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Hi there! Welcome to my blog, MRE Moments! Chatting all things weddings, sharing stories about my amazing couples and dig into helpful planning & design advice. Take a peek!

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Designing the Perfect Tablescape

Jun 19, 2020

If there is one thing that I love more than planning weddings, it’s designing them! And today I am here to talk to you about one of my favorite aspects of wedding design – how to design a GORGEOUS tablescape!

I know you’re dying to know what goes through my mind & all of the things I consider when I am helping my couples design the perfect reception table. So here’s a break down all of the elements needed to design the perfect tablescape for your wedding reception!

Close up of gray and lavender tablescape design at Calistoga Ranch

Shape of the Table 

First & foremost, you need to pick the shape of the table that you want to use. Are you a traditionalist & wanting to stick with rounds? Maybe you want to go with an edgier vibe, and want to consider square tables. Or my favorite, long king’s tables like the pic below! You can even do a combo of table shapes if you’re feeling wild! No matter what you choose, the shape of your table will dictate your entire tablescape design including centerpiece style, linen size & how the tables will fit in your venue space.

For the wedding below, we mixed rectangle farm tables & rounds to add more visual interest to the reception space. For more pictures from this magical wedding at Deer Park Villa, head to Chelsea & Adam’s gallery.

Reception with farm tables at Deer Park Villa

Photo Credit: Of Love & Magic | Florals: Nature Rules Co. | Caterer: A Forkfull of Earth | Venue: Deer Park Villa


If no one has told you this yet, lines are SUPER important! I know it feels tempting to use the standard white linens that your venue provides, but nothing washes out your design more than using boring, plain linens.

Think about linens as the grounding base of your tablescape design. It is important to consider fabric weight, texture, pattern and color when choosing your linen. The perfect linen can make all the difference in the world when it comes to your tablescape design. 

For the wedding below, I chose a gorgeous velvet line in the color Tamarind from La Tavola Linen. When I saw it in the showroom, I knew immediately that I would base my entire design off of it. I mean, look at that stunning mustard hue!

This luxurious velvet table linen served as a pop of color & texture as the base of the design, which was inspired by the colors of the sunset (also known as golden hour). I also went with a soft pink napkin in a more organic fabric as an ode to the winery setting of the reception.

To top it off, I added a cream chiffon runner for a soft, flowing, romantic look! I am actually using this exact linen for a wedding next September and I can’t wait create a whole new design with it!

For more pictures from this gorgeous wedding at Jucuzzi Vineyards, head to my Golden Hour Inspired Wedding gallery.

Photo Credit: Elise Eileen Photography | Linen: LaTavola | Rentals: Bright Event Rentals | Florals: Nature Rules Co. | Venue: Jacuzzi Vineyards


Chairs are right up there for me with linens. I know a lot of people think that chairs don’t matter, but if you have the wrong chair, it certainly matters! Chairs should compliment your overall design & when you choose the wrong chair, it can stick out like a sore thumb. So spend some time thinking about choosing the right chair for your design. You can also use multiple chair types for your ceremony & reception if you want more variety in your design.

For the design below, I picked chunky upholstered chairs to play off of the ornate legs of the farm table & to also give the overall design a more sophisticated feel. Even though the chairs add a more upscale feel, the wooden frame ties in nicely with the gray farm table & outdoor reception space. For more pics of this stunning tablescape, head to my Opal Inspired Calistoga Ranch Wedding blog post!

gray wooden table with lavender table runner and gray and gold decor at Calistoga Ranch

Photo credit: Christy Marie Photography & Kimberly MacDonald Photography | Rentals: Encore | Florals: Nature Rules Co. | Linen: Partycrush Studio | Venue: Calistoga Ranch


Sometimes the centerpiece is the first (& only part) of the tablescape design that couples think about. However, there are so other elements to consider! The centerpiece size, shape and composition will not only depend on the overall look & feel of your wedding, but also on the shape of your table.

Round tables typically only require 1 centerpiece, whereas long or rectangle tables require more than 1. For the below, we incorporated 3 centerpieces on our 8ft farm table. 1 large arrangement to anchor the table in the middle & 2 smaller arrangements flanking the middle arrangement at the ends of the table.

Another thing so consider when you are choosing your centerpieces is to think about the type of food being served, meaning how much space do you need to leave for caterers on the table? For example, if you are serving family style meals, this requires more plates on the table & may mean you need to have a smaller centerpiece. Chat about this with your florist & caterer when choosing your centerpiece design.

For more pictures from this beautiful, moody wedding, head to my Winter Luxe Boho Wedding gallery.

Photo credit: Kimberly MacDonald Photography | Linen: Partycrush Studio | Rentals: Encore | Florals: Nature Rules Co.

Napkin Fold

The napkin fold is something that couples often overlook, but it can add such a fun dimension to your tablescape design. Here’s my advice: When in doubt go with a flat fold. There is nothing wrong with traditional! There are also tons of other options out there, so ask your caterer or venue coordinator how they typically fold napkins and make sure you are okay with their suggestion (or show them what you want).

For the wedding below we did a super fun knot tie for the napkins at each setting! These are super easy to fold & really make a statement.

Photo credit: Leah Johnhell | Rentals: Bright Event Rentals | Florals: Nature Rules Co. | Venue: The Pearl

Napkin Treatment

One of my favorite touches! It’s a special treat for each guest when they sit down at the table and, it really ties the overall look of the table together. Think fabric wraps, lace, twine, ribbons, fresh flowers,/greenery, herbs, or even just a personalized dinner menu. These are all special touches that create an amazing guest experience. It makes all the difference!

For the tablescape design below we added sprigs of Eucalyptus to each place setting for an extra special little touch. For more pics of this beautiful wine country wedding at Silverado Resort, head over to Jessica & Patrick’s wedding gallery.

Reception table decor with blue napkin, silver silverware and green and white floral centerpiece

Photo credit: Kimberly MacDonald Photography | Florals: Nature Rules Co. | Venue: Silverado Resort

Plates + China

While many hotels, caterers & venues offer standard in house plates/china, it’s always worth asking what your options are. That way you can make sure that they fit your design. If the in house options aren’t your favorite, but you have a limited budget, you can consider renting chargers or a decorative plate for each setting instead of renting all new dishes. 

If you do decide to rent dishes/china, either because you have to bring in all of your own rentals, or you want to bring in a different style – the options are endless! Take a trip to a rental showroom & play around with different dish combinations. Have fun with this & choose patterns/colors that are cohesive with your wedding design.  I love going to the rental showroom to see what combos I can come up with! 

For the tablescape design below I found this really fun black metal charger & paired it was 2 different colored stoneware plates to incorporate a unexpected pattern combo & bold color contrast!

Black metal charger with black stoneware plate & clay stoneware plate

Photo credit: Jenny Colleen| Florals: Nature Rules Co. | Silverware Fabric Ties: Camas Lili Co | Plates & Charger: CB2 | Calligraphy & Placecards |Signs of Our Lives | Rug: Pull & Thread

Flatware + Glassware 

Renting flatware & glassware is the same scenario as dishes/china. If your venue includes it, you may not want to allocate your budget to changing it up, but it’s something to consider as you are planning the other details of your tablescape design. Maybe you want to bring in different flatware, or crystal glassware, again the possibilities are endless. There are so many fun combinations that you can dream up!

For the design below, I chose gold flatware & paried 2 different types of etched crystal glassware to create a more elevated feel on top of our natural linen. For more pictures of this pretty combo, head over to Marie & Scott’s private estate wedding gallery!

Photo credit: Torrey Fox Photography | Rentals: Encore | Florals: Nature Rules Co.

Other Decor + Place cards + Table Numbers

These are some final touches to give a little thought to when designing your tablescape. These items will tie in the overall look and feel of your design & make it memorable. I typically like to add in candlelight, either tall taper candles or pretty votives for romantic lighting.

I’ve also incorporated vintage books (as seen below) into one of my tablescape designs, and have also played with fresh fruit & air plants in another design – the possibilities are endless! Choose decor items that really speak to you as a couple & fit your overall design esthetic. Have fun with it & get creative!

Place cards & table numbers also come in many materials & designs, so play around with different options until you find the perfect look! In the past I have used tons of different types of materials for table numbers & place cards including acrylic, wood, vellum, high end paper, metal etc.

I also love using table numbers/place cards that incorporate calligraphy. In my opinion, calligraphy is so timeless & since it comes in a variety of fonts, it is very versatile & pairs well with a lot of designs.

For more pictures from this magical wedding at Deer Park Villa, head to Chelsea & Adam’s gallery.

Romantic Sweetheart table in front of floral arch at Deer Park Villa

Photo credit: Of Love & Magic | Florals: Nature Rules Co. | Linen: Partycrush Studio | Venue: Deer Park Villa | Caterer: A Forkfull of Earth

I could go on forever about this topic! There are so many fun elements that make up a gorgeous tablescape design, so I hope these tips were helpful! Happy designing!


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