Reception decoration and styling: Centerpieces – Success

Wedding decorations have come a long way in the last 15 years of the wedding industry, and they perhaps play an even larger part of the wedding reception today then it did 10 years ago. Decorations can really create the atmosphere for the venue and reception, and set the mood for the event.

Whether you have a fussy princess bride or a no-frills bride, decorations cannot be overlooked, and need careful consideration.

Decorating a venue is also referred to as ‘styling’ the venue.

Decorations can do wonders, and completely transform a space. You can cover ugly walls with draping, jazz up an entrance, and also create some really beautiful lighting effects that create a sense of romance.

It’s a great idea to come up with a theme for decorating the venue- in which everything will coordinate nicely. Be sure to ask your clients a lot of questions about what they like and dislike. Ask the couple plenty of lifestyle questions when attempting to come up with a unique theme. For instance, if they are avid sailors, a nautical theme may be appropriate.


The centrepieces that you select for the guest tables should fit into the wedding theme selected, and have a common theme. Centrepieces can include fresh flowers, candles, or other items relating to the overall theme of the wedding. The most innovative weddings are alternating 2 different centrepieces throughout the wedding. Not everything needs to be ‘matchy-matchy’ just as long as they have a common theme. You also need to consider the type of table the centrepiece will be placed on – will it be round tables or long rectangular tables? Also consider using different heights to create interest.

Providing wedding table centrepieces can also be an extra service you can provide to the bride. Even if you don’t have great floristry skills, you can design the centrepiece and get it made by your local florist.

Even if you hire a Wedding Stylist or Decorator to style the tables for you, you need to provide direction of the type of centrepiece and theme required. This is why it’s important to know the latest styles and themes and designs available.

We have prepared the Ultimate Wedding Table Centerpiece Guide for you to download. You can use this style guide to help familiarise yourself with the names of different settings, and also be up to date with the latest trends in table centerpieces.

You could even use the PDF style guide to show clients about the different options available.

Note: some of these centrepieces are high end, luxury centrepieces, costing around $300 for the floral arrangement!

Always get a quote from your florist for the arrangements before quoting a bride. (make sure you have a mark up on the arrangement as well, to cover your time.)

Download the guide in the lesson materials

How to Design a Wedding Centrepiece For a Client

Step 1:
First of all, gain an idea of things that your bride likes, and also make sure you have a wedding inspiration board to work with, so you know the overall theme and style of wedding.

Step 2:
Find out the table size from the Reception Venue. Are the tables long and rectangle, oval or round? How many people does each table sit? What are the lengths of the tables and diameter?

Step 3:
From here, divide the number of guests coming to the wedding by the number of people that can be seated at each table. This will give you the number of tables that you will need a centrepiece on. Also add the Bridal table to this number. From here, get the budget for the centrepieces from the client, and divide this number by the number of tables, including the bridal table. This will give you a budget per table to work with, and help you design a centrepiece that will come within your clients budget restraints.

Step 4:
Consider fresh flower costs, and material costs. Is there a way to get the same feel and theme at a cheaper cost? (Candles are a great solution for adding romance at a cost-effective price. The more fresh flowers you have, the more expensive the centrepiece.)

Step 5:
Consider different heights of your centrepieces and items on the table. Height ads ‘grandeur’ to a room, and makes a statement. You may like to have several different heights of vases and candles on the table to create a visually interesting table setting.

Step 6:
Consider linen. What linen will you centrepieces be sitting on? Coloured and textured linen adds extra detail to the tables and can complement the centrepieces. Consider luxury table cloths, textured or coloured table cloths, table runners, or table overlays. These all play a part in the centrepiece design.

Step 7:
Consider lighting. Candles are a popular choice, but you can also get small LED lights that can sit inside a vase to light up the arrangement. You can also get floating candles, LED candles, and coloured LED cubes.

Step 8:
Consider individual settings and items for the guests and tables- such as cutlery, charger plates, napkin design and colour, menus, place cards, table numbers.

Step 9:
Make sure your table is full enough. It’s surprising how many items go into making a table of 10 look impressive. Long rectangle tables will need several items scattered through the length of the table. Round tables tend to have one centrepiece in the middle.

Step 10:
Consider alternating your centrepieces throughout the room. This is the latest trend through the states – they will have 2 similar themed centrepieces, alternating on each table. This is particularly great for reducing your centrepiece budget – as you can have one centrepiece design being your feature – and with the larger price tag, and the other centrepiece more subdued. It adds extra interest in the room!

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