Who said budget-savvy can't be beautiful? Just because you can't afford to rent luxe linens or vintage china doesn't mean your wedding tables have to suffer style-wise. Put these planner-approved tips to the test, and take your tables from basic to brilliant just like that.
1. Use lanterns and candles to fill empty spaces.
The fuller your tables, the more expensive they'll look; it's that simple. Don't want to size down to tiny centerpieces or substitute cheap flowers to achieve the look? Event designer Amy Kaneko, founder of San Francisco-based Posh+Folk, recommends alternating flowers with lanterns. "If you work with a florist who already has a nice selection and can rent them to you, this will help balance out the pricier centerpieces," she says. Candles are another great option, as they cast an amazing glow and are very inexpensive, points out event stylist Melissa Brown, owner of Styled by Melissa. "Make sure to vary height and sizes for a layered look though."
2. Let your table runner do the talking.
Adding texture is one of the quickest (and easiest) ways to make any table look and feel more expensive, notes wedding coordinator Danielle Pasternak of DPNAK Weddings. If you're on a budget, she suggests renting a basic linen (or using the standard linen your venue or caterer provides) and then placing a table runner or overlay in a textured pattern or solid color on top. "This will give the illusion of a pricy linen without all the cost."
3. Play around with bold patterns and colors.
Speaking of patterns, they're all the rage right now and can carry some heavy visual weight too, according to Brown. "Try layering a patterned runner with a textured vase for your centerpieces; just be careful not to overdo it, or it can look messy," she warns. For major impact on a budget, bright flowers that pop are a must!
4. Spread out your flower budget...literally.
If you're dead set on using family style, farm tables, which come with a higher price tag, Brown advises asking your florist to create smaller arrangements (preferably in bold colors) that can be spread out down the center of the table. "This way, the tables will still look full while using less blooms," she explains.
5. Go wild with greenery.
Throwing a garden party or having a whimsical wedding in the woods? Save some cash without sacrificing style by filling in any gaps on your tables with a bunch of greenery. "Olive leaves work great for an outdoor wedding, and you can lay them directly on the tables, no containers needed," notes Kaneko. So chic and cheap!
6. Embrace minimalism.
Whatever you do, don't try to force opulence, cautions Kaneko. Instead, embrace elegant simplicity. "That means cotton linens in a soft neutral color, simple white china and a plain white napkin folded simply, no fancy shapes please!" Get your caterer on board with the whole minimalist look if you can, too (i.e. no bread and butter plates or salt and pepper shakers). "It'll feel much more like a modern dinner party and less like an outdated restaurant," she says.
7. Pretty up your plates.
Because it's all in the details! Brown recommends laying a single sprig of lavender, a beautiful place card, a menu or a simple thank you note from the heart on each setting. "Remembering the small touches can make any place setting seem more luxurious."
8. Upgrade your dinner chairs only.
Thanks to Pinterest, it's easy to get caught up in thinking you need upgraded rentals, whether it's gorgeous wooden tables or raw-linen tablecloths. But as Kaneko points out, these items can cost a fortune. "We advise our budget-conscious couples to stick to the basics and splurge only on their dinner chairs," she tells us. "It's amazing how chic a basic folding table topped with an inexpensive poly-cotton linen can look once it's surrounded by nice wooden chairs. The entire look of the table is instantly elevated."