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Weddings are a special occasion where every detail counts. So while you might fixate on the cake, dress, and invitations, it’s essential to remember the little things. You’ve taken care of picking a theme, choosing a venue, and choosing your color scheme—now it’s time to match them with the tables and table settings at your reception.

Luxurious wedding tabletop decoration

We’ve covered table rentals exhaustively in another guide, but in this one, we’ll focus specifically on wedding tabletop rentals. There are countless options for personalizing your reception tablescape, and we’ll walk you through the process step by step.

More specifically, this guide will cover the following:

Wedding Tabletop Decor Essentials

First, let’s go over the essential items you’ll need for your wedding tabletop rental. Once you have your tables and chairs, you can start thinking about the essentials for setting them. Some weddings are different, so consider your theme and catering needs before deciding.

Wedding China

China is a type of dishware made from fine porcelain. As the name suggests, this fancy option originated in China and replaced earthenware(pottery) as the preferred dishware in Europe. Today, it is a staple for formal events, including weddings. In addition, it adds a touch of elegance and sophistication to any tabletop setting.

White floral chine with rose cupcake decoration

Regarding your wedding china rental, you’ll want to consider the number of guest place settings needed and any specialty items for your menu.

“Do you want a salad plate or soup bowl in addition to dinner and dessert plates? Will you be serving tea or coffee after the meal? Make sure to consider all possible options before making your decision.”

Generally speaking, you should prepare for these items:

  • Soup bowl – A small bowl for soup or other liquid dishes.
  • Salad plate – A smaller plate for salads or appetizers.
  • Dinner plate – The main course plate. Usually larger than the salad plate.
  • Dessert plate – A tiny plate for desserts or bread.
  • Cup and saucer – For serving coffee or tea.
  • Butter dish – A unique dish for holding butter.
  • Sugar bowl and creamer – For serving sugar and cream for coffee or tea.

Fine china is the most popular wedding option, adding a luxurious touch. However, it can also be more expensive to rent and can break easily if not handled properly. Consider other options, such as bone china or stoneware, for a more budget-friendly choice that is still elegant and sophisticated.

Regardless of your choice, try to have coordinating sets for a cohesive and polished look. Mixing and matching different patterns and colors can be fun, but it can also look messy and unorganized on the tables.

Wedding Flatware

Flatware is an umbrella term for utensils used during meals, including forks, knives, and spoons. The flatware you choose should coordinate with your china and the type of meal served at your reception. In addition, it informs your guests of the proper way to eat their meal (i.e., a salad fork versus a dinner fork).

White and gold fine china

Flatware also adds to the overall aesthetic of your wedding tabletop. Consider a traditional set for a formal event, or mix it up with a sharp flatware design for a modern, trendy feel.

If you’re serving a plated meal, you’ll want to have enough sets for each guest. Discuss the menu with your caterer to determine the necessary flatware.

“During a traditional wedding, you usually need two types of forks (salad and dinner), two types of knives (dinner and meat), a soup spoon, and a dessert spoon. However, don’t be afraid to think outside the box with your flatware choices.”

Some couples decide to serve specialty dishes that require unique utensils, such as seafood forks or sushi chopsticks. Just make sure to provide all necessary flatware for your guests, and consider adding place cards explaining the purpose of each utensil.

You can rent silver and stainless steel flatware. Silver flatware adds a luxurious touch and can shine on your wedding day. However, it must be hand-washed as it can tarnish in a dishwasher. Stainless steel flatware is more budget-friendly and can withstand the dishwasher, but it may have a different look.

Naturally, you can never go wrong with gold flatware. Whether it’s just the accents or a fully gold set, it adds a sense of glamor to any wedding tabletop.

Remember to serve utensils for dishes such as salad or cake. These can also embellish the overall aesthetic and coordinate with your flatware. Tongs, serving spoons, and cake servers are all important to have on hand for a successful reception meal.

Wedding Glassware

The last essential component of your wedding tabletop rentals is glassware.

“All the dancing, cheering, and celebrating will make your guests thirsty, so have enough glasses for drinks. You might think it would be as simple as having one glass per person, but there are many different types of glasses to consider.”

For alcoholic drinks, each type of glass affects the taste and presentation. Wine glasses come in several shapes, each designed to enhance the flavor and aroma of a specific type of wine. For example, slender glasses with a narrow rim are best for white wines, while a larger bowl enhances red wines.

Wedding champagne flutes with sparkling wine

Champagne flutes add an elegant touch to any wedding toast, but they also preserve carbonation better than a regular wine glass. If you plan to serve mixed drinks, remember highball glasses for tall cocktails and old-fashioned glasses for whisky or bourbon on the rocks. Shot glasses are also necessary for any tequila or liquor shots.

Some of your guests may prefer non-alcoholic beverages. Make sure to have plenty of water glasses for hydrating throughout the night and glasses for juices and sodas. Have mugs available if you plan to serve coffee or tea during dessert.

As always, glassware comes in various styles and materials for you to choose from. You can use clear glass for a classic look or add color with tinted glassware. For an even bolder statement, try colored or etched designs.

Wedding Chargers

An optional but popular addition to wedding tabletops is charger plates. These large plates, typically made of metal or ceramic, sit underneath the dinner plate as a base for the table setting.

Golden plate wedding chargers

“Chargers can add texture and color to your tabletop design, but they also serve a practical purpose by retaining heat for the meal and protecting the table linen from spills.”

When selecting chargers, consider the overall theme and color scheme of your wedding. If you go simple with your china, chargers are your opportunity to add a pop of color or pattern to your table design. They can also be coordinated with other tabletop decors, such as napkin rings or centerpiece vases.

When it comes time to clear the tables at the end of the night, chargers can be removed and discarded rather than washed like china and glassware. Just make sure to have enough on hand for each table setting.

Decorating Your Wedding Tabletop

Now that you have all the essentials, it’s time to bring your wedding tabletop to life with decorative touches.

Start by selecting a color scheme or theme for your table design. It can tie in with the overall wedding color palette or have a distinct look. Next, consider coordinating linens, napkins, and chair covers to enhance the look.

Next, add visual interest with centerpiece arrangements or personal touches such as place cards and menu cards. Flowers are a classic choice for centerpieces, but get creative with your options.

You can also incorporate lanterns, candles, or even small potted plants. As for place settings, consider special touches such as monogrammed napkins or mini potted succulents as favors for each guest.

“Snack bowls or candy jars can also add a fun addition to the table, especially for cocktail hour. And don’t forget the small details, such as salt and pepper shakers or serving utensils for each dish. Finally, place a handwritten note or favorite quote at each setting for a more personal touch.”

Finally, remember ambient lighting. String lights and candles add a warm and romantic glow to your reception tables while enhancing the room’s overall atmosphere. Alternatively, you can use spotlights or uplighting to highlight specific table decor or centerpiece arrangements.

Wedding table decor with lighting

How To Place Your Tabletop Settings

An essential part of tying together the overall look of your wedding tabletops is the proper placement and spacing of each setting. Here are some simple tips for laying out your table settings:

  • Start with the dinner plate as the focal point of each setting, centered about one to two inches from the edge of the table.
  • Place the salad plate on top of the dinner plate, slightly offset to the left.
  • The knives and spoons for each course should be placed on the right side of the plate, with the blade facing inward. Place the fork on the left side, tines facing upward.
  • The order in which flatware is used during the meal should dictate its placement. Place the utensils for the first course furthest from the plate, and work your way in.
  • Dessert utensils, if needed, can be placed above the plate or brought out with the dessert course.
  • Glassware should be placed above the knives in order of use during the meal (water glass, white wine glass, red wine glass).
  • Napkins can be folded and placed either to the left or underneath the forks.

Wedding tabletop setting layout example

By following these guidelines and putting thought into your tabletop design, you can create a visually striking and cohesive look for your wedding reception.

All About Renting Tabletop Items

You may wonder how to acquire all these tabletop items for your wedding. The good news is that you have the option to rent rather than purchase everything outright.

Benefits Of Renting Wedding Tabletops

We recommend considering rental options for a few reasons. First, it can save you money in the long run. Buying all of the items for a single wedding can add up quickly, and they may not be something you have a use for afterward.
Renting also offers more flexibility and variety in terms of available items and styles. You can choose various options to fit your specific vision and wedding theme. Plus, the rental company will handle the delivery and pickup of the items, making the process much easier for you.

Finding A Wedding Rental Company

Finding a rental company is as simple as a quick internet search or asking for recommendations from recently married friends or family members. Ideally, you should have access to a portfolio or inventory photos to see the types of items they offer.

Pricing And Budgeting

When budgeting for your wedding tabletop rentals, consider each item’s cost and additional fees, such as delivery and setup. Budget for more than one unit per guest because there is always a risk of breakage or loss. And remember any rental deposit fees, which may be refundable if the items are returned in good condition.

Finally, ask about return policies and damage fees. These details can significantly impact your overall expenses, so ensure you are fully informed before signing any contracts.

Get Started With Curated Events

With over 65 collections of china in classic and artistic styles, Curated Events has everything you need for a beautiful wedding tabletop design. We offer flatware, glassware, charger plates, and more to create the perfect setting for your special day.

Contact us today to learn more about our rental options and pricing. Let us help make your wedding vision a reality.