Want to know what single piece of decor will give you the biggest bang for your buck? Of course you do! It’s your table linens! Sure you can use white on white. Lots of couples do. But how about jazzing it up a bit? The cost of using other colors is often the same as that of basic white linens, or only slightly more. So if you’re feeling royal blue or hunter green or springtime yellow, go for it!

One of my favorite tricks is to reverse the colors of the guest tables and the service tables  – the bar, buffet, coffee service, cake, etc. – and do the napkins in the same color as the latter. For example, let’s say that the guest tables are covered in a crimson red linen. The service tables might be covered with a contrasting blue linen. The napkins would also be in that same blue.

Building on this scheme, you might also reverse-out the sweetheart or head table, using the same look as the service tables, and add crimson red napkins.

Let’s take this a step further and really mix it up! Consider using multiple colors of table linens on your guest tables. A creative couple did just that earlier this year at my venue, Chase Court, with spectacular results! They used several different, delightfully bright linen colors, pairing each with napkins in a contrasting color. The service tables were a different, slightly more subdued color. Everyone loved it!

Another way to go, still just using color as a variable, is to put a neutral color – ivory for example – on your tables and use an assortment of colored napkins on each table. Four or five colors that repeat will create a fabulous look.

You can see how this can go on and on. The idea is to be creative, and express who you are as a couple in this most basic of decorating methods.

But wait, there’s more to do with linens!

Caterers and wedding planners have binders and binders full of linen samples from the big rental companies. There are all kinds of textures, overlays, table runners, and more from which to choose. The cost of these linen upgrades is absolutely minimal compared to any other form of decor. Think ten to 30 dollars per table. Cheap. The effect can be outstanding. There is no need to settle for plain when you can have fantastic!

Let’s talk centerpieces – A big way to save decor money is to minimize cut flowers. Use potted plants, candles, photographs in frames, and other low-cost centerpieces. Candles, especially, go a long way, particularly in a reception space where the lights can be dimmed.

Make it meaningful – I love seeing couples choose meaningful things to add to their decor. Consider using books that represent what you enjoy or where you’ve been. You can create a theme around cites where you’ve lived or visited, or even just family, with photographs of you and your parents and grandparents.

Pro tip: Massed anything creates a powerful, larger-than-itself look. Use groups of candles, candle lanterns, blooms, piles of used books, whatever.

Avoid Pinterest hell – A word of caution: Lots of couples do some or all of their own decor. That’s great! But before you begin, be realistic with yourself about your skills and your time. It’s easy to look at that big and complex Pinterest centerpiece, with everything put together just so, and say, “I can do that!” It’s quite another to do it for all of your guest tables, to get it all done in time for your wedding, and to have the time and person-power to set it all up on your wedding day.

There are a million ways to create gorgeous, meaningful decor for your wedding. With some time and effort, you can create a look that you love, and one that your guests will remember!

Next time: Theme Weddings!

David L. Egan is the proprietor and steward of Chase Court, a wedding and event venue in downtown Baltimore. Visit Chasecourt.com, and follow ChaseCourtWeddingVenue on Instagram and Facebook.

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David Egan
David Egan
David L. Egan is the proprietor and steward of Chase Court, a wedding and event venue in downtown Baltimore. Visit Chasecourt.com, and follow ChaseCourtWeddingVenue on Instagram and Facebook.