Wedding Centerpieces for Every Kind of Table

Any professional florist knows that the design of your centerpieces should depend largely on the shape and size of the reception tables you've selected. But it pays for you to give the matter some thought, too, so that when you talk specifics with your florist you'll have an even better sense of your options (and be able to nail down a solid plan that much sooner). To show you the best way to proceed, we asked top floral designers for advice

Updated 10/01/10
01 of 12

Round Dining Tables

Standard 60- and 72-inch round tables, which seat eight to 12 guests, are very popular, and therefore the most widely available option at reception sites. These round tables are both elegant and practical—great for maximizing your reception space, since you can comfortably fit more people around them than at rectangular or square tables.

Flowers by Felipe Sastre

02 of 12

Round Dining Tables

Keep floral arrangements and other table décor under 14 inches or over 20 inches high—depending upon the size of your venue—so guests can see and talk with each other across the table. Be aware, though, that tall centerpieces in low-ceilinged venues may make the space feel cramped.

03 of 12

Round Dining Tables

David Mitchell of Still Life Fine Event Design placed lanterns in rustic wooden boxes and surrounded them with fresh pomegranates, apples, and grapes.

04 of 12

Cocktail Tables

For your cocktail hour, you'll probably want to use a mix of high and low cocktail tables. "High-tops," as they're often called, are standing height and don't need chairs, while low cocktail tables are regular table height and usually seat four. If you're having a desserts-only or cocktails-only reception, you'll want mostly low cocktail tables with enough chairs to allow elderly and/or exhausted guests to rest their feet.

Flowers by Botanicals

05 of 12

Cocktail Tables

Scale is very important when deciding how to decorate these smaller tables, which are typically 24 to 36 inches wide. A large centerpiece would dwarf the table and leave little room for tableware, but a low, simply composed arrangement will allow enough space for guests to set their glasses and plates. A grouping of small floral arrangements in different vessels would also look elegant and artful.

Flowers by Botanicals

06 of 12

Cocktail Tables

Katherine Jacob of KD&J Botanica used antique silver trays from the bride's collection to display clusters of peach and pink dahlias placed in mercury glass vessels with a similarly vintage feel.

Flowers by KD&J Botanica

07 of 12

Square Dining Tables

Square tables usually seat eight to 12 guests (two to three guests per side) and are more appropriate for a large reception space (like a big, open loft) simply because they take up more room than round tables. Alternating square tables with rectangular ones can also add visual interest to the overall look of the room.

Flowers by Soirée

08 of 12

Square Dining Tables

Square tables have more space in the center than round ones, so centerpieces need to be larger. Adding height—instead of width—is a smart way to make arrangements feel more substantial. Use clusters of votive candles to fill any empty areas.

Flowers by White Lilac Inc.

09 of 12

Square Dining Tables

April Joy Recinos of April Joy Events designed a "tree" of curly willow branches, then suspended votive candles and a pomander of roses from them; orchids, roses, and tulips filled out the base.

Flowers by April Joy Events

10 of 12

Rectangular Dining Tables

Six- or eight-foot-long rectangular tables can seat up to 10 guests; push several together to create one single long table. Though it may seem counterintuitive, long tables actually create a cozier, more intimate feeling, so they work best for casual receptions, family-style dining, and venues with minimal space restrictions.

Flowers by Kathy Hoffman, Custom Event Group

11 of 12

Rectangular Dining Tables

Instead of one large centerpiece that might look a little lonely, display smaller clusters of varied arrangements evenly spaced at every other place setting. Limit the centerpiece height to below eye level—it's likely that platters of food and bottles of wine will be passed back and forth in this family-style setup, so you don't want the flowers to get in the way. Also make sure that arrangements are on the narrow side (10 inches wide or less) to leave plenty of room for place settings.

Flowers by Grass Roots

12 of 12

Rectangular Dining Tables

Megan Fickling of La Partie Events interwove curly willow branches to run the length of the tables, and interspersed them with flowers along with fresh fruits and vegetables; candles in mismatched vessels were also incorporated into the design.

Flowers by La Partie Events

Related Stories