How To Dress Up Your Reception Tables

Your wedding day is a momentous occasion, so you want to make sure you get every detail right. The centrepieces are a perfect place to make a statement and can be done to match your wedding’s style and colour palette. You can go traditional, with a white tablecloth and candles or flowers, or you can opt for a more casual, fun style with paper lanterns, buckets, or glass vases. No matter which style you choose, your centrepieces should be simple and elegant.

Here are some ideas to get you thinking:

Floral and Food

The most traditional and easiest to pull off for most brides, florists and planners, floral centrepieces don’t have to be boring. Current trends include monochrome and tone-on-tone arrangements. You can echo the flowers in your bouquet, use something sentimental to you or play up your overall theme. A gathering of small potted plants forming each centrepiece can double as favours.

Flowers are sharing the limelight with fruits and vegetables. Glass hurricanes filled with apples and topped with red, orange and gold fall blossoms look great for an autumn wedding. So do farm baskets filled with lush produce if you have a less formal reception setting. Stalks of asparagus can line vases filled with pink peonies and greens in the spring.

Topiaries can be sweet, too, and can be fabricated from either fruit or flowers, or both.

How To Dress Up Your Reception Tables


It doesn’t get more formal and elegant than tall silver candelabras or simpler than tea lights floating in bowls of water with flower petals. There are plenty of other options for taking advantage of these economical (and flattering) centrepiece classics. In addition to the always-popular tea lights and flower petals mentioned, you can also line the centre of the table with several small, clear glass vessels each with one or two floating tea lights.

A drop or two of food colouring in each vessel will create an illuminated runner in your wedding colours on each table. Think about placing candles in vases or jars surrounded by thematic elements (shells and sand at a beach wedding, river rocks for a country fete, painted nuts and pinecones for a winter wonderland). The candles can serve a double purpose if you wrap a band of pretty paper around it with the table number, perhaps along with your names and wedding date.


Weddings with very modern decor can benefit from centrepieces made from contemporary materials like Lucite, or even simply metal. Ball-shaped ornaments can be used to accent a winter wedding. Birdcages (sans live birds) are often beautiful and ornate and can be painted to match any palette. Drape them with a little ivy for a civilized, outdoor feel, even in a ballroom. Love Alice in Wonderland? Scour flea markets and thrift stores for teapots.

Fill them with flowers, or not. Groupings of almost anything can work: music boxes, teapots, Mardi Gras masks and beads or framed photographs, for instance, provided you have an arrangement with texture and visual interest and it coordinates with the level of formality of your party.


You can research various wedding sites and the magazines associated with them can be an endless source of information, but don’t overlook more local muses like your favourite restaurants, hotels and clubs and smaller sites. Wedding planners often show portfolios of past events they’ve coordinated, too.

More elaborate or unusual arrangements may be difficult for some florists to pull together, so make sure you and your arranger are in close contact and on the same page. It may not be a bad idea to see a sample centrepiece well in advance of the big day, just in case you need to come up with Plan B, a different arrangement or a different assembler.


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