Personalized Wedding Table Settings

The Martha Stewart Show, March 2011

Long after the wedding is over, it's the clever, personal details that are remembered, says event designer Tara Guerard, because to some extent, all weddings feature the same things: a bride, groom, friends, family, cake, and flowers. But by integrating unique, expressive touches throughout the event, you can make your wedding stand out from the rest. Here, Tara shares creative examples of a personalized table setting from the spring wedding of Olivia, a 25-year-old Southern bride.

Home Is Where
the Heart Is
Tara begins her event design process with a visit to the bride's home. There, Tara can see what the bride likes to surround herself with on a daily basis, how she has chosen to decorate her home, what type of clothing she wears, and what colors she is drawn to.

When visiting with Olivia, Tara learned that this stylish yet preppy bride-to-be was fond of Missoni prints and warm colors -- a theme that would be integrated throughout her May nuptials.

Crazy for Color
Begin planning your table settings by determining a general color scheme. To create a cohesive feeling, use monochromatic flowers and linens. Chair pillows in accent colors can help coordinate design elements and make it more comfortable for your guests. If you are using patterns in your linens, opt for simple plates that won't distract, and incorporate any desired embellishments with small items like napkins.

For Olivia's wedding, Tara selected a bright, cheery, and young red-coral color with sophisticated accents of gray.

Put Guests in Their Place
To make menu and place cards more interesting, consider using an atypical shape instead of a square or rectangle. Place cards made of sturdy materials can also turn into lovely luggage tags -- a great take-home gift for guests.

Olivia's love of Missoni is reflected in the colorful pattern on the back of her custom die-cut place cards.

Finish with Flowers
Complete your table setting with a statement-making monochromatic floral arrangement surrounded by an assortment of different-shaped and -sized candlesticks in your accent color.

Tara created a traditional full-flowered pink bouquet of peonies, roses, tulips, dusty miller, and berries for Olivia's centerpiece. Gray pillar candle holders finish the look.

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