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How to Style a Table: Upgrading Décor at St Osyth Priory, Colchester with Tableware and Glass Hire

You've found the perfect venue, booked an awesome photographer and found your dream florist, now it is time to delve into the wonderful world of wedding styling.

I'm Victoria, wedding and event stylist and owner of Party Squared and event hire and styling business based in Colchester, Essex. I work with clients to design and create stylish, elegant and memorable celebrations in Essex and the surrounding counties.

A rectangle table laid with a white cloth and six place settings with pearl glass charger plates, beautiful glassware and linen napkins and a burnt orange tumbler with a large fresh floral arrangement and tall dinner candles.
Special occasion dining at St Osyth Priory designed by Party Squared

So where to start with styling an event? A great place to start is designing your tables or 'tablescaping' as we in the events industry call it. There are lots of things you can consider when perfecting your wedding or event tablescape, I'll discuss the main elements and share tips and points you might need to consider if designing a special occasion tablescape for the first time.

Choice of Linens; Hiring Tablecloths and Napkins

All great tablescapes need a good base. When designing your tables, check in with the venue and / or your event catering team to see what is provided. Ask to see the linens in use and check you are happy with what is being provided. My pet peeve is poorly fitted table linens; table cloths that drop half way to the floor and show ugly metal tabl legs. A great tablecloth fits the table well, has few creases, drapes well and hangs at floor length or just above.

NB. All linens will have some fold lines - it is impossible to remove all creases from linens, particularly if they have been washed on a hot cycle to remove stains. If creases bother you, ask if your venue iron the linens once they are on the tables (they will only be able to iron the cloth on the table top) and consider hiring a styling team who, if they have time during set up, will be able to steam cloths as they drape over the table edges, this will get the worst of the creases out of your cloths, stubborn set in creases won't be able to be removed, only softened. Both these jobs are a time consuming and painstaking job so expect a charge for this service.

Linens come in all colours but most venues will supply a cotton feel white cloth. Wedding and event hire companies in the UK will be able to source coloured linens on your behalf so if you wanted something a little different you might like to consider getting a linen hire quote. If you'd prefer to keep the base neutral why not stick to white hire a coloured napkin instead.

My go to cloth is from a range called the natural range; a heavier cloth with a fantastic drape and woven textured finish. I prefer off-white to brilliant white as it is warmer and marries well with ivory styling without looking too cream in colour. I also love the look and feel of 100% linen napkins, shown in the photos on this blog post or equally beautiful is the hemstitch variety which can be found on our website.

Types of Centrepieces and What Suits Your Event Style

Consider if you'd like a tall, show-stopping centrepiece or something low and sociable. A mix of flowers and candles always looks romantic and elegant. If you like the drama of tall floral stands or candelabra but are worried about blocking guests' view or you want to keep a more relaxed vibe, why not combine a mix of tall and lower centrepieces. Taller arrangements, particularly large floral arrangements on gold floral stands are more expensive than lower, simpler table centres so combining tall and low will help you splurge and save on your centrepieces as well as creating visual interest in the room. If you are serving sharing platters or family style dining, keep centrepieces small and easy to move around to allow for bowls and plates in the centre of the tables. Don't forget your caterers will add salt and pepper, wine coolers and bottles, water carafes and table numbers to the centre of your table so consider this when designing what to add.

How to Design the Perfect Place Setting

Any stylist will urge you to keep guests per table at a minimum. There are many benefits to keeping the number of guests per table low; the main being guest comfort, space for tableware and decorating. Your venue and caterer will suggest a guest range per table according to the size of your tables. Most venues have 5ft 6" round tables or 6ft round tables, seating 8-10 guests and 10-12 guests respectively. I would suggest you stick with the lowest number in the range and go lower if you have a formal three course meal with lots of cutlery, side plates and charger plates or are serving wine in both red and white glasses as well as a champagne flute and water glass. The more you plan to have on your tables the less guests you should have. Its very easy to add too much to a table.

A simple venue place setting consists of stainless steel cutlery for starter, main and dessert with a plain white napkin, side plate and glassware. If upgrading your place settings is within your budget, it is the best way for your tables to look luxurious and personal to your wedding. If you are wanting to achieve a stylish and elegant table setting for your guests, I'd recommend considering the following additions; a glass charger plate, stacked dinnerware, luxury glassware and a coloured water glass with a menu and place card will make your tables look extra special.

Here's an example of an elegant and sophisticated tablescape I designed for an autumn wedding at St Osyth Priory in November, with florals centrepieces from Poppydots a wedding florist based in Chelmsford, Essex.

Tableware and Glass Hire for Your Event

Party Squared hires many beautiful props large and small. We're best known for our lantern collection, charger plates, gold cutlery, tableware, glass hire, linens and table top decor and supply to individuals, wedding venues, other businesses and private homes in and around the Colchester area.

Hire the look created at St Osyth Priory, clickable links below:

Need Help Designing a Tablescape?

You've probably seen thousands of inspiring wedding imagery and may have so many ideas rushing around your head. If all these saved images and Pinterest boards is too much and you cant see the wood for the trees you might need a different approach, read on...

You can book a 45-minute consultation at Party Squared based in Colchester, Essex, to help design your tablescape. Whilst viewing the collection first hand you can get advice about your table design from a professional wedding and events stylist. The fee at the time of writing is just £30 for this service and allows you to perfect ideas for centrepieces and place settings using items in our wedding and event hire collection. Weekend appointments are available but are limited due to the nature of our business.

Photography with kind permission from Essex Wedding Photographer, Liam Gillan.

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