Styled Advice: Wedding Reception Tables Defined

Once you select your venue (or perhaps even before), one of the first steps you will take when designing the layout of your reception space is to choose your table style. While this may seem like an uneventful place to start, think of it this way: when you walk into a kitchen, one of the first things you determine is where to place your table and chairs. The style of tables you ultimately choose will be greatly influenced by your catering needs and reception style (we’ll talk more about that below!), plus your tables will also guide your decisions about centerpieces and linens. Rounds, squares, sweetheart, and more, we’re defining six of the most popular reception table styles below! Note: Don’t feel as though you have to choose just one style! We love mixing round tables with long tables, and sweetheart tables are perfect at any wedding.

Style Me Pretty 
Style Me Pretty 

Sweetheart Table: A sweetheart table for the bride and groom will never go out of style! We love that this table style draws attention directly to the bride and groom, and we also love when sweetheart tables are styled with candles and pretty floral arrangements (or the bride’s bouquet!). Sweetheart tables allow the bride and groom to enjoy their first meal as husband and wife together a little more privately, but they’re still able to take in the sight of their guests enjoying their wedding day. If you would prefer to sit with your guests, plan to decorate your chairs so your places still stand out!    

Styled Bride / Florist Evantine Design /  Photo by Nicole Polk
Styled Bride / Florist Evantine Design /  Photo by Nicole Polk

Round Tables: The most classic and traditional style, seating 8-10 guests around round tables is the most popular choice for receptions. They’re readily available through rental companies, and hotels often have them on hand too. Think about using round tables if your wedding is more formal (they’re perfect for plated meals), or if you would rather spend a portion of your budget on another aspect of your wedding day (rounds are less expensive to rent, and your linens will be less as well). To allow conversation to flow easily, talk to your florist about using low centerpieces or high centerpieces placed on top of acrylic vessels. You never want to block guests from seeing and talking with each other!

Square Tables: Similar to round tables, square tables typically seat eight guests. We love the modern look of square tables, and they also allow guests to easily talk with each other. While this style is completely unique, it’s not used too often because the rental costs associated with the tables and linens is often much higher than round or long tables. Because additional tables may need to be ordered to accommodate all of your guests, you will also want to take the size of your dance floor and the space your band or DJ requires into account.   

Styled Bride/ Beautiful Blooms/Photo by Paper Antler
Styled Bride/ Beautiful Blooms/Photo by Paper Antler

Long Tables: If creating an intimate setting at your wedding is important, consider using long tables. They allow you to have complete creative control over the layout of your space because you’re able to choose how many tables you would like to use. You can weave one table down the entire length of your space to create a true at-home dining room feel; you can place several long tables together and create rows in your reception space; or think about placing long tables throughout the room just as you would with round tables. Place garlands, candles, or several low floral arrangements down the length of the table to create your centerpiece! 

Styled Bride/ Fleur De Lis Florals/ Photo by Sarah DiCicco
Styled Bride/ Fleur De Lis Florals/ Photo by Sarah DiCicco

Farmhouse Tables: Farmhouse tables are similar to long tables, but they deserve their own table category. They’re perfect to use at weddings where the style is predominantly rustic or vintage because the tops are often crafted by hand from reclaimed wood. Because they’re also more informal, they’re great to use when wedding meals are served family style. When planning to rent farmhouse tables, the best place to start your search is with a vintage rental company, like Maggpie Vintage Rentals in Philadelphia. It’s also worth it to consider placing a few farmhouse tables together in the center of your dining space for the bride, groom, and wedding party. Then surround the tables with more traditional rounds. You’ll still be able to have the look of farmhouse tables without the entire cost associated with renting them to seat all of your guests.   

Style Me Pretty
Style Me Pretty

Cocktail Tables & Small Rounds: If you’re not planning to assign seats at your wedding and are also serving small plates in lieu of a traditional sit down dinner, it’s still important to have tables present at your wedding. While many guests will mingle while they eat, some will still prefer to sit down. Plan to have small round tables present surrounded by a few chairs where guests can enjoy their dinner or simply take a break. You can intersperse cocktail tables that guests can gather around as well.  


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