License

Tip #3

Set a "Mock Table" with everything in place and try the different centerpieces you are considering.

#4 - Questions and Decisions

Research before you Decide

Talk with your venue manager and your caterer (if they are not the same) before coming up with your ideas for tables. After choosing your menu, your caterer should be able to tell you everything that will be needed on the tables in order to serve and consume the food. From your caterer, find the answers to questions like:

  • How many glasses will be on the table? (Water Glasses, Wine and/or Champagne Glasses, etc...)
  • Will you be using chargers?
  • Will the napkin be placed on the plate/charger? in a glass? or on the table at the top or to the left or right of the place setting?
  • What condiments will need to be on the tables?
  • If dinner rolls are on the menu, will they be served in a basket or on a bread plate?

If you are opting for a Buffet Style or Stations meal, you won't have as much on your tables. Condiments, plates and flatware may be supplied on the buffet itself. In this case, you are freer with your centerpiece and tablescape plan.

From your Venue Manager, ask things like:

  • What shape are the guest tables?
  • What diameter (60"? 72") or length (8ft? 6ft?) are they?
  • Are there any restrictions like no open flames? no confetti allowed?
  • Do they provide linens or do you have to rent them from another vendor?

Image: DecoratingforEvents - Mandee, Drink Station Design by McDaniel's Catered Elegance, Paris, IL

Centerpieces for Weddings - or Any Event

To me, a centerpiece is more than just one item in the middle of the table. I actually prefer to create a vignette -- or grouping of items. Candles, vases, vintage items, themed items, etc... anything that furthers the theme you have chosen.

Don't fall into the trap that all the tables have to look exactly alike. Make each one different or choose a few variations you can use on the guest tables. This makes the room look much more interesting that an ocean of the same thing.

Gifts & Decor Crystal Drop Votive Stands Wrought Iron Candleholder
Gifts & Decor Crystal Drop Votive Stands Wrought Iron Candleholder

These votive holders are very elegant with the drop crystals and white, wrought iron. They would work well with all sorts of other items on a table.

DCI Magnetic Flower Vase, Centerpiece, Set of 5
DCI Magnetic Flower Vase, Centerpiece, Set of 5

These magnetic bud vases are so cool! I can see them surrounding something in the middle. They come with a metal disk that will work through the table cloth and are strong enough to stay standing.


#5 - DIY Centerpieces

Do It Yourself

The evolution of the centerpiece continues... Couples and event hosts alike, are continually searching for new and different wedding centerpiece ideas. The results are gorgeous!

Centerpieces are not just about flowers anymore! DIY centerpieces for weddings and other events are a growing trend. People are using collections, vintage items, hobbies and more in a showcase as a their centerpieces. This makes for a truly unique display, is eco friendly (reusing) and allows you to personalize your event.

Check out some ideas for using DIY Centerpieces at your event.

Image Credit:

Tablescape Resources - Wedding Centerpieces

Wedding Ideas

for Tables

My goal was to educate with this article. I hope these tips will better prepare you to plan your wedding ideas for tables.

Squidoo is a FREE format that offers you the opportunity to write about your favorite niche topic and make an income or donate to charity at the same time! What could be better?

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Are you Better Prepared to Plan Your Decor for Tables? - I Hope I Have Helped!

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    • profile image

      chat2vishakha 4 years ago

      Thanks for sharing these wonderful tips .This post is very useful for a bride.

    • Wedding Mom profile image

      Wedding Mom 4 years ago

      Thank you for sharing those useful tips. It's indeed very helpful on designing wedding tables.

    • profile image

      stylesisters 4 years ago

      @DecoratingEvents: Great lens! I have some fun things for Wedding receptions on my lens using denim which is perfect for a country western wedding

    • profile image

      stylesisters 4 years ago

      Great ideas!! Come on over to my lens to see my creative denim Silverware holders! Perfect for a Country Western Wedding!

    • DecoratingEvents profile image

      DecoratingEvents 6 years ago

      @Snakesmom: Thank you! :D

    • Snakesmom profile image

      Snakesmom 6 years ago

      What a helpful lens for any bride to use. Nice work!