A Quick Guide to Setting Your Reception Tables

Planning Tips, Wedding Style & Decor

Photo: Johnny Miller

After you've picked your venue, décor, and flowers, it's time to narrow down those final little details. Namely, how you'll set your wedding tables. It may seem like a no brainer, but expertly executing cohesive place settings can be harder than you thought. For starters, know that your linens, dinnerware, and flowers should be complementary, not matchy-matchy. To be sure you nail this key step, ask your florist and caterer for a mock-up of their contributions a few months before the big day, then tweak these choices as needed.

To set the perfect table, start by picking complementary tabletop colors that make sense with your overall color palette. Copy our style, seen above, by choosing a neutral tablecloth and a punchy hued accent color. Sleek gray feels formal and luxe but won't darken your room like a black tablecloth would. Add pops of blue through napkins and glassware, since these are great places to showcase a bold color.

See More: Everything You Never Knew You Needed to Know About Wedding Rentals

To dress up a long, narrow table, plan for two or three different floral arrangements that will add tons of visual interest along the length of the table. Keep pieces small, though, to add drama without blocking guest's sightlines — since rectangular tables make it easy for friends and family to chat, you don't want to select oversized centerpieces that will get in their way. If you love the look of height, add simple taper candles in pretty shades that will give the illusion of grand centerpieces without the clutter.

But above all else, our biggest tip for expertly setting your wedding tables is this: Splurge on the head table. If you don't have the budget to rent specialty items or do super-lush centerpieces for every table, focus on the one that will be the subject of the most photographers. Since the head table is where you and your guests of honor will be seated, you'll want to make it picture-perfect. Some of our favorite ways to make it stand out? Consider using a different table shape, selecting upgraded chairs, higher-end votives, trimmed napkins, or tiny floral treatments at place setting.

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