Thursday, October 15, 2009

Wedding Place Settings and Table Decor

I apologize for not posting more lately. I've had doctors appointments, dentist appointments, and we've even squeezed in a little socializing with friends! I am also somewhat happy to announce that Dylan accepted a job offer, and will be starting a new job on Monday. I say somewhat happy because it seems like the few places that are hiring right now are offering really low wages because they know how many people are desperate for work. I'm going to miss how much time we've gotten to spend together this summer since he graduated, but we're both trying to be optimistic. Fingers crossed that he likes the job, and that they appreciate what a hard worker he is!

(Oh, and I've also become somewhat addicted to playing the stupid games on Facebook. That hasn't helped.)


I've been working on this blog entry about wedding reception table decor and place settings for days, because I have been having a heck of a time finding the right pictures to go along with it. Actually, that's part of what I wanted to write about -- how hard it is to find realistic inspiration! It's a big topic for me to write about, because it is such a large part of the overall vibe and appearance of your wedding reception. I wanted to put some time into covering it.

As I mentioned before, I've made a couple of purchases for the wedding. I've bought brown tablecloths, and some lovely pearl colored organza napkins. I have never used organza napkins, but I have seen them in pictures and always thought they added some elegance and flair to a tabletop. I bought the darn things on eBay cheaper than I could rent the boring ol' plain cloth napkins, so I decided to go for it. I figured if we didn't like them for napkins, maybe I'd use them to wrap up our wedding favors or put them up on Craigslist. They just arrived, and I think they have the potential to be a gorgeous addition to our tables. I'm excited!

As you may have guessed, my current fascination is the wedding reception place settings and table decor. I've seen a ton of reception photos where the overall look is gorgeous, but I'm having a tougher time finding pictures that really show the details in a helpful way. I'd love to find some examples that make me think, "I want our tables to look just like THAT!" and "I know exactly what's needed, and I can totally make our tables look like that!" It hasn't happened yet, but I continue to look.

I've set a reasonably formal table before, but only our own dining room table. It's a different story when you have to set enough tables for 50+ people. I find myself wondering things like, "Do we really NEED chargers? Or bread plates?" I know that those are considered a standard part of a formal place setting, but when I start to weigh the usefulness against the added cost, I'm not convinced that it's worth it. I'm very detail-oriented, but the details can really add up. Plus, a lot of the pictures I see that use EVERYTHING end up with really cluttered tables.

For example, this photo I found on Flickr:

I originally focused on this picture because it had some similarities to what I imagine for our reception. They used dark tablecloths with light colored napkins folded to hold menu cards, and there weren't dinner plates on the table. Since we're planning to have our dinner plated instead of buffet, those are details that would go along with what we're imagining. I studied the photo for a moment and thought, "Yeah, we could do something like that." Then my eyes drifted toward the rest of the table. Don't get my wrong, they obviously went all out and I can absolutely appreciate that. The table just makes me feel kind of claustrophobic when I look at it. It seems to have gone a step past formal into overwhelming. I think it's an easy line to cross, and I'm trying to hold myself back from that edge.

While it may offend Martha Stewart if we skipped those details, I'm guessing that most of our guests may not even notice. Although if Martha Stewart would like to attend our wedding, I would spend the extra money and rent those things, because I love her. But I digress...

I am in brain storming mode, and soon my friend Samantha and I have decided to set up a practice table so we can experiment with what looks good.

I may be off the hook a bit because I'm not sure organza can be folded ornately, but it's been fun to see how many ways there are to fold napkins decoratively. This Napkin Folding Guide website is helpful if you're in the same stage that I'm in of going, "What the heck are our tables going to look like?! What do we do?!"

I still haven't found the "right" pictures yet for our wedding, but I have found a couple of pictures of napkin ideas that I like. I've been thinking that I'd like to tie our napkins with velvet ribbon, so here are some examples along the same line. Napkins rings are another spendy addition that I don't want to have to deal with, but I like the warmth and texture that velvet brings to the table. Plus, if I can't fold the organza into complicated origami shapes (not that I'd want to), tying a simple ribbon sounds good to me. (The top photo is from Martha Stewart, the bottom is from BHG.)

If you have some inspiring table decor ideas that you'd like to share, you're welcome to email me so I can post about it (I'll give you credit), or you can post in the comments section.

In the meantime, I continue to wish everyone luck with their wedding planning! I found myself fantasizing about eloping earlier today. But even with the elevated stress levels, I still like all of the details and planning. It'll be worth it to share our celebration with our friends and family. Remember, we just have to take a deep breath and sneak off for a pumpkin spice frappuccino with a good girlfriend every so often. (Thanks Samantha!)


  1. Hello, I just wanted to say thank you for creating this blog. I'm newly engaged and was completely clueless about wedding planning, color schemes, etc. I came across your blog through a generic google search and now have your link saved as a favorite on my computer. It's because of your posts that i was able to finally narrow down a color scheme. Btw, I'm having peacock teal, champagne, with accents of magenta. Hopefully that will look good together. :) Keep up the great work and good luck with your own planning. Lindsay, Columbia MD

  2. Pretty cool stuff, you can find more Tables from

  3. Thank you for the sweet note Lindsay! I'm so glad my blog is helping you plan your wedding. That sounds like a pretty color combination. I don't think I've seen it before. I'll add it to my list of palettes to play around with. Good luck with your planning!

  4. Though this post was been published a very long time ago but I can't resist my hand to write a simple comment for you. Actually, I am amazed with the table setting that you made here! I love the napkins, the decorations and how you put the extra touches on each vignette you decorated! Such a very wonderful table!

  5. Extremely useful post on Wedding Place Settings and Table Decor! I am glad to have this article. My wedding is also in next month and I have hired a popular planner for arrangements. At some local NYC venues I will tie wedding knot in fairy style. My planner is doing a great job.