Table Setting Design with Mandy of Modern Whimsy

image from modernwhimsy.net

As the holidays approach, rather quickly I may add, planning begins for your winter weddings, holiday parties, holiday dinners, family get-togethers and other events. One of the best ways to incorporate elements of your theme into the event design is through your Table-scape. Will you have menus, flowers, matching or mis-matched cutlery and dinnerware, place cards, escort cards, table numbers?

I was perusing StyleMePretty as I used to do daily, however its been a while since I just took some time to see whats going on in the wedding world, and found myself drawn to the vast variety for table decor. There are so many approaches, simple, extravagant, elegant, classic, vintage and table-scapes are definitely not just for weddings! 

Mandy from Modern Whimsy Events helps answer some of our questions about designing tables for your next event.

bloom: If you were to direct a bride or any other hostess for that mater, when you are working with them on table design, what do you think is most important to remember when styling the tables?

mandy: I think the most important thing to remember, overall, is to keep the table functional. It's easy to get excited about (and possibly carried away with!) all of the decorative features you can add to the table. Exercise your creativity, have fun, but remember that folks still have to sit down and eat!

bloom: Is there a favorite table design you've done for a client? and why was it your favorite?

mandy: Actually, I think one of my favorites was one that I did just for fun, at my house when I was sick last fall. I was feeling restless, and decided to just have some fun setting a table using things I already had around the house. It was nothing special, but it was a good reminder that you don't need a lot of time or money to make a great table setup. table scape

bloom: What sort of print (or stationery) materials do you think are necessary when designing an overall table feel?

mandy: If you're seating at a wedding, and you have certain tables/places for guests, then you'll need table numbers and placecards. You can also print out the menu that will be served that evening, so that guests know what they're enjoying through the meal. Another fun way to incorporate your theme!

bloom: Are there elements you often see placed on tables that you feel is a no-no? something that people should avoid?

mandy: Definitely no scented candles. You don't want to overload the senses or overshadow the meal that your guests are going to enjoy!

bloom: I love the family style, long tables, i have been seeing lately at wedding receptions or garden parties. Are there any hints on how to make this work well?

mandy: I love farm tables. The great thing about these is that they feel more intimate than large round tables, and people can talk to one another. It lends a very warm feeling to the event. Long, sprawling floral arrangements and centerpieces work well with farm tables. You can also utilize smaller decorative elements along the length of the table to add more personality to the design.

bloom: How do you feel about assigned seating for events?

mandy: I can go both ways with assigned seating. I think it depends on how formal or casual your event is, how large it is, and how well you direct your guests on what to do. I've seen people get confused by place cards or table cards, but as long as someone is there to explain the process, it should work just fine. If it's a small group of folks, they can talk with one another as they look for their place cards. With larger events, you have to be 100% sure of your guest count, so that no one is left without a place to sit and eat. For casual events, it's perfectly ok to let people find their own spot to sit.

bloom: When it comes to flowers, do you have any tips on the best use of flowers on a table?

mandy: The possibilities are endless! You can have an elaborate arrangement on the table or utilize individual flowers with non-floral elements for a different look.

bloom: Favors, should they be placed at each seat or at another location within the venue?

mandy: I think either is fine. If it's a larger favor, then it's probably best to place them in a spot where guests can grab on the way out. If you're giving something small (like packets of wildflower seeds) or useful for the evening (like koozies!) then placing on the table works well.

bloom: If you are working with a florist, event planner, other vendors, and a venue, how should a bride or other hostess balance the decision making and acquisition of elements for the tables? I've heard stories on both the bride/hostess side and on the planner/vendor side of ideas getting crossed and overwhelming, then having the final concept not turn out the way they hoped.

mandy: Communication is the key. Get a general idea of what you want the table to look and feel like, and keep referring back to that throughout the process. The smaller details can ebb and flow throughout the design process. Trust your vendors when making specific details actually work (for example, your florist will know if your favorite flower will work with the other design elements on the table). Just keep that general feel/idea in mind, and voice it if you feel like it's straying from what you want. Also, hiring a wedding planner to help carry out your vision is always a good idea. :)

Wow, great words of advice Mandy. Thank you so much, as always, for sharing your expertise with us. Contact Mandy at Modern Whimsy today for your next event, she's awesome!