Perfecting Your Place Settings

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Monogrammed cocktail napkins, calligraphed escort cards and dramatic uplighting are all appreciated details, but guests often remember the food the most, so serve it up in style!

Whether you’re an easy, breezy boho bride or a textbook bridezilla, choosing your fine china and place settings for your wedding reception should be something you prioritize, but have fun doing. From linens to flatware, centerpieces to crystal champagne flutes, the way your tables are presented will leave a lasting impression on your guests and affirm your overall wedding vision.

The Essentials
Before you start comparing color swatches, let’s review the general collection of china and flatware. Each guest should have access to place settings that include a comprehensive group of dishes that enhance the meal. These include a charger, dinner plate, salad plate or soup bowl, salad fork, dinner fork, soup spoon, dinner knife, bread plate and knife, dessert spoon, coffee cup and saucer, water glass and wine glass.

This list is dependent on how your dinner will be served. If you’re planning a rustic barbeque buffet, you can ditch the cup and saucer for a suitable Mason jar. Be mindful of what your guests will use with each course.

A Polished Palette
Lay the foundation for a wow-worthy tablescape by brainstorming a cohesive color palette. Choose no more than four or five colors that reflect your wedding theme.

Incorporate elegant neutrals with a pop of color and play off your stemware’s metallic finish. Pantone predicts a trendy array of cheerful orange, coral, lemon yellow and royal blue for 2019 spring and summer weddings, so don’t be afraid to go bold! Natural centerpieces and floral sprays placed on plates offer added color and a fresh finish.

Formal vs. Casual
Depending on your venue, the number of expected guests and the bride’s personal taste, determine if your table settings will be formal or casual. Formal settings include larger collections of dishware, which offers more design options.

Casual settings cater to the basics, which are a single plate, set of silverware and a couple of glasses. Fewer pieces are easier to blend cohesively, so incorporating prints and mismatched pieces is a breeze. Draw inspiration from your wedding colors, the location of your big day and the season.

Mix & Match
Guests spend quite a bit of time sitting in their assigned seats and dining, so consider your wedding theme when choosing fine china. Even if you prefer classic dining ware, it doesn’t have to be boring. It’s 2019; these aren’t your grandma’s nuptials!

Forgo prim and properly suited plates by mixing and matching patterns and motifs within your color scheme. A simple dinner plate can be accented with an ornate, floral salad dish and a colorful napkin. Play with patterns and colors until you find your preferred look. This ensures a unique, distinctive arrangement that’s exclusive to your style and wedding.

All About Accents
Just like your veil completes the dress, a few added accessories will take your table settings from ideal to iconic. Place cards are a fabulous addition to reception tables.

They quickly and easily help direct guests to their seats in addition to acting as an invitation for conversation. Seeking something simple? Find a variety of DIY printable place cards online. For a more elegant approach, go for engraved acrylic rectangles placed over colorful napkins. Calligraphed sea glass or individually wrapped cake pops will have your guests swooning!

For another thoughtful idea, include individual menus at each seat. Menus are especially appreciated for family or buffet-style dinners, in which the guests are unaware of their options.

You can also top off your table settings with party favors. This will allow you to free up the space that you’d use to display the favors and ensures that each guest goes home with a goody!

Find Balance
Quite possibly the most important part of selecting your place settings is finding balance. If your ideas are all over the place, it can distract your guests.

Meet in the middle of glam and natural by incorporating elements from both styles. Pair rose gold stemware with soft peach linens or accent a white plate with a navy polka dot napkin.

The best part of this process is infusing your own ideas and flavor into each table setting. Work with your wedding planner and venue coordinator to find the perfect collection. After the DJ wraps up and your guests bid you and your groom goodbye, they’ll retreat to their tables to grab their belongings and snag one last look. Make a lasting impression with personalized, playful table settings! ■

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