Styling your reception tables for your Chicago wedding or Chicago suburb wedding means so much more than just placing a centerpiece in the middle. It’s ultimately about enhancing the overall look and ultimately the experience as a whole. There are so many possibilities and layers that go into a show-stopping table design- so many “dos”! There are also a few “do nots”; we will show both so you are armed with all the knowledge and visuals to help make your decisions!

Working together with our clients and planners to layer the tablescape and elevate the aesthetics and guest experience is one of our favorite parts of the design process. All of the optional or extra tabletop elements combined with the floral and candlelight WILL create that memorable and special event for you and your guests. It’s all worth it! 

Say YES to Specialty Linen

If your budget allows you to add only one extra décor element beyond your floral, we would recommend specialty linen as the priority. ‘Specialty linen’ is an upgrade from what your venue package includes. Beyond just a wide variety of colors available, there are also many different textures, materials, and prints.

There is 3 ways to obtain upgraded or specialty linen: (a.) upgrade through your venue (b.) find and order it yourself (c.) we can order it for you!

Avant Gardenia has great relationships and works with linen companies regularly; we have a plethora of swatches for you to see and touch. We will certainly discuss your plans for linen, as it’s the backdrop for your centerpieces and can change the look of the entire event. For not very much more money in the grand scheme of things, it complements and enhances EVERY other thing you’re already spending money on: flowers, photos, and the room…. Linen is a VERY important element and wise money spent.

Here are some of our stunning linen pairings-

Say NO to Clutter on the Tabletop

Clutter on the tabletop is something that has the ability to ruin your reception detail photos. Your Chicago wedding photographer will take photos of all your beautiful tables prior to guests entering the room. There are several items you won’t want to see in those photos, things that take away from the beauty of your centerpieces and don’t yet need to be on the table at that time. Many Chicago venues and Chicago suburb venues will place things like sugar caddies and creamers on the table prior to guest seating, but the reality is that those are not needed until coffee service following the meal. We understand and respect that they are trying to be efficient, but these are also elements that will inhibit the beauty of your centerpiece design in photos, something you’re spending good money on. So how can you prevent clutter from appearing on your tables? Speak with your venue coordinator prior to the event and request for certain items to be omitted from their initial setting. 

Here are our tips for de-cluttering your tabletops and letting your centerpieces shine:

  • No sugar caddies, creamers, etc. set out prior to guest seating.
  • No food set out prior to guest seating (salads, dressings, breads, etc.).
  • Candles not pushed too close to flowers or they will burn.
  • Table numbers should not be large; they should be insignificant. They should never block or look as though they are part of the centerpiece.

Speaking of Table Numbers

Ah, table numbers…. Necessary, even though we wish they weren’t! The problem our team sees most is when the table numbers are way too large for the scale of the centerpieces like you see in the photo above.

Even worse, bulky frames that are 5×7 or larger will dwarf and block your centerpiece design. In photos it will look like your centerpiece is mostly a table number, and the memory of the true beauty your centerpieces offered will not be preserved. So what type of table number concept IS acceptable and not obstructive?? 

Acrylic table numbers are always aesthetically insignificant and subtle. They are clean, modern, and will blend in your photos.

Look at how fabulous these are:

Otherwise, something very small will do the job, whether that’s a tiny frame or a small table tent with a pretty font! 

Add All the Pretty Bells and Whistles

Elements like menus, chargers, and specialty stemware and flatware have the ability to add more texture and incredible layers to your tablescape. These are more components that will enhance your floral centerpieces as well as photography, the room, and ultimately the entire guest experience. 


Menus are a thoughtful touch for guests. Typically they mimic your invitation suite and are yet another functional style statement for your tabletop.

Chargers, Stemware, & Flatware

We love chargers as well as upgraded stemware and flatware. All of it adds to the style and décor of the event. Yes, this expense adds up quickly depending on your guest count, but it’s such a polished look, we can’t get enough! 

We can’t wait to style your tabletops and pair all kinds of lovely elements with your centerpiece designs to create a one-of-a kid experience for you and your guests. Don’t be afraid of color, texture and layers!

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