Formal affairs with sit-down meals will keep your guests at the table for at least a couple of hours. Setting the wedding reception tables for a compelling tabletop is important for the entire experience. The elements of your table should be coordinated to create harmony with the décor, china and the cuisine.
Setting the Wedding Reception Tables with the China
Chinaware and linens are actually a significant part of the design. You might not consider your dishes to be décor, but when the charger plates frame a napkin with a decorative ring and create a balance of color with the linens and flatware accents, the table becomes quite impressive. The tricks of design are in the edging of the plates, the patterns on the dishes, and the contrast of color and texture with your tablecloths, overlays and runners. A standard place setting will consist of a charger plate, napkin, dinner fork, salad fork, soup spoon, dinner knife, water goblet, wine glass and champagne flute. While the etiquette for the placement on the table is pretty standard, you can create a dramatic effect with the design and the way you coordinate the pieces.
Napkins and Linens
Napkins play a role in designing the wedding reception tables. Napkins add color and texture to the table setting. You can insert a napkin into a goblet and spread it in the shape of a fan. You can add dimension with an elegant triangle fold that pops off the plate. You can tuck a menu into the fold of a napkin or insert a sprig of lavender or an orchid. Napkins have an important function beyond the design; therefore, you should consider the fabric. The design is all in the presentation.
Small Touches for Wedding Reception Tables
Some small decorative touches have purpose on your wedding reception tables. Table numbers usually consist of a paper in card stock that is folded to create a tent card and embellished with designs and a calligraphy number. These decorative signs have purpose. They will help your guests find their table. If your theme calls for it, you could name each table with a place, character or song, instead of a number. Place cards will designate seating for each guest. Menus can be tucked inside of the fold of a napkin for an elegant touch. Favors provide a keepsake for your guests. They can be placed above the plate or on the charger plate, depending on how you design the space.
Candles add a romantic glow to the table. You might consider small votive candles to accent the other décor on the wedding reception tables or create a focal point with three-by-nine-inch pillars. Candles can be used in lanterns, hurricanes or tall glass spheres. Vases can be filled with water to float small votive candles. Using different sized candles can create the perfect accent to other table décor. The only rule to using candles on the wedding reception tables is to avoid scented candles where food will be served. The scent will affect the way food is experienced.
Seating at the Table
Seating your guests at the wedding reception tables is necessary beyond the design element. You will need some seating during the cocktail hour, which might consist of barstools around high-top tables. Most guests will stand to mix and mingle during this main event. You might consider having one table for every twenty guests. If you are not arranging tables during cocktail hour, you might consider a couple tables and chairs for elderly. The chairs at your wedding reception tables are not optional. You might consider wooden folding chairs, a bamboo-style Chiavari chair, the curved open back of bentwood or the modern flair of clear polycarbonate ghost chairs. The bride and groom should have special seating that is different from all the rest. You might adorn a sweetheart table with garland and flowers and have two designated throne chairs.
Head Table or Sweetheart Table
Traditionally, the bride and groom sit with their parents and the bridal party at a head table. Some couples hold to the old traditions, but many couples choose to sit alone at their own romantic sweetheart table. Sitting alone at a sweetheart table eliminates all the confusion about tradition and creates a separate space for the bride and groom to celebrate. Couples do not normally spend a lot of time at their table during the reception, but their table should be elaborately designed. The only rule for the sweetheart table is to avoid tall centerpieces and oversized floral arrangements that would block the view of the bride and groom. This is especially important for photography.
Dressing Up Wedding Reception Tables
Not every table requires a full tablecloth, but nothing will add more texture and color to the room than elegant linens. A rustic theme might call for the exposure of wooden tables, but formal affairs almost require the visual impact of tablecloths. You might consider an overlay or runner to compliment your tablecloths. Think about the fabric and texture. Your theme and season will help you make most of the decisions about your linens. Fabric is associated with season. Velvet, brocade, dark satin and damask are reserved for fall and winter. The light and airy organza look works best with warmer seasons. Cotton, linen and silk work during any season. A polished look requires that you properly cover your wedding reception tables. This requires that you consider the length and shape of the fabric. The desired length will cover the table and legs, just reaching the floor.
Ideas for Linens
You can easily avoid a boring tablecloth with a couple ideas. Pickups can be created by pinching the fabric of a table skirt to gather and pin it in place. This works well on a long table, such as the sweetheart or head table. An overlay is usually a sheer and decorative fabric that extends down the center of the table and overhangs the ends about halfway down the sides of the table. A runner is a long strip of fabric that runs down the center. It can be used on bare wood in place of a tablecloth or placed over a tablecloth to add contrast and texture. You might consider ruching or tucking the edges of the cloth. Swaging is created by layering two tablecloths and alternately gathering into soft arcs.
Centerpieces on Your Wedding Reception Tables
Set your wedding reception tables with centerpieces. Think about the shape and size of your tables for a dramatic look that fits the space. A long table could be perfectly designed with linear centerpieces, such as rectangular baskets of wheat grass and gerbera daisies. Round wedding reception tables are best suited for clusters and a large centerpiece as a focal point. You might consider alternating the height of centerpieces on different tables to break up the space and add dimension to the room. Your centerpieces will set the tone within your wedding venue. If you dream of the rustic look, bring the outdoors in with garland runners and oversized floral arrangements. Oversized candelabras and lanterns design elegant spaces. Create a romantic vibe with vases filled with your favorite wedding flowers. Flowers are romantic and expressive. There are just a couple rules to designing your wedding reception tables. You should always avoid strongly scented floral arrangements where guests will dine. The scents will affect the way they experience the food. Also avoid blocking the view of guests. The widest part of the arrangement should be over the tallest person’s head or beneath the shortest person’s head.
Setting the Wedding Reception Tables with Your Cuisine
Wherever your imagination sets your wedding reception tables, allow 5 Senses Restaurant & Catering to create your fine dining experience. Customize your food choices to match your unique vision with a team of seasoned chefs and a diverse menu. Deliver the finest cuisine to your wedding reception tables with an artful display of a complete food experience that excites all the senses. Schedule a tasting with 5 Senses Restaurant & Catering to begin designing your wedding reception tables.