Typically placed at the prime spot of your reception venue, the head table is a major focal point of your celebration. With a curated list of unique individuals near and dear to you, the head table includes some of the most important members of your big day, including you and your new spouse! From immediate family members to your wedding party and closest friends, it’s entirely up to you how you fill the seats of this VIP area.
For couples hosting their wedding during the fall months, there’s no better opportunity to design a principal table that fully embraces autumnal charm. A backdrop of crisp fall florals, seasonal elements like pomegranates as escort cards, and striking gold accents turn a simple table display into a striking, standout setup.
Warm reds, earthy greens, and amber yellows are all tones that can easily be integrated into elements of your fall wedding table decor. Bold blooms and branches create a tablescape that exudes the feeling of fall without looking tacky or overdone.
For ideas that go beyond the traditional design route, we sought advice from some of the industry’s top experts to compile a list of head table options for your fall wedding decor inspiration.
Use Lush Greenery
Ample use of greenery is a great way to highlight some of the season’s most natural features. Whether that's by booking a venue that is outdoor, carpeting a place with grass, or incorporating foliage in your design elements, nothing says fall quite like leafy evergreen statements.
“The fall season is all about texture,” says Ashley Culicchia Cash, owner of The Graceful Host. “Hanging installations with greenery are a great way to bring about a more powerful visual impact in your event space."
Lean On Neutral Tones
Complement the rich tones of a traditional fall palette—burgundy, evergreen, orange—with hints of various neutral shades. “I love the pairing of the neutral table linen with the gold decor pieces,” says Tracie Domino, founder and creative director of Tracie Domino Events. “It added warmth and elegance to the space without being too over the top."
Don’t Shy Away From Black
An ideal accent color for a modern fall table, black can easily transform your display from classic to contemporary. Emily Clarke, creative director and founder of Emily Clarke Events, considers black when making a bold statement with a dramatic table setting. “Combined with florals in more traditional shades of autumn, adding black as an accent color to the finished product of this outdoor reception made for a perfect design for this chic celebration,” she says.
Incorporate Blush Tones
Blush—though it isn’t traditionally thought of for a fall color palette—is a great way to soften the season's other darker colors. Jennifer Thye, owner of Imoni Events, says, “Pairing blush with darker elements like green, fruitwood, and gold can tend to make your dinner reception look more like a wedding without making it look out of place.”
Play With Texture
When working with a fall tablescape, Sonia Hopkins, owner and principal event designer at XOXO Bride Events, relies on different materials to create texture within levels of a table display. “Incorporating crystal glassware, a gold-trimmed charger, and gold flatware helped to represent softness while a patterned dinner plate brought in texture and elevated the entire look,” Hopkins says.
Another way to vary texture is through furniture. The use of chairs in various colors, styles, and shapes makes for a standout head table that goes beyond your tablescape. For this outdoor affair, Heather Balliet, owner of Amorology, used this concept to create a unique setup when she mixed chairs of different materials like wood and metal. She also played with colors by including chairs in black, gold, and white as well as adding accents of black on the tabletop itself.
Opt for Moody Floral Arrangements
“Fall weddings make for the perfect time of year to utilize those beautiful moody and saturated color hues in your wedding centerpieces,” says Stacie Shea, owner of Stacie Shea Events. Pair an arrangement of burnt orange, cobalt blue, and magenta florals with a gold vase for a striking addition to your display. 'Tis the season to go bold, dramatic, and rustic with your florals.
Incorporate a Table Runner
To add softness and texture to your head table, Rebekah Sams, wedding and event specialist at Gillespie’s Flowers & Productions, suggests adding a table runner to your decor. Integrating a runner adorned with lace is another way to showcase softness throughout your display.
Use Hanging Florals
Hanging floral centerpieces are another fall favorite and a great option if you want to avoid crowding your table with large floral arrangements. “Bronzes and golds mimic the harvest of autumn, but we didn’t want to overwhelm the eye with too much, so we just added touches of metallic with hanging geometric shapes,” says Eatherley Schultz, founder of Floressence Flowers, who created this striking floral canopy.
Try a Lighting Installation
Leaning on the concept of a hanging installation, Graham Ervin, director of sales at The Cedar Room, recalls an event where the bride worked with planner Ooh! Events to use lanterns to embellish a wooden beam that hung above the head table of their autumn fête. “Adding light is such a fun way to take a traditional green installation and turn it into a playful yet elegant focal point,” she says.
Go for Garland
One way to create subtle drama is to use lines of garlands as the focal point of decor. For this reception, held in a stunning sailcloth tent, Lynn Easton, cofounder of Easton Events, incorporated lush floral and foliage garlands into the design of this autumn celebration. “Crisscrossing the garlands down the center of the tent created a lower ceiling and added life and color above the head table,” she says.
Use Similar Florals Throughout
Consistent blooms thread decor together seamlessly. “The use of similar white blooms in both the hanging installation and the floral table runner made for a clean and crisp display that paired beautifully with the rest of the reception’s white decor,” says Alicia Fritz, founder of A Day in May Event Planning & Design. “The use of white is also such a fresh and unexpected color to use for a fall celebration."
Decorate With Seasonal Items
Integrate traditional fall elements like pinecones and apples into the display of your tablescape for your guests to feel an immediate sense of pull toward the season. “Pairing these objects with tall candlesticks makes for a magical setting that’s sure to evoke the essence of fall,” suggests Bree and Freddie, owners of Rockrose Floral.
Stock Up on Stone Fruits
Another seasonal harvest option to capitalize on is stone fruit. Francie Dorman and Britt Cole, cofounders of 42 North, opt for seasonal stone fruit when embellishing a lush fall table. “Persimmon, pomegranates, and pears look beautiful and bold when you let them organically spill out over a rustic wood table, accented by rich florals and antique accouterments like heirloom copper dinnerware,” they advise. They not only speak to the season but inject color as well.
Lindsay Merhege, event planner at Fox Events, considers wood a fundamental decorative element for a fall wedding table display. “Table numbers, florals, and candles are standard for a head table, but using wood along with bright yet subdued fall colors—and decor pieces like antlers—make your head table stand out from the rest," she says.
Subtle Is Supreme
“There are beautiful ways for an event to center around the autumn season without operating around orange flowers,” says Lauren Chitwood, president of Lauren Chitwood Events. Use subtle decor elements to evoke the sense of fall without being obvious.
Incorporate Farm-Grown Flowers
Make your reception venue inviting by dressing your head table to match the season's changing foliage. Bouquets of locally farm-grown dahlias, zinnias, cosmos, and golden fern serve as the perfect centerpiece for wooden farm tables. Just add woven gold runners, brass candelabras, and gold vessels for the picture-perfect fall backdrop.
Add Some Rustic Charm
When working with an industrial space, such as a warehouse, rustic details can be effective in setting the tone for your reception. For a seated brunch, incorporate whitewashed tables as an open invitation to guests to feel right at home. The addition of sleek black chargers and a floral centerpiece consisting of ferns, seeded eucalyptus, roses, and ranunculus help to convey a minimalist aesthetic and relaxed ambiance.
Let the Greenery Take Center Stage
Here, the reception space plays a key role in enhancing the tablescape decor. With guests seated in a conservatory, florist Kelly Lenard of Intertwine played up the botanical backdrop by adding autumnal arrangements to the head table. Textural flowers such as garden roses, delphinium, dahlias, lisianthus, clematis vine, and amaryllis complemented the lively greenhouse setting by bringing in elements of the outdoors inside. For a touch of whimsy, botanical drawings served as table numbers.
Don't Forget to Add Candles
Transport guests to a magical faraway place by styling a dreamy tablescape that's both romantic and intimate. Not only do candles lend a drama-inducing glow, but they can really bring a reception space to life. Add in overhead greenery, gorgeous draping blooms, and a few well-placed candelabras to set the tone for your affair.
Consider the Venue's Unique Features
Utilizing the architectural features of your venue when developing your final design concept can translate into a display that’s both effortless and opulent. Thomas Bui, founder of Thomas Bui Lifestyle, worked with the arches of this unique space to craft a head table worthy of a festive fall affair.