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The Little Things - Wedding Table Decorations

By Sarah Van Arsdale on May 16, 2009

Designer Monthly's Little Things column places a spotlight on those home accessories that are often overlooked, and we'll show how they can be improved to make a world of a difference. Our pursuit is to enhance the decor through economical yet aesthetically superior measures.

For our special issue on decorating for weddings, we thought there was nothing better for our Little Things column than to take a look at the "little things" that can make a table so much more than just a flat surface for holding plates and silverware. To find some examples of how the right decorations can make a wedding, we went to the site of Always a Bridesmaid, New York’s premier wedding planners who really take wedding design seriously.

When thinking of the centerpiece and other table decorations for a wedding or even for a dinner party, it helps to keep in mind the NYIAD Guidelines to Interior Design: function, mood and harmony.

The function, of course, is in fact to set the mood; the centerpiece will lead the way for the mood of the table. But bear in mind also what the function should not do: it shouldn’t provide an obstacle to conversation or take so much space that there’s no room for the condiments.

And whatever the mood is, you want to make sure the decorations harmonize, both with the other table decorations and the rest of the room. One of the first things wedding planners do, in fact, is sit down with the couple and determine what mood they want to achieve, so that everything can flow into that mood.

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Here, we see a slender, towering vase holding a ball of a bouquet. At the head table, the silvery vase and the roses are indisputably elegant and formal, setting the tone for the rest of the room. The white table cloth, the candles, the formal placesettings, and the low lights complete the mood.

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For contrast, there is this wedding that was held at a Brooklyn art gallery. The yellow and red flowers in the short square vases give a bright, cheerful, casual look to the table, which is enhanced with the simple place settings, yellow napkins, and the menu with a graphic of the Brooklyn Bridge.

There are many elements to consider when planning the table for a wedding, a dinner party, or another event; the table linens, the flowers or other centerpiece, the candles, the place settings, the choice of dishwear. And whatever look you choose, the whole thing has to harmonize.

In fact, there's so much to learn that the NYIAD School offers a course all about wedding and event planning; it's perfect whether you want to plan your own event or start a new career.

Learn more about NYIAD's wedding planning course and event planning course and get started today!.


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