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Wedding planning guide

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Wedding reception table decoration ideas

Decorating your wedding reception tables will add that extra finesse. For creative ideas on centrepieces, table numbers and place cards to suit any wedding theme and budget read on.

wedding reception table decoration ideas

wedding favours - creating a seating plan - cake toppers

What table decorations are crucial to include

If you are looking for a low cost, simple wedding breakfast layout, the only items needed are place cards, so guests know where to sit and table numbers to enable guests to find their seat easily and not feel like they are entering an exam hall. These items are covered first. If you are looking for guidance on centrepieces specifically scroll to the bottom of the article.

Place cards

Place cards allow guests to find their seat and negate any issue of couples or friends being separated at dinner. These cards also allow you to make sure that guests are seated next to people they know or will enjoy meeting. This section focuses on buying or making place cards.

wedding reception table decoration ideas
Popular place card ideas
  • Traditional folded cardboard style
  • Painted pebbles
  • Luggage tags
  • Cardboard tags on a seasonal item, for example, a pine cone, leaf, sprig of lavender or ball ball
  • If opting for a tag, it is worth considering if it can be incorporated into the wedding favour.

    Related article wedding favours your guests will love

    Where to buy place cards

    Plain coloured, simple place-card templates can be purchased in all high street card shops. Names can then be added by hand or by printing on sticky labels. For more elaborate or coloured creations it is worth looking at craft-based shops such as Hobby Craft or going online to Not On The High Street or Etsy for inspiration.

    wedding reception table decoration ideas
    How to make your own place cards

    Creating creative place cards

    If opting for a specific design, an additional rustic charm can be added by collecting our items rather than buying them. For example; going in search of pebbles on the beach, foliage in forests or parks/garden for flowers. If opting for a rustic place card do not be overly concerned if painted names or items vary, this will add to the look. Always collect more items than needed to allow for creative mishaps.

    wedding reception table decoration ideas
    Table numbers

    Unless you are set of being extra creative, there is no need to stray from the traditional table numbering system as this will ensure caterers give the right meals to the right people. Numbers will also make set up easier if you will not be overseeing it. Popular table number designs are:

  • Cardboard number cards
  • Freestanding Wooden or craft numbers
  • Special places, nicknames or country cards

  • Where to buy table numbers
  • Table numbers cards are available in all high street card shops or Hobby Craft.
  • Freestanding wooden are available at Hobby Craft or online at Amazon. Make sure to check the size and wood finish before ordering.
  • Special bespoke ideas can be created and printed at online print such as Vista Print. If opting for this service try to keep the design in keeping with other stationery and last touches items.
  • wedding reception table decoration ideas
    How to make table numbers visible

    Venues will often supply table number holders, but if these are costly or do not fit the shape of your number cards, it is recommended to either uses cheap photo frames or crocodile clip picture holders. To keep costs down, it is recommended to buy these in low-cost stores such as Poundland, Wilko, Hobby craft or Flying tiger.

    wedding breakfast centrepieces

    Centrepieces on the wedding breakfast tables will add that extra unique, stylish quality that a wedding reception deserves. Below gives guidance on suppliers, providers and how to make your wedding centrepieces.

    wedding reception table decoration ideas
    Popular centrepiece ideas

    There are many variants in centrepieces to suit all budgets, but the staple of most designs are centred around the below three concepts:

  • Candelabras or Lanterns
  • Flora: Flowers or green foliage
  • Decorative Glassware with candles or lights

  • Centrepiece suppliers
    wedding venue:

    Most wedding venues will have centrepieces that can be hired at an additional cost. While these items often come at a premium, this extra spend can be offset by the ease this service provides. It is recommended to inquire about options and then, if these seem pricey, compare costs to the below alternatives.

    wedding reception table decoration ideas
    wedding decoration hire companies:

    There is a wide range of wedding decoration companies that enable you to hire items. These can be cheaper than venue items and will be more exacting to your wedding theme and colours. However, it is vital to make sure that suppliers include set up and clean up, so you are not liable for returning items after your wedding. Having someone on hand to set up will ensure that the look is just right and you can review, without additional duties on your wedding morning.

    If opting for this option, it is worth seeing what other services they provide. This can increase savings and limit the number of individual providers needed. These items might include some of the below but always check what is included by your venue first.

  • Ceremony chair covers and sashes
  • Ceremony aisle and room decorations
  • Signage
  • Light up letters
  • wedding breakfast chair covers and sashes
  • Table numbers
  • wedding reception table decoration ideas
    Buying ready-made centrepieces

    Many department stores and larger home stores will also have centrepieces that can be purchased and delivered. This will negate the need for creativity. If considering this option, it is worth deciding in advance how the items could be used, given to guests or sold after your day. Make sure to weigh up the cost saving vs set up and resale. This can often end up being an expensive and resource-intensive option.

    DIY Centrepieces

    If opting to save money by buying your centrepiece items, it is crucial to research items costs and ease of assembling before purchasing. This method can be low cost but will require additional time and effort.

    DIY centrepiece ideas

    Unless you are creatively gifted, it is best to create a simple design without too many separate pieces which could make it look too homemade (unless you are going for a rustic look).

    wedding reception table decoration ideas
    DIY centrepieces
    A trio of candles with foliage surrounding

    Items you will need:

  • White candles of differing sizes (buy one and check the burning time before buying all)
  • Collected autumnal leaves, rose petals or ivy stems
  • Fire retardant base plate for candles
  • Matches (if your venue will let you light candles)

  • Setup process: Create the look you want before the day. Take pictures so your helpers can see your vision. Before the day it is worth assigning each of the different stages to a different helper. This will ensure a more consistent look. On the day also appoint a member of the bridal party to go and light candles before guests enter the wedding breakfast hall.

    A lantern resting a wooden stump
  • A metal lantern for each table
  • Candles or LED lights (buy one and check the burning time before buying all)
  • Small wooden stump, slate or stand
  • Optional pebbles (if going for a beach look)
  • wedding reception table decoration ideas

    Set up process: Make sure to test candles or LED lights before using and take extras. Create your design a few days before and take pictures to distribute to set up helpers. Morning set up of this style will be very efficient as not much styling will be required.

    Glass cylinders filled with a) flowers b) candles c) fairy lights
  • Selection of glass tumblers
  • Floating tea lights
  • Battery operated mini fairy lights

  • Set up process: Test lights work and burning time of candles before the day. Make sure glass is well wrapped on transit to the venue. Set up on the morning of this design will take minutes and a photo is only needed if you want an exact look.

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