Wedding Reception Decorations: Table Decoration Ideas And Tips

Simple, quick, and inexpensive ideas, tips, and tricks for creating elegant wedding reception table decorations.

Weddings are romantic, elegant events celebrating a couple's love. Though the ceremony is the focal point of the event, ceremonies are usually brief and guests spend most of their time at the reception. Reception decorations create the atmosphere of the celebration, whether it is romantic, playful, or exuberant. Decorating the tables in an elegant and coordinated fashion sets the mood for an event that guests won't soon forget.

Reception Table Decorations: Cloths

Most reception sites have plain tablecloths readily available, perhaps in a variety of standard colors. Those cloths are quickly and easily enhanced with overlays, runners, or doilies to add texture, color, and detail to the table. Overlays can be plain, ruffled, or lace. Colors that coordinate with other wedding colors, such as the bride's bouquet or the attendants' gowns, create a visual bridge between the ceremony and reception decorations. Cloth napkins in varying shades of color can be layered to create a central runner or pattern on longer tables.

When layering different cloths, be sure that the fabrics will not slide easily. If necessary, strategically place strips of double-sided tape to insure that everything remains in place. While several different layers create a look of elegance and depth, too many layers can be unwieldy and cluttered. Choose colors from the same family and always test an arrangement to be sure that the entire table has the desired look before committing to decorating the entire event.

If overlays and runners are not available, napkins can be arranged to coordinate with the table decorations. Instead of rolling or folding napkins next to the place setting, unfold them and arrange them to drape along the table's edge to create the illusion of an overlay.

Reception Table Decorations: Borders

While most tables at wedding receptions have guests seated on all sides, the head table and cake table usually do not. These tables are focal points for reception activity and are likely to be photographed many times, and extra care should be taken to create a breathtaking tableau. Because there are no chairs along parts of these tables, the edges can be easily decorated with twinkle lights, garlands, or draped fabrics.

White twinkle lights add romantic lighting to a reception because they are delicate and discreet. Strands of lights are often heavily discounted in late December and early January, but take care that the wires are white, not green, so they can be easily hidden. To conceal the wires, first attach the lights and test that they work properly. Then drape tulle, ribbon, or other semi-transparent fabrics or garlands along the edge of the table. Do not wrap fabric tightly around the lights, as this may create a fire hazard.

Ferns and leafy garlands make dramatic borders for reception tables. Flowering garlands can easily coordinate with other decorations, or simple greenery can create an understated effect. To reuse decorations and create fabulous displays for a fraction of the cost, hang bouquet holders at the corners of tables for bridesmaids' bouquets. These flowers will are not used after the ceremony and can easily be incorporated into reception decorations. The bride's bouquet could serve as a decorative display for the head table as well. Bows, bells, or balloons can be used to accent table corners or the drapes of garlands and fabrics.

Reception Table Decorations: Centerpieces

Classic wedding centerpieces are elaborate floral arrangements. This traditional look creates a romantic and regal atmosphere, but be sure that centerpieces are not so elaborate that guests cannot talk with other people seated at the same table. Floral centerpieces can be mounted in high urns, allowing guests to see beneath them, or different tables can alternate between high and low arrangements. Very high arrangements work best in rooms with high ceilings, while low arrangements are best in outdoor locations that may have a stiff breeze.

Candles are one of the most popular table centerpieces because of the romantic atmosphere they create. Small candles can be arranged around larger pieces, even around vases or potted flowers, to create a larger centerpiece. Floating candles and tea lights are inexpensive and can be combined with pillars, tapers, and jar candles for intricate texture and variety. Candles are available in many colors and scents, and wrapped candles are popular wedding favors that can be incorporated into table decorations. To emphasize the romantic light and warmth of candles, place them on top of mirrors or metallic runners to maximize reflections.

Non-traditional centerpieces add a touch of whimsy and individuality to reception decorations. An upright pineapple surrounded by yellow tea light candles is a charming centerpiece for a tropical-themed wedding. Bowls of fruit can add vibrant color as well as be a tasty accompaniment to the meal. Fish bowls can be filled with sand, shells, or real fish for beach weddings. Miniature pumpkins and squashes are perfect for fall weddings. When coordinated with candles or other inexpensive details, many types of decorations become elegant centerpieces.

Reception Table Decorations: Sprinkles

A delightful touch to decorating tables is to sprinkle a final accent around the centerpiece, drawing together all the visual elements of the table into a coordinated design. Heart-shaped confetti, glass rocks, and rose petals are all common varieties of sprinkles. Feathers are an unusual yet romantic alternative and can be found in many different colors at craft supply stores. Bright leaves, whether silk or collected from neighboring hillsides, are appropriate for fall weddings. Shells or sand dollars work well for beach weddings, and wrapped chocolate kisses or candies provide a sweet touch to any d├ęcor.

Take care that sprinkles are not placed too near candles, especially leaves and rose petals that could burn. Regular glitter is difficult to remove from some types of cloth, so larger, more visible confetti should be used. Rose petals, leaves, and other natural sprinkles should be thoroughly cleaned before used in decorating.

With careful attention to detail, elegant wedding reception table decorations are easy to create. These tables will provide the background for many celebratory moments: cutting the cake, congratulatory toasts, and innumerable kisses. Such an occasion is worthy of a grand setting, and beautiful decorations insure that the evening is as much a dream come true as the romance it celebrates.

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