Table Decorating Ideas for a Wedding

Amy Hoover
wedding table decorations
Head Table Decoratoins

The right table decorating ideas for a wedding can turn functional furniture into an integral part of the décor, creating a beautiful tableau for the reception and the beginning of a couple's happily ever after. While people may not notice if you swap out the room's curtains to match your wedding decorations, they will notice whether or not your tables are festive. Make sure each one is part of the overall decorating scheme.

Easy Table Decorating Ideas for a Wedding

Tables are an integral part of any reception, so a couple's budget could easily be stretched thinner than a tablecloth when choosing how to make each one attractive. There are many easy ways to decorate tables, however, without excessive spending on wedding reception decorations.

Shape and Arrangement

The shape and table layout at a wedding reception are subtle but powerful decorative elements. Small round or oval tables are more elegant than rectangular tables, and arranging tables in clusters encourages conversation and mingling. Buffet tables may be arranged in a U-shape or other format for more distinction than a straight line. Adding a backdrop behind the head table or cake table can also accentuate the decorations and create a picture perfect setting.

Cloths and Covers

Beach Wedding Tables
Beach Wedding Tables

Classic white tablecloths are the most common choice for weddings, but they are also the most predictable. Use these easy ideas for unique tablecloths to add flair and distinction to the table decorations:

  • Choosing colored cloths will add drama, and will also conceal stains more easily
  • Use streamers, ribbons, or layered cloth napkins to create a central runner or add color to the tablecloth
  • Choose patterned or lace cloths for more textural detail
  • Drape cloths along the edges of the table for greater visual impact

Sprinkles

Adding lightly sprinkled items is a fast and inexpensive way to decorate wedding tables. Sprinkles can be combined with centerpieces or used on their own for more simple designs. Popular items to sprinkle on tables include:

  • Glitter or confetti that matches the wedding colors
  • Rose petals or other flower petals
  • Autumn leaves for a fall wedding
  • Faux ice cubes for a winter wedding
  • Glass beads or rocks
  • Mini rose buds
  • Small sea shells

Lighting

How a reception is lit can greatly enhance the atmosphere, and many decorating ideas for a wedding incorporate different light sources as part of the décor. Options include:

  • Candle centerpieces or tea lights as centerpiece accents
  • Floating candles or candles on mirrors to reflect the light
  • Twinkle lights strung along the sides of the tables and wrapped in tulle or lace
  • Rope lights along the edges of the tables

Centerpieces

Centerpieces are the most common way to add flair to a table, but a centerpiece can be more than just a pretty bouquet of flowers. Try these centerpiece ideas for unique and beautiful decorations.

  • Alternate short and tall centerpieces to provide visual appeal
  • Incorporate the bridesmaids' bouquets and bridal bouquet as part of the centerpieces to save money
  • Use unusual items such as autumn leaves, ice sculptures, mirrors, or picture frames to create distinctive centerpieces
  • Create breakaway centerpieces that can double as wedding favors
  • Create edible centerpieces for tasty decorations, such as carved vegetables, a fruit bowl, salt water taffy for a beach wedding, or other delectable treats

Place Settings

Extending decorations to the edge of the table will create stunning place settings that add to the overall décor of the event. While place settings must be functional, these tips can make them beautiful as well.

  • Choose upgraded china, cutlery, and glasses for immediate elegance
  • Use elaborately folded napkins to decorate individual plates
  • Add decorative place cards to assist with seating charts and add a formal flair
  • Coordinate colors of china, napkins, tablecloths, and other items for an integrated, professional look
  • Decorate chairs with covers or ribbons to further extend the décor

What to Avoid

It is easy to go overboard with decorations, and couples must remember that many times the simple approach is elegant and beautiful. Other things to avoid include:

  • Crowded place settings that can inhibit guests from enjoying their meals
  • Tables with too many guests seated at them
  • Centerpieces that are too large and block conversation

Types of Tables

It's important not to forget any tables when making or purchasing your decorations. Write down each table that will be at your wedding reception and the decorations you plan to put on each. This way, no table is neglected.

  • Head Table: This is usually a long table for the bride and groom, their parents, and possibly the bridal party.
  • Sweetheart Table: This is a more intimate table for just the bride and groom.
  • Cake Table: The wedding cake is undoubtedly a showpiece of the reception, and its table should be decorated accordingly.
  • Buffet Table: If the meal or snacks will be served buffet-style, the table will require some decorative accents.
  • Guest Tables: From just a few to a few dozen, each guest table should be coordinated. However, decorating each table differently for a wedding reception can create a unique space.
  • Signing Table: This table will have a guest book or other way for guests to offer individual comments.
  • DJ Booth: A DJ will require a large table for the music equipment, and decorating it appropriately will make it a part of the reception rather than a pile of electronics.
  • Gift Table: Though it is better etiquette not to bring gifts to the wedding reception, couples may need to be prepared with this type of table space.
  • Groom's Table: This table holds the groom's cake and features items that show the groom's interests.

Planning is Key

With care and planning, it is easy to incorporate many table decorating ideas for a wedding. You can create a stunning wedding reception setting for beautiful pictures, an elegant event, and happy memories.

Table Decorating Ideas for a Wedding