Wedding Reception Trends & Tablescaping Ideas

Wedding reception tablescape by Maria Reidy

Event planners Maria Reidy and Tara O’Connor share the wedding reception trends they see coming through and advise on creating the perfect tablescape.

Sustainable Weddings 

‘Many couples are considering how their wedding reception can be more eco-friendly,’ comments Maria Reidy from Maria Reidy Events. ‘Avoid over buying leading up to the wedding. For example, hire your wedding tabletop. We have a selection of gorgeous tabletops for hire from our sister company – Signature Rentals. Also, avoid using floral foam – ask your florist if they have an alternative option. I know we only work with florists who have principles of no floral foam. Rather than wedding favours donate to a charity and look to share and re-use pieces with your friends. Many of your friends will get married within a similar timeframe – reach out to you friends and see what they have left over from their wedding reception that could be reused!’

Smaller Intimate Weddings 

Another wedding reception trend that Maria has noticed is the move towards more intimate celebrations, ‘The pandemic was the kickstart to the smaller intimate wedding here in Ireland. We have seen many of our couples opt for smaller weddings.’

This is a trend also picked up on by Tara O’Connor from The Designed Table, who tells us, ‘Weddings seem to be smaller, and brides are spending their budgets on décor of rooms and table settings. You spend most of the day at the table so your tablescape will play a big part in the wow factor of your wedding.’

Colour Themes

‘Brides tend to keep colours quite muted for spring weddings’, adds Tara. ‘Pastels are always big for spring and summer and more taupes, greens and blacks for winter. The new Pantone colour for 2023 is a magenta pink so we might see a lot of this. Ideally keep your flowers to muted tones and add pops of colours with your linen and candles on the tables.’

Hydrangea tablecloth and napkin with jute placemat, gold ring napkin ring from The Designed Table by Tara O’Connor

How To Create The Perfect Tablescape

‘For brides looking to create a timeless tablescape Tara recommends, ‘Keep it chic and simple. Don’t over crowd your table. Ask the venue to only put on what is needed for your first course. Leave tea/coffee cups and bread off the table until they are needed. If your budget allows hire in linen for your reception. This will transform not only the table but the whole room. There are so many textures and colours available to hire. I always use Total Event Rental. 

‘Elegance is always key when it comes to a wedding tablescape,’ adds Tara. ‘You want it to reflect the tone of your wedding. Place lots of tealights around your floral centre pieces and tapered candles to add height to your table. Don’t obstruct the view of guests and by keeping your flowers low you will always make sure guests at each side of the table see each other. 

‘Also add some of your own personal touches, for example menus with place names, which you can be placed by a napkin or on a charger plate. Another nice idea is to pick up small picture frames to put table numbers in rather than use what the venue provides. Its little touches like this that work beautifully for your wedding photos. Ribbon on napkins is becoming popular and you can get your initials printed on the ribbon too.’

Budget Savvy Tips

‘If you want to save money on a wow tablescape rent your linen from a supplier and buy your candles as far in advance as you can. Reuse what flowers you can from the church. The price of flowers has increased so much it is hard to save money here, so reusing where you can will help. A church service does take a lot of floral budget so maybe have an outdoor wedding in the venue garden to save money,’ advises Tara.

Blow The Budget Must-Haves

‘Lots of flowers and candles. Charger plates are great too as they add layers and depth to the table. You can hire these from Caterhire and if you want to add a pop of colour to your table hire a coloured water glass,’ adds Tara.

Tablescape by Maria Reidy; Photographer Peter Carvill

How To Plan The Perfect Tablescape 

Maria Reidy offers her expert advice…

  • Establish your décor budget and add it into your overall wedding budget. Consider your rentals, florals and on the day stationery. All the details which make your day extra special.
  • Book your venue and set your wedding date – the date and venue will determine the style of wedding décor. A castle winter wedding in Ireland will lend itself to opulent tablescapes with plentiful candles, velvet linen and rich blooms. Or you may opt for a marque summer wedding – longer, light filled days will allow for bright blooms, coloured glassware and statement table linen. 
  • Decide on your table configuration – round or banquet style tables. 
  • Establish your wedding style. Do this before you start reaching out to suppliers. Many brides find this overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be – keep it simple. Create a folder on your phone and start to save any images you find inspiring. You will quickly see your wedding style come to life before your eyes! 
  • Have fun!

Rules that Maria likes to stick to include…

  • Group in 3’s or 5’s on a round table. 
  • Layer the candlelight. Use a mixture of tealights and tall taper candles to create a candlelight at high, mid and low level.
  • Consider the surroundings – you don’t want your tablescape clashing with the surrounding space. It should work with the space, rather than against it.
  • Keep your floral centrepiece low or high – you don’t want the florals to interrupt your guests conversation 
  • Less is more! We love nothing more than creating gorgeous tablecapes for our clients. But remember the tablescape must function on the day. Don’t over clutter the table – your guests need to be comfortable and the servers will need space to place breads, oils and water as well as space for service.

Featured Image: Wedding reception tablescape by Maria Reidy Events, Photographed by Into The Light

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