Today's Bride

Setting your Reception Tables


Have you ever heard that a first date sets the tone for the rest of your relationship? In much the same way, your wedding day can set the tone for years of marital bliss. Just like that first date, the beauty of your wedding will be in the details!

Your wedding day doesn’t have specified rules. You get to make the rules to cater to your taste and style. What better way than to mix in elements that represent you and your fiancé? The next few paragraphs will help inspire your wedding day decor with a simple twist.

Table Themes

Reception Tables | Megan Welker Photography | As seen on
Megan Welker Photography

An ideal table should be more than beautiful flowers and shiny flatware. Like this Latin American fiesta inspired table, your reception tables should reflect your personalities as a couple. Start with commonalities and shared experiences that have made the foundation of your relationship with your fiancé. Did you spend summers watching movies at the drive-in? Do you hit the slopes every winter to race down the fresh powder? Or do you have a rivalry — say Cleveland vs. Pittsburgh? Once you’ve created a great list of ideas, start to formulate what can be brought together to make your reception tables one of a kind. Keep in mind that you don’t necessarily have to follow a theme; simple color palettes can make for an elegant event.

Check out some of these blogs to find your perfect theme – from Woodsy, to Minimalist, to Garden.


We’re living in the days of the floral centerpieces; From tall vases to short, flowers seem to be a focal point of any wedding. However, the times are changing and allowing more unique centerpieces to take shape. If you have a larger reception hall, consider mixing the sizes or numbers of vases you place on each table. By creating a mixture of short and tall vases and flowers, you’ll add height and depth to the whole room. Candles can be used to create an elegant table arrangement while adding ambient light. Styled in different heights, candles can be a simple and cost-effective way to decorate your reception table. Just keep your guests in mind when picking a centerpiece; you’ll want them to be able to communicate without your centerpieces in the way.

Get Centerpiece Inspiration and Tips with this blog!

China and Utensils

Who says you have to the plain white plates and silverware the venue or caterer provides? While there’s nothing wrong with keeping things simple and budget-friendly, there are so many options when it comes to your dishware! Mix and match patterns and colors, sizes and shapes. No matter how minimal your centerpieces or how simple your linens, you can dress up your table with interesting plates! And be sure to not let your silverware completely throw off your theme. If you’re colors are gold and blush, you don’t want stainless steel or silver knives. If you’re having a dark and gloomy Halloween wedding, keep it consistent with matte black spoons! Adding a bit of texture and variation will draw the eye and leave an impression with your guests.


Reception Tables | BCR Studios by Brad | As seen on
BCR Studios by Brad

Another element of a reception table is the stationery — namely menu cards and place cards. Once your plates, napkins, flatware, and glassware have been layered onto your table, a menu card may not have much room to breathe. For a different twist, incorporate clear glass dinner plates. In doing so, your menu card can be styled to fit the circumference under the plates for a unique see-through look.

Place cards are also another set of stationery that you might want to keep some room open for. While place cards are not always necessary, they’re a great touch for a formal wedding, and they add an extra personal touch! However, don’t forget place cards are different than escort cards. Escort cards are usually before the entrance to the reception that tells guests where their table is (i.e., it escorts them to the table); a place card lets the guest know which specific seat is his or hers (i.e., it places them at the table).

Table Numbers

Reception Tables | Gideon Photography | As seen on
Gideon Photography

Another element you can add your personal touch to is table numbers. If you can’t decide on one look you love, mix and match patterns and ideas to form the perfect arrangement. Use metals, card stock, wooden carvings, or picture frames, and play around with different fonts and sizes to display these numbers. Have you and your fiancé decided on a baseball theme? Why not display table numbers as small scoreboards and the seating place cards as ticket stubs? To make it a personal reflection on your lives, try adding photos of each of you at the age for that corresponding table (i.e., a picture of you both at age 4 for table 4). Just remember that these extra touches don’t have to break the bank; a simple and minimal style can also be tailored to represent the reflection of your love. Not only will this suit your vision but your budget as well.


Reception Tables | Black Dog Photo Co | As seen on
Black Dog Photo Co.

Even though the chairs accompany the reception table, they still need to be treated as if they are a vision of their own. From the color of the spindles to the height of the back, the chairs of a reception table can create a simple vibe without trying too hard. Covering of chairs has been around for a while, and yet it’s still trendy. But, partially covered or cover-less chair can look just as fabulous. Try mixing styles of antique chairs to create a whimsical and effortlessly chic look, or rent some rustic farm chairs. Just be sure that, regardless of how beautiful they look, they have to be comfortable, too!

Hopefully, some of these ideas will help you create details that will wow every guest. But don’t forget that the best part of identifying these details is that they come from the shared experiences and interests of you and your fiancé.


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