Whether you’re a wedding or event professional that’s helping your clients prepare for their epic day, or you’re getting married yourself and are wanting to handle things on your own, there’s one part of wedding planning you don’t want to forget.
That’s the art of creating stunning wedding tablescape designs for your ceremony and reception.
Learning to master this technique adds a level of sophistication and elegance to any wedding day. And if you’re a wedding professional, then honing this skill will help you create an amazing portfolio to provide your clients with.
Here, we’re sharing how to style a wedding table to elevate your upcoming wedding or event:
What is a Tablescape?
Before diving into creating these designs, let’s first determine what is a tablescape. If you’ve ever stepped foot into a wedding reception or event and said, “Wow!” to the tables, then you know someone had a hand in creating them.
A tablescape involves intentionally arranged elements on a tabletop to create a specific mood, theme, aesthetic, or experience.
It doesn’t simply involve setting dishes and flatware according to proper etiquette. Instead, it includes the design of creating a magnificent table. Everything from perfectly chosen table linens to intentionally turning floral arrangements is included in the art of tablescaping.
Don’t let this skill fool you, though. Once they’re completed, most people often think, “I could do that!” However, that is part of the designer’s choices. They make everything look effortless, yet there is a lot of design, art, and intention behind the entire process.
Our Top Tips to Create an Elevated Wedding Tablescape Design:
While it’s not as simple as it looks to create a wedding table design, you can perfect your skills and talent with the task by practicing!
So how do you create the elevated designs that set certain weddings apart from the rest?
For almost any wedding or event, you’ll need the same materials. These will more than likely change for each event, as most of them need to match the desired mood board and aesthetic.
1. Follow Your Mood Board or Event Aesthetic
Before anything else, always make sure you’re following the mood board or event aesthetic. This will keep all of your tablescape elements cohesive and convey the mood, theme, or experience you’re wanting your guests to have.
We recommend starting with a general mood board on Pinterest. Having one will help you set mood, tone, and colors, which correlate to getting the vibe and style right in your wedding table design.
Then, you can create the specific mood board or storyboard for the actual decor pieces you’ll use.
All of your design choices should be based on the mood board. That includes everything from the colors and patterns you use, the floral arrangements you position, and even the chairs and tables you select.
2. Play With Layers
This is one of the most important parts of any wedding table design, yet it’s often overlooked by professionals and couples alike.
Playing with layers creates visual interest and depth. That’s one of the reasons why we suggest using things like full place settings, including chargers and multiple dishes per place setting. You can also create layers by using more voluminous table runners or folded napkins.
These layers keep everything from looking flat and one-dimensional. By “building up” your table, you’ll find that your design quickly looks more sophisticated and elevated.
Tablecloths and Textiles
Your tablecloths and other textiles, including runners and napkins are the foundation of your wedding tablescapes.
These textiles take up the most space on the table. And while you’ll incorporate other elements such as table settings and decor, the eye is often immediately drawn to the linens first.
Make sure you use the appropriate color palette. For added visual interest, don’t shy away from adding textures and patterns to the textiles. You can also create a layered effect by using your primary neutral color for the tablecloth and adding a pop of your complementary color with the table runner or napkins.
Dishes and Flatware
After your tablecloths and textiles are laid out, it’s time to add the first layer of dimension and depth – the place settings.
What sets elegant tablescapes apart from the rest is a fully formed place setting. That includes each dish to create a layered effect. So add chargers, dinner plates, and salad plates to every setting. Then, lay your flatware and glasses. After that, you can add any additional textiles such as perfectly folded napkins on top of the last dish.
Menu Place Cards and Stationery
Wedding stationery doesn’t have to be limited to an invitation suite. We’d venture to say that incorporating stationery is a great way to create a more sophisticated wedding table design.
Add stationery such as table place cards, menus, and table numbers into your tablescape design to create that elegant, high-end feel.
Style the menus or even place cards on top of the dish settings. You can also keep the place cards next to the glassware if you need to spread things out more appropriately.
3. Add Various Heights
Similar to creating depth and dimension, adding various heights to your wedding table designs will also keep them from looking one-dimensional.
While you want to add height altogether to keep the table from looking flat, the true key here is to add multiple heights. Only one height ends up creating the same effect as a table with no height.
So, add in different heights of floral arrangements, by including lower arrangements and ones that rest on risers. Use different sizes and heights of candles, like tall tapered candles and small votives. And know that not every place setting or even every table has to look exactly the same in any one wedding or event reception. The variety is what creates a fuller-looking room. And it makes the photographs look even more spectacular, too.
The key here is to not let the different heights overpower the entire table experience. You want guests to be able to talk to each other without feeling as though they’re having to look past decor elements. It’s a delicate balance that does take practice!
Florals and Fruits
Once your dishes and flatware are placed, your entire foundation is set. Then, it’s time to start incorporating more of the decor and design aspects.
The best way to go about this is by adding in the bulkiest items first. That tends to incorporate any floral and fruit arrangements so they become the centerpieces.
There are many ways to style florals and fruits, and ultimately there’s not one “right” way.
The biggest key is to make sure the floral and fruit arrangements don’t overtake the place settings. Nothing should be accidentally dipping into anyone’s glassware or covering their place setting.
Once the major centerpieces are set, you can go back and fill in your tablescape design. There are several ways you can do this, but we suggest using the event mood board to help guide your decisions. You might also want to look at any major elements of the overall wedding and use them as decor. For example, if it’s a destination wedding, you might want to use the natural foliage as decor pieces, like this wedding on the beach in Jamaica.
Add various tapered candles or glass vases with candles set in them. You can even incorporate out-of-the-ordinary decor elements like candelabras.
Wedding tablescape decor might even look like using textiles or linens on the backs of chairs, depending on the aesthetic of the event.
4. Include Hanging Installations
Part of creating elevated, stunning wedding tablescape designs is thinking out of the box. Doing so opens the door to some incredible possibilities!
One way to do that is by including hanging installations. It’s such a unique way to style wedding reception tables and creates a much fuller effect for the entire room.
The great thing about adding hanging installations is they can match almost any event or wedding aesthetic. You just have to design the installations accordingly. For example, a vibrant, relaxing wedding mood might have lighter florals hanging down. On the other hand, a more dramatic aesthetic could incorporate deeper, richer colors into the installation.
5. Don't Forget the Lighting
Finally, know that your lighting can play a significant role in creating a more luxurious, elevated table design.
Often, professionals and couples alike opt for similar candles to provide additional lighting during a reception. However, lighting can be another way to think outside the box. For example, adding crystal chandeliers is an amazing way to add luxury and opulence to a wedding aesthetic.
6. Bonus: Personalization
Finding creative ways to incorporate personalized pieces into the tablescape is a wonderful way to make the reception or event more unique and one-of-a-kind, whether you’re getting married or you’re planning tablescapes for your couples.
One of the best ways to add in personalized elements is through embroidered linens and textiles. Table runners and even chair covers can be customized with initials of the couple.
These elements can also be a perfect keepsake for guests if you personalize something for each of them.
Custom napkins can act as place cards for each guest. Or even menu sets and locally sourced ribbons with each guest’s name on it can also work for a unique place card. They’ll love the special touch just for them, and they’ll have the keepsake to take back home with them.
7. Bonus Bonus: An Epic Location as the Backdrop
While it’s not necessary, it is a fabulous way to elevate the overall design of the wedding reception tables. We’re talking about using an epic location as the backdrop for the entire event.
Nothing creates an air of sophistication and magnificence like allowing nature to take some of the attention.
If you do have an incredible view as the backdrop, make sure your design allows everyone to enjoy it. Make sure you don’t have tall, solid decor items that create a wall between your guests and the location.
Ultimately, the art of designing wedding tablescapes is a skill and talent that can raise any wedding to another tier altogether.
All it takes is the right materials, the right design principles, and plenty of practice.
And as you’re gathering your materials, know that our collections of ribbons, runners, and other textiles can help you create the visually stunning table designs you’re looking for.
Ready to start making elevated wedding tablescapes?