Matching Your Centerpieces to Your Table Shape
Posted by Sarah Zlotnick. Filed under Good Advice, Wedding Inspiration

By: Alex Merriman

When choosing your centerpieces, it’s important to consider the size and shape of the tables you’ll be using at your reception. While centerpieces serve a primarily aesthetic purpose (to reflect your wedding style and tie decorative details together), they shouldn’t get in the way of celebrating. That towering vase may be beautiful, but if its presence means guests must strain and maneuver themselves to talk across the table or watch the best man give his toast, it doesn’t make for a pleasant dining experience. Same goes for those giant floating candle bowls, which look fabulous but require dinner plates to practically balance on the edges of round tables.

Striking a balance between decorative and practical elements is key. To help you determine which centerpiece styles work best for your wedding reception, we’ve rounded up our favorite ideas for three popular table shapes.

Square Tables 

Photo by Happy Confetti Photography 

Instead of anchoring a square table with a single item, try clustering several smaller pieces together. Mix various heights, shapes, and textures for a more dynamic, visually interesting arrangement. Odd numbers tend to draw the eye, so instead of grouping four items together, consider taking it down to three. Make sure your objects are relatively narrow so as not to dwarf the table, and that they do not exceed 12″ in height—any taller and they’ll obstruct your guests’ line of vision. You might also consider displaying your items on a square tray or platform to mimic the shape of the table.

Round Tables 

Photos by Michelle Warren Photography 

When working with round tables, your centerpieces should be visually compelling from all angles. Round tables are space-efficient and thus allow for larger centerpieces. If you’re working with a tight budget, choose something relatively wide so it fills up most of the center. Add some extra flair by surrounding one main piece with smaller accents. If you want to go with something tall and dramatic, like a topiary, make sure it is narrow and unobtrusive at the base, and fills out well above eye level (usually around 18″).

Rectangular or Oval Tables 

Photos by Eli Turner and Luna Photo  

Play up the length of rectangles and oval tables with a series of centerpieces running down the center of the table. For shorter tables of this shape, the pieces don’t need to extend all the way to either end. In this case, a short row of pieces in the center of the table or one large piece flanked by smaller accents works nicely, as everyone at the table will be able to see them. For banquet style seating, however, spreading items along the entire length of the table looks best. This can be done with uniform pieces like a series of matching floral arrangements or by mixing in different decor elements, such as candles.

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