Let’s talk about the center of your guests‘ attention. Well, this time - not you, but the décor of the tables that your guests will be sitting at. Although probably the most visible, flowers are not the only component of that decor. There are other items that need to go in that space. You might as well make them interesting, personalized and make your reception space look more inviting and not run-of-the mill.
To start with, you can opt for more elegant chairs from what your venue offers. When it comes to chairs, a lot of venues choose functionality versus looks. Then some venues will suggest chair cover rentals to cover their ugly, but oh so durable chairs. I personally don’t like chair covers or chair sashes. If chairs are not desirable looking to start with, a sash or a cover won’t fix the problem, if anything, it will bring one’s eye to it. For an elegant look you can’t go wrong with Chiavari chairs and they only cost a bit more to rent than the chair covers. They come in many colors and coordinate with different color cushions.
Another way to add a pop of color and some pazazz is with unique looking tablecloths, overlays and napkins. I always bring my clients to my favorite one stop rental shop-Party Rentals Ltd. (www.partyrentalltd.com), where we “play” with different chairs, cushions, tablecloths, napkins and tableware. It is very important to see all the elements together. It’s also helpful to bring a sample of your floral centerpiece to see how it will coordinate with the rest of the table design.
My other favorite place for a “haute couture” tableclothes and other table dressings is Cloth Connection. (www.clothconnection.com) They are the “Dior” of the tablecloths. If you can think it-they have it!
If you are on a budget, you can use your venue’s tableclothes and just rent overlays (they only cover the top of the table and fall few inches down). Make sure you coordinate the textures, colors and patterns, so the look is cohesive. A good choice for overlays is something sparkly, lacey or with a sheer pattern. It will not clash with the existing tablecloth, but will add distinction to it.
Just keep in mind that your table décor should work with your venue décor as well. You don’t want a modern pattern tablecloth in a Victorian castle setting and vice versa.
An additional element of the table décor that is usually overlooked is a charger plate. These plates have no practical use, but they can make your table look distinguished and sophisticated. Especially if you are going for a classic look (white tablecloths and napkins) these chargers are your only chance to bring in some uniqueness to the decor, either with their different texture, pattern or a glimpse of color. And since majority of the venues serve in an american style table service (food comes out presented on a plate), your typical reception table will be only preset with glassware, utencils and a bread plate. I always find it looking pretty deserted and half finished. Having a charger with an elegantly folded napkin and a menu on top makes the table setting looking very distinctive, personalized and polished.
Once you have your tablecloths, overlays, napkins and plates all picked out it’s time to find few more elements that will go on your reception tables and coordinate with the rest of the pieces.
Table numbers or names. They can be plain and unobtrusive or a statement making pieces. You can use mixed and matched frames with numbers in them, silk shantung covered tented numbers, personalized table number plaques that match your invitation suite or holders that go with your theme and the venue (e.i. wine corks for a vineyard wedding, concha shell for a beach wedding, potted plant for a tented affair). One of our clients has purchased multiple lanterns that she absolutely loved, but didn’t know how to incorporate in her reception décor. We came up with a way to use them as a table number holder. They looked stunning and served a purpose. Whatever you do, please don’t use your venue’s generic table number holders. They scream banquet hall and have no character at all.
Menu cards. Yes, you can get them free of charge from some venues, but most of the time they will look generic and boring. Work with your invitation designer and come up with a unique design (both in shape and size) to match your wedding stationery and your theme.
Informational cards. These are great for announcing things to your guests, like where you are donating the money in lieu of favors, or to have a trivia game about the newlyweds. For a recent “Marie Antoinette” inspired wedding, we’ve designed the cards that explained the meaning of the names of the tables. They made for a great conversational piece at the beginning of the reception.
Favor tags. Make sure that your favors have a coordinating tag with a few words showing your gratitude. It’s a simple gesture that is always appreciated.
In my next blog lets continue with other décor pieces-like guest book options, place card tables, etc. In the meantime – happy wedding planning!