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Table Decorating Ideas for Wedding Receptions

The right table decorating ideas for a wedding creates a beautiful tableau for the reception and the beginning of a couple’s happily ever after. While people may not notice if you swap out the room’s curtains to match your wedding decorations, they will notice whether or not your tables are festive. Make sure each one is part of the overall decorating scheme.

Simple Wedding Table Decoration Elements

Tables are an integral part of any reception, so a couple’s budget could easily be stretched thinner than a tablecloth when choosing how to make each one attractive. There are many easy ways to decorate tables, however, without excessive spending on wedding reception decorations.

Cloths and Covers

Classic white tablecloths are the most common choice for weddings, but they are also the most predictable. Use these easy ideas for unique tablecloths to add flair and distinction to the table decorations:

  • Choosing colored cloths will add drama, and will also conceal stains more easily
  • Use streamers, ribbons, or layered cloth napkins to create a central runner or add color to the tablecloth
  • Choose patterned or lace cloths for more textural detail
  • Drape cloths along the edges of the table for greater visual impact


How a reception is lit can greatly enhance the atmosphere, and many decorating ideas for a wedding incorporate different light sources as part of the décor. Options include:

  • Candle centerpieces or tea lights as centerpiece accents
  • Floating candles or candles on mirrors to reflect the light
  • Twinkle lights strung along the sides of the tables and wrapped in tulle or lace
  • Rope lights along the edges of the tables


Centerpieces are the most common way to add flair to a table, but a wedding centerpiece idea can be more than just a pretty bouquet of flowers. Try these ideas for centerpieces for wedding reception tables that will create unique and beautiful decorations.

  • Alternate short and tall centerpieces to provide visual appeal
  • Incorporate the bridesmaids’ bouquets and bridal bouquet as part of the centerpieces to save money
  • Match the season or location to your centerpiece, like using tropical wedding centerpieces for a summer beach wedding
  • Use unusual items such as autumn leaves, ice sculptures, mirrors, or picture frames to create distinctive centerpieces
  • Create breakaway centerpieces that can double as wedding favors
  • Create edible centerpieces for tasty decorations, such as carved vegetables, a fruit bowl, salt water taffy for a beach wedding, or other delectable treats
  • Use thematic elements, like succulents, wood slices, or even antique books, to create the right look
  • Go with a color, such as red centerpieces or purple centerpieces

Sprinkles and Scatterings

Adding lightly sprinkled items is a fast and inexpensive way to decorate wedding tables. Sprinkles can be combined with centerpieces or used on their own for more simple designs. They look best when surrounding a centerpiece on round tables or stretched down a long table runner on rectangle tables. Popular items to sprinkle on tables include:

  • Glitter or confetti that matches the wedding colors
  • Rose petals or other flower petals
  • Autumn leaves for a fall wedding
  • Faux ice cubes for a winter wedding
  • Glass beads or rocks
  • Mini rose buds
  • Small sea shells

Place Settings

Extending decorations to the edge of the table will create stunning place settings that add to the overall décor of the event. While place settings must be functional, these tips can make them beautiful as well.

  • Choose upgraded china, cutlery, and glasses for immediate elegance
  • Use elaborately folded napkins to decorate individual plates
  • Add decorative place cards to assist with seating charts and add a formal flair
  • Coordinate colors of china, napkins, tablecloths, and other items for an integrated, professional look
  • Decorate chairs with covers or ribbons to further extend the décor

Shape and Arrangement

The shape and table layout at a wedding reception are subtle but powerful decorative elements. Small round or oval tables are more elegant than rectangular tables, and arranging tables in clusters encourages conversation and mingling. Buffet tables may be arranged in a U-shape or other format for more distinction than a straight line. Adding a backdrop behind the head table or cake table can also accentuate the decorations and create a picture-perfect setting.