Simple Table Settings


by Meg Keene, Editor-In-Chief

In my last post I mentioned that thinking about table settings was fun for me. So, here we go. (and I hear you with the *yawn* on the table settings. It’s fine, come back tomorrow).

I called this post ‘Simple Table Settings,’ which was just a nice way to say ‘Lazy Table Settings.’ I live in awe of you crazy-crafty super DIY brides. You guys say “I’m going to knit all of my napkins.” And I think “Amazing!!!” and “I’m tired just thinking about that project. Oh, I better go take a nap.” By which I mean to say, it’s good I like simple, because I’m clearly not going to hand embroider my linens.
Simple Table Settings | A Practical WeddingSo, this brings us to the dilemma of table settings. I muttered to our caterer something about us using jewel tones when going through her rental linens book, and she snapped to, pulled the book away and said firmly “I would not recommend using cotton-poly to make a fashion statement.” Right. That said, we’re not much for pricey upgrades. So for a while there I was pondering making table runners… which still a option, but err, pulling out the sewing machine just seems like a lot of work. Which is how I fell for this lovely table where they used the folded the napkins to provide the pop of color. THIS, I thought to myself, THIS I can do! (or, uh, ask the caterer to do.)
Simple Table Settings | A Practical WeddingThen there was this sweet and simple table setting. We’ve been thinking we’d do long tables but this picture makes me like the good old fashioned round table.
Simple Table Settings | A Practical WeddingAnd, I don’t know if we’ll have menu cards, as they seem like a lot of hassle for something people look at for two seconds. But if we did have them (our big investment in the wedding is the food, so it might be nice to highlight our quirky and local food choices) I’d want them to look much like this one, designed by the excellent Pretty Pretty Paper. Simple, simple, simple. And chic.

See, I like details too. I just take the extremely low stress approach to them. So low stress that sometimes I actually *achem* fall asleep.

First picture from Snippet & Ink, via Emily Style; Second picture from Brooklyn Bride

Meg Keene

Meg is the Founder and EIC of APW. Her first book, A Practical Wedding: Creative Solutions for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration, was published in January 2012, and has been a top three bestseller on the wedding bookshelf ever since. Meg has her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and son.

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  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03208244458086146065 Blablover5

    You know if we had an interesting menu I think it’d be fun if one was having a more laid back wedding to get a big piece of chalkboard and right the menu up there like the old cafes.

  • Anne O.

    My fiance and I are going for sort of a repurposed organic feel (think centerpieces made out of jars that we are saving from our food and will recycle after the wedding), but we also want lots of color. So I think for tablecloths I’ll just head to Joann’s, buy fabric I like, do a nice job cutting the edges, and leave them unfinished. I’m pretty quick with the sewing machine, but not hemming them will be even quicker. Surely they will hold up for just one evening without a hem and if they look “raw,” it will just add to our homemade feel.

    Bonus: I can keep the fabric for something else in the future.

  • brandilily

    I’m all for simple, and somewhat quirky. We’re doing a buffet and a few really long tables. We’re using bamboo plates and compostable utensils. I splurged and purchased actual glasses (IKEA was way cheaper than renting), so we have to figure out what to do with them. Candles in jar, flowers in little galvanized pails, and butcher paper. We’re not having a guest book. We’ll lay out markers and keep the butcher paper, could make a fun collage of things for our house later.
    Meg, I love what you found, I hope it comes together for you. It all looks beautiful.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07594544376458295129 Shauna

    Hi Meg! I like menus at weddings – I think it’s important to let your guests know what they are eating, how many courses to expect, and what is in each dish (even if they don’t have a choice).

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12281567604425446375 faith

    Instead of dancing post-meal (we had an afternoon wedding and reception) we asked several friends to play songs. There was an Elvis medley, Patty Griffin song, a mother with an accordion, my new husband with his grandfather’s prized mandolin, etc. Very, very wonderful!

    Anyway! Food was important to us, so we had menus at each place, but we also printed the program for the reception songs on the other side so people would know who was singing.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16774816589101208646 skatej

    I just found your blog and have had so much fun reading your posts! I don’t have the man yet but because I am at that age where several friends are getting married seemingly at once, I have thought about my own wedding quite a bit, and all of it has practicality in mind! I have a dress made of japanese silk lace that my grandmother made for herself at 16 (fabric given to her by her sister when she and her husband were stationed in Japan in the 40′s), and only minor adjustments (cleaning and shortening and perhaps different straps to make it more sturdy…all of which will be easy since she kept all the fabric scraps) that I plan on using for my dress, a dear friend’s father has a band and I dream of having a laid back square dance (because the normal dances take me back to junior high and high school dances and I detest those memories!) and a potluck reception at the park! I’ve never understood going crazy about decorations and whatnot because it’s the people there and the actual event that matter!
    Thanks so much for having this blog! Major reality check from the friend who is arguing with her mother about what kind of potatoes they will serve at the humongous country club reception! You’ve found another subscriber!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09086142807086386230 Mrs. Andi

    I like those simple looks. Remember, you can use the actual place setting as a base canvas & add color with decorations, flowers & the food itself!!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09526722516550185150 Meg

    Oh! All! We’re having a buffet. People will get to see and pick what they want.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15103047512463828864 jamie

    I love simple settings. Your caterer is wise. I also loved designed paper goods. Also I love knowing why the food I am eating is so awesome. [besides being delicious] Since it is a buffet I agree menu is not necessary at every place setting. Maybe something like blablver5 suggested? a menu board? Or a stand with each food item giving a description? But, knowing me, if we were really highlighting our food I might have done indivicual menues anyways. Just so I could have another printing project.

    Table runners. This is one of those things I held onto until the last month…
    Me:Are you suuuuuuuure I don’t need to make table runners?
    Best Friend: No.
    Fiance: No.
    [I don't think table runners, or a lack there of, crossed my mind during the wedding. Or since. But that is just me.]

  • Peonies and Polaroids

    No yawns! I want t hear more of your plans please. As much as I love your wedding politics/philosophy talk, I’m insanely curious (nosy) about your wedding and what it’s going to be like.

    And I wouldn’t both with individual menus. Either one per table or a big menu board would suffice!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11371172824707301749 Cate Subrosa

    That menu is adorable. It’s really nice to hear about some of your personal wedding plans – feels like it’s been ages!