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Design Desk: Matching Table Design And Service

Photo by Micah Fischer

Here we are kicking off a few posts on design and I am just the happiest clam. I LOVE table design. Basically live for it. This post is all about making sure that your vision for table design matches up with your plans for dinner service and your event!

The worst thing in the world is dreaming this whole gorgeous thing up in your head and arriving at the day and realizing it doesn't practically work for you and your guests. This is a HUGE part of what a coordination team is for, but here's a couple of tidbits to get you started.

Photo by Sara Byrne

First, let's talk about food! How are you serving food it? Are you going buffet, family style or plated? Just a refresher on the differences: buffet is where all food is set out in one location for guests to serve themselves, family style service means catering will

bring out platters and dishes to each table and guests will pass them around like Thanksgiving, and plated means just what it sounds like, guests choose their meal before the event and are served a fully plated meal a the table. Our personal fave is family style but it does come with an elevated staffing and rentals cost so you have to choose what's right for you!


After you figure that part out then move on to your table design! I know it sounds super boring to pick your food service style before moving on to all the pretty pretty, but trust me it is worth the conversation before investing all of the time and money in choosing your tableware.

Photo by KSA Photography

For both buffet and plated service you are pretty open to design how you like. We always suggest that you have plates staged at the table for buffet service rather than having them up at the buffet. It encourages guests to find their seat before heading to get food so they know where to head back to and also provides a nice finished look to your tables. For plated dinners, maybe consider adding a charger to the table so guests will be seated to nice place setting. You can talk to your caterer about plating salads and having them served at the beginning of the meal too and giving guests a charger gives them a nice place for their salad plate

Going family style? A little trickier, but oh so worth it. Have your coordinator (seriously get one, we are awesome) talk to your caterer and make sure they know what styles of platter/dish/bowl are needed to be on the table at once during dinner service. Once you calculate that footprint you can devise ways for the table to still look fully decorated when guests are seated, but still have room for all of the necessary dishes. There is nothing worse than having this super gorgeous table, but having the last to get the mashed taters get stuck with holding the bowl until something gets bussed. Often smaller in the center or the table, bud vases, or low greenery garland is an awesome choice for this situation.

Photo by Stark Photography / Floral by Blum

Going for a floral centerpiece? Consider going low and lush or high and mighty so guests can see across the table. It's always tough when trying to pass a dish or have a super rad dinner conversation when the people across the table actually look like peonies. Let your coordinator and florist guide you here! They will have all of the answers

for you!

Mk I have to go now because I am super hungry now.......

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