Wedding Reception Table Styling

It can sometimes be incredibly difficult to dress a table for a wedding reception – you want to create something which is visually appealing yet also take into account the many practical considerations! Huge thanks to Kate from Lavender & Linen for great ideas and advice in this guest post, over to Kate…

This post was borne from a number of questions I have recently been asked from our couples about how to dress their reception tables. With so many wonderful ideas and inspiration out there it is hard to pick those few elements of your table designs that will not only wow your guests, but work practically on the day. What looks like styled perfection on photo shoot images doesn’t always translate into a workable layout for a real wedding reception.

wedding reception table setting

Image from

Wedding Reception Table Styling

I find it helps to list the items that will be essential to the type of meal you are providing, for example you may have some or all of the following:

Floral centrepiece

Lighting – tea-lights, candles, candelbra etc

Crockery – be it dinner plates or vintage tea style china




Place names/escort cards


Table number

Glassware – wine glasses, water glasses, decanters, champagne glasses, jugs etc

Wine coolers

Wine bottles

Already you are looking at a great number of items, so you need to consider carefully the size and shape of the tables that will be available at your venue – round, rectangular, long banquet style, or even none at all – are you going to rock that festival style picnic?!

Round tables normally seat 8 or 10, but can vary in size – always ask your venue if you can see photos of previous weddings on their tables – this will give you an idea of whether less is really more.

Your budget will really come in to play here – if you can afford it I personally would go for tables of 8 – not only will it be easier for your guests to hold conversation, they will have more elbow room and you can really go to town on your styling. However, be prepared to then spend more on the number of your centrepieces. For example for around 100 guests seating tables of 10 you would obviously need 10 tables, if you only seat 8 per table you will need at least 3 more tables. So it is worth doing your maths!

If you do seat 10 I would keep the table designs simple to avoid overloading your tables and cramping your style. Also, bear in mind the height of your décor – I really dislike being confronted with a huge edifice that prevents any form of conversation other than those seated directly beside me.

wedding reception table styling

Image from DIY Wedding Decorations

Decide what elements are most important to you and showcase them – be it flowers, stationery or favours. Really let the details shine, especially if you have invested a lot of time in DIY crafting for your wedding.

wedding reception table styling

Photography by Karma Hill

If you are having long banqueting tables again do you maths – work out the amount of space each guest will have and consider the spacing of your floral arrangements – really engage your florist here as it will pay off on the day. Depending on the style you have chosen they will be able to advise you on the amount  necessary to create that table magic – be it a floral table runner or smaller individual arrangements.

wedding reception table styling

Photography by Erin Hearts Court

Other things to consider are food and drink – will you need extra space on your tables for food, or are your caterers bringing the dining plates direct to your guests? This has significant implications for how your design your tables. If you are having a buffet or sharing platter style then you will need to set aside space accordingly.

If all this throws you into a styling panic don’t worry – consider hiring a wedding stylist – my top tip is to have a practice layout. Mark out an area on the floor the size of one of your tables and actually set it out as you are planning on the day. Automatically you will see whether it looks too fussy and you are running out of space for your must-have touches, or that it appears bare and in need of more dressing. Take a photo and compare it to images of wedding table settings you love.

Finally – enjoy this part! Designing these details are some of the most enjoyable parts of planning a wedding – it’s all about the pretty!

Kate x

Editor’s Note:

If you want some more gorgeous wedding inspiration then do pop over to Kate’s website – Lavender and Linen. You can also contact Kate at for any enquiries, she’d love to hear from you!

Carol x


April 2, 2013 | By | Reply More

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Category: Wedding Color & Theme Ideas

Leave a Reply