(Closed) Table Decorations for Non-Plated Dinner

posted 9 years ago in Reception
Post # 3
458 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

My friend is doing the EXACT same thing.  She’s even having the tall tables, as well!  She’s using some hurricane vases filled with water with stones at the bottom and the immersed flowers from her wedding.  There will be three hurricane vases of different sizes on each table.  I think any center piece like that should be okay and it will also be very summery for your wedding. 

Post # 4
1246 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2009

We assigned tables, but not seats. We put napkins at each setting with menus tucked in. Maybe you could just do your centerpieces, some candles, and then a couple of tented menus set up around? It will look a little bare (ours did even with the napkins and menus), but people will quickly fill that space with food.

Also, I’d be wary of only having enough seating for half the people. I feel like most people go through the buffet then sit and talk with friends for a while, then people going through the buffet toward the end don’t have a place to sit or have to separate from their parties because the seats are taken up. Guests also then don’t have places to put their handbags or jackets. But that’s just me, and maybe your venue lends itself more to that? Just something to think about, I guess.

We ended up doing cocktail leaners around the dance floor and they worked great to encourage mingling. We were shocked by how people congregated around them, chatting and resting their drinks. So those are definitely a great idea.


Post # 5
2819 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: February 2013

I would say to decorate the tables with large centerpieces, and try out patterned linens. You also might consider having games (like wedding/couple-themed crosswords, mad libs, and trivia) at each table to facilitate mingling and chatter. 

That said… 

Unless you’re having finger food as your buffet, I would STRONGLY suggest getting seating for everyone. Guests usually don’t like it if they’re forced to stand while they try to cut their chicken one-handed — and the guests that DO get seats won’t give them up to dance, etc.

You’re right about guests mingling more standing up, but unless you’re having a hors d’oeuvres-type meal, they’ll be griping to each other, rather than expressing their joy about your union as a couple.

Post # 6
1765 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

Hey! I’m having the same thing, and my first caterer did suggest the "only having a few tables" type thing.

First of all, I’m doing taller centerpieces on my normal 5′ round tables. You can use the same sort of things you’d use for anything else, but to make it seem like the table isn’t empty, feel free to put little tealights/votives around the main part or scatter flower petals, confetti, etc around the table.

Second, don’t forget to dress up the cocktail tables! I’m using little centerpieces (fairly tiny).

This look, for example, is plated but is using the "less is more" negative space aspect of the candleholders.

Good luck!

Post # 7
610 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2009

First of all, if I were a guest, I would like to sit down to eat my meal. Preferably, I would like to be be assigned to a table so I don’t have to worry about where to sit. Unless your buffet are more cocktail-like, tapas, hor oevres-like, then it’s not a big deal. I do not mind grabbing my own plates since it’s a buffet but it would be nice to have place setting (forks, spoons, etc) for each person on the table so I don’t have to juggle everything I need to carry from the buffet to my table. Napkins that already set on the would also be nice. I would also prefer my favor(s) already set out on the table so I don’t need to go grab it. So here are a bunch of stuff that you can put on each table solely for *practical* reason and we haven’t gotten to any other decorative items although each of the above-mentioned practical items can also be decorative.

Some other decorative items you can place include: your centerpiece, votive/tea light candles, flower petals, photos, etc. If guests are assigned tables, your table would also need table number/name and a place for guests’ escort/place cards. I think the table is actually getting quite full. Don’t get the table too crowded and remember the perspective of a guest, who may need room to put water glass, cocktail/wine glass, & other dinnerware so that they do not feel claustrophobic having only a square foot of table space to themselves. Good luck!

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