Friday, May 30, 2008

Help! My table-top design is stuck in the '80s!

We've all seen boring tables at a wedding.
Brides don't usually plan to have boring tables, of course. It just happens when the table is forgotten about or ignored in the planning process. Or, it happens as a result of trying to save money. Good design doesn't have to be expensive though. Some things that make the biggest difference don't cost much at all.

Here are the top five signs your table design might be stuck in the 80's.

5. Boring white tablecloths with white napkins.
Open any bridal magazine, and see that today's weddings are all about color. Bold hues that infuse every detail of your event. What better place to inject your event with color than your tabletops?
Linen options abound, and they don't all have to break the bank. Even a simple poly cloth in a gorgeous color does wonders to transform a room. For those with a little more to spend, consider pintucks, dupioni silks, and crepes for great texture.

If you can't afford to rent tablecloths, at least try to spice things up with your napkins. Unless you're going for an all white, ultra modern event, this look usually doesn't do much for your event. (The exception to this point would be if you have lots of cool details, like chargers, colored stemware, or napkin flowers to help your tabletop pop.)

4. Folded up napkins stuffed in a water glass.
This might have been considered chic 15 years ago. But these days, it screams "outdated." Glasses are for holding liquid. Not fabric. Do NOT allow your caterer/banquet facilitator to set things up this way. There are tons of creative ways to fold and place your napkins. Really. Anything but this.

3. Cheesy little trinkets at every place setting.
We've all seen them. Little plastic doves with a ribbon loop. Fake silver hearts. The ubiquitous jordan almonds wrapped in tulle. Let's face it. Favors that are cheap just look... well, cheap. That's not to say you can't have an inexpensive favor. Just please don't use the cheesy ones that your guests will be tempted to throw away as soon as they leave your wedding. There truly are some fabulous favor options out there. This is a perfect place to inject your personality into your celebration. Ask your wedding planner to help you brainstorm some ideas that would showcase your bridal style, and add to your table decor, not detract from it. Or consider removing favors from the tables altogether and having one table near the entrance of your reception space with all the favors lined up. Repetition looks very elegant.

2. A neglected centerpiece.
The centerpiece is one thing your guests will be staring at for a significant part of the event. Please don't neglect to think about them.
A few things to consider:
* I might step on a few toes here, but I really think it's time for the table mirrors to just go. I have on occasion seen them used creatively and attractively, but all too often, they are just another thing cluttering up the table design. If you don't have a good reason to use them, don't.
* Candles and rose petals can be very attractive, but you need to do more than just sprinkle a few petals around a few votives. Get LOTS of pillars in different heights, and clump them on your table. Put a SEA of rose petals under each clump for maximum design impact.
* Avoid bubble bowls with floating candles. They look dated as well. Not to mention, all that water sitting on your table could be quite a mess if someone bumped the table too hard.
* Always be wary of a free centerpiece that comes with your venue. It's probably free for a reason.

1. And, the number one thing to avoid in your table top design is.....

No tables at all!!
Nothing says '80's" like a big open room with chairs all around the perimeter. Please make sure you have somewhere to sit and eat comfortably for all of your guests. Even a cocktail style reception needs some tables. No one truly wants to stand all night, and most people don't like eating with their plate on their lap. Rent some highboys, but also have plenty of traditional seating available for older guests or families.

Now, for some really incredible table-top inspiration photos!

Pictures courtesy of The Knot
Picture courtesy of

Brides? Fellow planners? What are things in tabletop design that really bother you? Have you seen anything really awful? Let us know!!


Suz said...

The worst centerpiece I have seen recently was a whinnie the pooh themed reception with a cuddly toy on each table and I am not joking! Must try and find a photo of those ;o)

Flaire Weddings and Events said...

Suz -- wow. That's all I can say. lol.

Thanks for your comment and dropping by!