Often, our most liked posts on Instagram and pinned photos on Pinterest are those picture-perfect tablescapes. You know, a wedding reception table filled with florals, candles, chargers, plates, fancy flatware and coordinated paper goods. Many elements go into the perfect wedding table setting. It’s all in the details.
That’s why we’ve consulted a pool of top wedding designers and planners for what exactly goes into an enchanting dinner table setting. First, save our checklist above. Then, read our expert tips below to build out your magazine-worthy tablescape. Best of all, all of these elements can be applied to more than just wedding reception tables. Save these tips for styling your bridal shower set-up or any at-home or holiday event!
Choose a tablescape color palette.
“As a wedding planner and designer, we always recommend creating a place setting for your wedding that infuses the couple’s personality. You can choose to be formal, casual or even add details that give a wow factor. One of the first things to establish before creating your table design is the color palette you want to use to create the desired mood. Start from that one color that you love, and then build it out with multiple tones and textures. Before long you’ll have a dreamy, stylish wedding aesthetic that is perfectly coordinated.” – Rea Owens-Byerly, Certified Wedding Planner & Designer, Rea Danielle Designs
Order place cards.
“Everyone needs to know where to sit! A specialty place card is a perfect way to make guests feel special with their seat – how many times have you seen a photo on Instagram of a beautiful place setting?! Everyone loves an Instagram-worthy moment! Whether you choose a classic place card or something unique like a calligraphed item (we’ve seen seashells, keychains, leaves, and more!), in our eyes, a beautiful place card is a must.” – Jennifer Ebert, Founder, PP Design Studio
Print custom menus.
“Custom menus are such a pretty, elevated way to highlight the delicious foods your guests will be served, and they provide a nice way to add an extra design element to your place setting. We love personalized moments like including each guest’s name on their menu, adding custom design details like a motif that matches your wedding theme (perhaps a butterfly, a specific flower, or even your crest or monogram), and utilizing high-end fonts and color palettes to make things feel special.” – Jennifer Ebert, Founder, PP Design Studio
Include a floral component.
“I love incorporating a floral or plant-focused component into the place setting! Whether this is a focal bloom that adorns the charger plate or a sprig of an herb or piece of greenery as an accent, elements like these give off a purposeful and personalized complement to the rest of the setting.” – Alexandra Denniston, Owner & Lead Planner, Eventlightenment Planning
Enhance with lighting.
“Create a beautiful ambiance by completely filling the center of your table with lights. Arrange clusters of candles in votives and or candelabras arranged at different heights.” – Rea Owens-Byerly, Certified Wedding Planner & Designer, Rea Danielle Designs
Add layers to your table setting!
“Adding layers to your place setting, whether it’s as simple as a combination of linen napkins and menu cards or everything from a charger, napkin, menu card, place card and floral accent, adds interest to your place setting by adding color and texture. You can scale up or down based on your budget.” – Stephanie, Cape Cod Celebrations
Play with texture.
“Texture can be found in almost any detail from the linens to the florals and even the paper details. Think of velvet linens, varied floral design, or textured stationery. The texture and shape of your seating and tables can also play a huge role in the overall design.” – Rea Owens-Byerly, Certified Wedding Planner & Designer, Rea Danielle Designs
Personal salt cellars for a special touch.
“A place setting has to include all of the basics like silverware, glassware, napkin, and a centerpiece of some sort. What instantly elevates a setting is a charger, a unique napkin fold, a beautiful menu card, and lush flowers. What really puts it over the edge for me? Personal salt cellars. They are so unnecessary, but so luxurious and chic while remaining relatively inexpensive to incorporate. The goal of many couples today is to give their guests a unique experience with hospitality at the heart of it all. This is just one easy way to achieve that goal!” – Nora Sheils, Founder of Bridal Bliss and Co-Founder of Rock Paper Coin
Harness your creativity!
“Don’t be afraid to have fun and be creative! This is another super important tip that couples often forget. People love attending weddings that feel personal and authentic. Adding personalized details help your guests to feel loved and a part of your big day. Sit down with your partner and reflect on your individual tastes and your combined style.” – Rea Owens-Byerly, Certified Wedding Planner & Designer, Rea Danielle Designs
“We’ve all said it before — it’s all about the details! My favorite place settings spare no expense in treating guests to a feast for both the eyes and the stomach. From elaborate day-of stationery to lush floral (with allll the candles!), to edible favors that greet guests upon arrival to their seat, you can’t go wrong when guest experience is at the forefront of your decision making.” – Ashley Lachney, Owner of Alston Mayger Events
When in doubt, choose a classic table setting set-up.
“We have a few go-to’s for the perfect place setting for different styles!
The All Outer – Charger plate, with the stacked salad plate, the full glassware set, water, red wine, white wine, and champagne, and the full flatware set. Along with a customized guest menu. This is a menu specifically for that guest, with their name on top and what they choose to eat.
The In-Between – Charger plate, water glass, one wine glass, champagne glass with flatware, napkin, and a menu!
The Simplistic – Napkin, menu, with a floral accent, flatware set with a water glass, and champagne glass to toast the night away!”
– Erica Trombetti, Infinite Events
These tips were gathered with help from Be Inspired PR, a PR + Social Media Agency for wedding, wellness and lifestyle clients. With over 10+ years of experience, we’re here to take our clients to the next level! Find oodles of stylish wedding inspiration on their Instagram and Pinterest.