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The ultimate table setting decor check list - how to decorate a table.

First off, what is table-scaping?

It’s simply creating, designing and styling a table setting - the same as landscaping in an outdoor space.

Why do I need to decorate my tables?

Easy Answer is:

  • Table decorations create an atmosphere in a room.

  • Table decorations transform a room from the boring to the extraordinary.

  • Table-scaping give you the ability to create a visual representation of you.

  • Table-scaping helps your guests to feel emotions : surprise, intrigue, excitement or a sense of “wow”.

What if I don’t decorate my tables?

Your space may be ok on its own, and no one may notice that anything is lacking….but when you DO decorate EVERYONE notices!

It's helpful to remind you that your guests will spend several hours seated at their table so it’s important to spend that extra attention to detail on your table decorating.

Believe us when we say that this is the part of your big day that your guests will remember the most, so it’s important that your décor reminds them of the memories and feelings you want to create for them over your entire celebration.

So, how do I decorate my tables?

We’ve put together a check list which includes all the necessary details of decorating.

Our checklist leaves nothing to chance as we have listed all aspects that can be included within a table setting design.

Table-scaping is definitely the fun part of your wedding planning as this is the bit that you especially make your own! You can give the table setting your personal touch with a twist as unique as you.

Side note - this blog is not about choosing your overall wedding style (we have written other

blogs on how to move through that particular topic). We are presuming you have already pinpointed your aesthetic. We are also presuming you have already decided a style for your wedding décor that is reflective of you as a couple (if not, we know that our other blogs will

help you to do so, so flick back to them if you need to).

Here is the nitty-gritty of table design:

The essentials of good table design fall into a few categories:

  • Functional Furniture

  • Table Linen and Chair Covers

  • Practical Elements

  • Design Elements

  • Centre piece

  • Paperwork

1. Functional Furniture

This is simply the table and chairs.

Not only the shape of the table – round, square, rectangular but also the style of the chairs – wooden, plastic, acrylic or bench style. Also consider the colour of each: white, black, clear, or natural wood – to name but a few of the options!

The functionality also includes the layout of the tables within the venue – are the tables separated into groups of 6/8/10, or long rows of tables?

2. Table Linen and Chair Covers

The table linen is like a blank canvas that you are going to paint upon.

The most popular wedding table linen is either black or white. Although now there are many trending table linens that feature floral patterns, bold colours, or stripes (nautical theme) or plaid (country theme) or paper (eco-friendly). Some couples also opt for a more natural look leaving wooden tables bare of linen altogether.

Next is the chair cover and/or chair sashes or bows. These can create elegance and colour to coordinate with the overall colour palette (most match this to the bridal attire). But often wooden or acrylic chairs are left as a feature themselves to match the overarching vibe of your venue setting.

As part of the linen covering you also need to consider a table runner or central placemat. Use wood rounds for a rustic feel or mirrors for a more lavish look. A table runner or woven mat can highlight a feature pop of colour. Of course, if you have a table runner you may not also need a central place mat. Your table runner can either lay flat or be ruffled between your other table elements.

3. Practical Elements

This is the china, crockery, glassware, and water bottles.

Again, these can be lavish crystal with gold cutlery pre-set on the table. Or the crockery could be mismatched and antique. A buffet style reception sometimes has the dinner plates in piles at the buffet, others set at the table. Do you also need side plates? Wine and water glassware? Your favourite bottle of wine already at the table?

The napkin – like the table linen there are a number of choices: paper, linen-look paper or genuine linen. You could also make your own. Again, latest trends have floral or patterned napkins rather than a single colour. It's best if the napkin colour enhances the table runner. The fold is another story! There are so many to choose from; again it depends on the look you are wanting to create. Preparation time to pre-fold napkins a specific way needs to be factored into your planning.

4. Design Elements

These are the elements on your table that add features of interest for your guests.

Are you thinking of lavish floral displays or simple candles and greenery garlands? (This will also help determine the place mat you may or may not need). Remember it’s your choice!

The vase you want to use for any display is important in that it will determine the style of floral arrangement you can have within it – if you are having one. There is a huge variety and style available, but there are no rules on what you have to have! Our only guide is that you consider its height for guests who may want to converse across the table.

Decide on the lighting you will use on the tables. This could be anything form copper seed lighting, fairy light strings, candles or outlandish candelabras. It should not be overpowering but subtlety draw attention to the elements on the table that you want to feature - unless it is the feature itself!

5. Centerpiece

This is the main feature on the table so it should bring your overall style into focus.

It is fair to say that floral features are the most popular way to decorate wedding tables. But keep in mind that flowers nowadays don’t always need to be fresh, real or realistic looking. We have seen wonderful displays of flowers created from pages of a book, fabric and buttons. We’ve also created roses from baleage wrap as it suited the country vibe of the farmers involved.

The colour of your arrangement needs to tie in with your overall colour palette, so this may dictate the type of flowers you use. Consider using in-season flowers as you have probably already chosen your date for a specific reason so in-season flowers can enhance this vibe as well (not to mention that they will be easier on your budget too!)

Of course your centerpiece doesn’t have to be floral – it can be a photograph, a lantern, a pot-plant, a candle, or a candelabra - again it depends on the style you are trying to create!

The table décor is a point of creative difference so there are many options available for you.

6. Paperwork

Lastly, will you be adding guest place name cards to assign your guests to specific seats?

There are lots of options here too - not just paper, but also wood, acrylic, blackboards and so on. If you are using place names you will also need a table number or label so guests can quickly identify their table. You will also need a seating chart placed at the entrance of your venue.

If you are having a more formal affair you may want to consider adding a menu card or a list of menu options that guests can choose from.

It is a good idea to bring the theme from your invitations and save-the-date through to any place name cards, menus or signage.

Final table decorating tip:

Take inspiration from other wedding table decorating, but don’t just focus on recreating something you’ve seen at another wedding or on the internet.

Take notice of who you are by getting inspiration from your home, your wardrobe, the activities you love and the places you love to visit.

From our point of view you yourself are actually the best starting point (we think sometimes the internet can get just a little overwhelming)!

So, back to the one-page information sheet:

It’s a comprehensive list based on our experience from working with wedding clients.

You can physically tick beside all the elements to ensure you have considered everything.

No matter what you choose to ignore or include, this décor checklist will help you stay focused and in control of this important (and fun!) part of your wedding day planning.

We know this ultimate checklist will come in handy!

Remember your table décor is as unique as you!


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