The Forgotten Art of The Table Setting

A sure fire element to drop some jaws & really bring the WOW factor is an often ignored element in decor: Table Setting.  Believe it or not, this goes well beyond centerpieces.  I wont lie though, this is also an area where the price tag can easily sky rocket.  If your on a tight budget, yet you still really want those tables to sing, a bit of leg work & maybe some well crafted dumpster diving might be in order.  But I digress…

The Forgotten Art of The Table SettingSo, whats the big deal right?  Just about anyone can pick a simple table cloth, and throw on some white catering plates and call it a day.  For some, that might be exactly what your looking for, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that!  Just the same,  lets head down the rabbit hole shall we, and have a look at various elements that can really bring together an above & beyond look and feel to your wedding.

The Forgotten Art of The Table Setting

I want to start us off with my forever favorite variation, the natural wood table.  If your fortunate enough to have a venue that already has tables like this or you can rent them, I highly suggest not using a full linen, and really allowing that gorgeous wood to shine through!  These can be easily dressed up with a patterned runner or napkins & even place mates.

The Forgotten Art of The Table SettingThe strong wood will lend a nice organic feel to your wedding, & depending on the accompanying linens, plate ware, etc that you choose, you can shape your table decor to perfectly fit the vibe your going for.

Chargers are a really fun element in table decor.  They are a great way to add a splash of color & texture to the table.  The image below is a perfect example of a simple gold charger that gives a pop of color without screaming at you.  Plate layering is also a great technique and gives you the option of bringing in various sizes, colors, textures & patterns.  This can also give a small hint of height to your table, giving the eye a sense of movement around the table frame.

The Forgotten Art of The Table Setting

Seems a funny thing, but napkin & silverware location on the table is also play a key & important role in your overall design.  The Forgotten Art of The Table SettingThere is no right or wrong here, simply find a look that mirrors your voice & how the overall flow should be.  If your looking for some height, then I would definitely suggest having your silverware on your top plate, or really find a fun unique napkin fold that can bring the drama.

Colors are great, but patterns are oh so much more fun!  My personal advice, do not be afraid to play!  True, things can get out of control very easily, mix matching to the point of nausea, but if you are honest with yourself, can muster a bit of self editing, you can indeed create a masterpiece!  The Forgotten Art of The Table SettingAlso realize each pattern you choose doesnt necessarily have to shout out at you.  Some are meant to play the lead role, while others are perfecting for the supporting cast.   The linen of choice in the image to the left is a wonderful example of a supporting cast player.  The  cloth is a soft beige with a cream floral print & fringe.  Clearly its a pattern, but it isnt trying to steal the show, or draw direct attention to the eye.  Where as the plates have a lovely strong blue pattern.  Those bad boys really pop & take center stage.  The 2 patterns, as well as the colors,  blend together perfectly to create a harmonious balance that is very pleasing to look at.

However, what if you really want to play??  All is fair in love & table setting my friend!  If you think you can swing it, there are most definitely competing  patterns that actually can play nice together.  A great way to approach such a thing is to find a strong common element throughout.  Color is pretty much a must to help tie it together.  For example, find a strong blue that runs through your various options, or perhaps an element of whimsy might be what your after. The Forgotten Art of The Table Setting Target patterns and textures that play into the thought process as well as compliment each other versus competing.  Another thing to consider is that if your going to have strong linens & plate ware, you might want to pick quieter silver ware and glass ware.  With all that action on the table, you will need a few places for the eye to rest.

The Forgotten Art of The Table SettingIf your a fan of a more organic feeling to your table setting, you can also work with your florist to create lovely floral inspired napkin rings to really bring things together.  As well, herbs are an absolutely wonderful finishing touch and something I highly recommend considering.

I have seen a lot of fruit lately being used as an element in and of itself in table decor and I am really liking it.  You can go simple, using it as a finishing touch or even allow it to serve a purpose and direct guest to their appropriate seats for their escort cards.  Something really sweet I found were guest names that were etched into pomegranates!  How unique and fun!

The Forgotten Art of The Table Setting  So now that I have filled your head with lots of things to consider, where exactly can you go for inspiration or even guidance for that matter?  Believe it or not, non-wedding related places are a fantastic source of items & ideas!   Horchow actually has a table top design area & even goes so far as to break it down into sections of look, feel & theme!  Stores that have unique offerings that can really get your creative juices flowing are Anthropologie & Jayson Home.  I find it often really helps me to actually not look purely at wedding related sources.  I find you unintentionally pigeon hole yourself & begin to think solely within the confines of what has been done before in the wedding world.

With all things design, perhaps the most helpful can be bouncing things off of another person.  Rental companies are wonderful, but some have limited selections & you might be forced to find the right elements for your wedding without them.  Be sure to lean on someone who’s design taste you trust & has a strong understanding of what you truly want.  As well by all means, throw some questions my way!  Hope this helps you create an amazing tablescape that will really drive home all the hard work that will put into it!

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  1. Step Outside of The Wedding Inspiration Box | Storyboard Wedding on February 12th, 2013 at 10:26 pm