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  • Royal Affairs Ballroom

Designing a Classic Tablescape

There are a million ways to spend money on a wedding or other special event. Working from a budget is helpful. One area that can quickly become expensive is centerpieces for tables or tablescapes. As you plan for your swanky soiree, we have tips for keeping centerpieces budget-friendly as well as some fun ideas to use.


Set a realistic budget for your tablescapes by determining how many tables you will have to begin with. If you have 125 guests attending, you would need 16 tables with 8 guests per table, so we will use this to complete this budget exercise.


16 x 8 = 128 guests

16 tables = budget of $500 for centerpieces

16 tables = $31.25 per table


As you shop, you now know you have roughly $31 to spend per table. While this is just an example of what you can spend on a table, your budget may be different. This is a tool to help you get started on designing a beautiful centerpiece or tablescape. Check with your venue to know what’s included in your contract for tables. At Royal Affairs, our package pricing includes tables, chairs, tablecloths, simple centerpieces, silk overlay fabric, china, silverware and stemware. Checking with your venue on what’s included is important in case it’s necessary to factor in the cost of renting any of these items and so you can use what's already provided to be able to spend money on taking it to the next level.


· Use what’s included from the venue to incorporate into the centerpiece design

· Use other items (cake, dessert, hors d’oeuvres, or wedding/party favors) to dress the table

· Use fabric, texture and layers

· Candles (check with your venue what is allowed) add height and warmth


There are 4 main parts to a great tablescape.

1. Base – usually a complimentary tablecloth and silk (or other fabric) overlay to carry the colors of the event throughout.

2. Centerpiece, which is often flowers, vases, hurricane glass, or candles.

3. Place settings for each person seated at the table.

4. Personalization & other accents.


One of our favorite and creative ways to dress a table came from a wedding where the bride used mini wedding cakes at each table as the focal point. Cake is already part of the budget and a necessary expense. Using smaller cakes on each table to decorate leaves room in your table budget for other fun additions to really take the cake to another level. Another option, if individual servings of any food are part of your food budget, is to use individual servings at each seat. Think about an appetizer, a beverage or a dessert. This makes a unique addition to each place setting or as the centerpiece.


Start with a clear table. Select the tablecloth color and complimentary overlay as the base for your tablescape. Consider the overall theme of your wedding or special event when making the overlay selection. A more traditional event will use a silk or other soft overlay. A more rustic or bohemian type of event can use fabrics like linen, burlap or even chenille. The theme for the event will determine what is best for the base layer.


Once the tablecloth and base layers are added, we recommend adding your place setting at one or two places on the same side of the table. This allows you to see how much space is left at the center of the table while also not crowding the table with all the dinnerware before you can complete the centerpiece. It is important to see how the place settings fill the table before working on the center. A place setting will include all dinnerware, stemware and silverware for a person to sit at the table.


Now that you have one or two place settings complete on the table, it’s time to begin to on the centerpiece. Greenery is a great way to create a beautiful tablescape without consuming too much of the budget per table. Fragrant eucalyptus adds beautiful depth to the table surrounding the other pieces that complete your look.


Finally, add personalization at each spot with your seating chart or wedding/party favors at each place setting. When favors are left at the door for guests to take on the way out, they are commonly left behind in the excitement of the grand exit. Favors at each seat ensure that the guests see it and know it’s for them to take when they leave. It also adds a personal touch to let each guest know you appreciate their presence at your special event.


Here are some out of the beautiful tablescape ideas to elevate your wedding or special event.


  1. Mini cakes as the centerpiece make this tablescape fun! We’ve seen this done at Royal Affairs, and it's a great way to decorate your table.






















2. Greenery and tall candleabras are a beautiful and inexpensive way to decorate a table. Check out thrift stores for candle holders that can be spray painted to match your décor or simply polish them up and mix metals to create a beautiful centerpiece. Battery-powered taper candles can easily be used in place of real candles for the same dreamy, romantic vibe.


3. Consider the seasons when dressing your table. Fall tablescapes can include grasses, grains and pods as a less expensive way to add volume to the centerpiece. Fall glow can stretch a floral budget much farther.


4. A simple row of matching candlesticks flanked by greenery makes a beautiful tablescape.


5. Single stems in hurricane glasses can be a stand alone centerpiece or add to the drama of the table. Florals are gorgeous, but can also take a significant chunk of your budget. Consider single stems as an option to a full bouquet or in addition to a full bouquet.


We have seen some beautiful tablescape designs at Royal Affairs. We love when brides and grooms know exactly what they want for the table designs, and we also love when we can make creative suggestions to assist you in planning. Our goal in working with clients is always to exceed their desires for a beautiful wedding reception, party or banquet. Call us today to start planning your special event.

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