Wedding table setting: 5 trends for 2021

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Wedding table setting: 5 trends for 2021

Which are the wedding table setting trends for 2021-2022? Creating a table setting coherent with the theme and location and functional for the guests is vital for a balanced event. Where to start from? In this article, we will understand what a table setting is, what etiquette prescribes, and the main trends of this season.

Table setting: why is it important?

The table setting is the translation of French “mise en place”. Literally “put in place” refers to the choice and correct positioning on the dining table of:

  • decorations – such as centrepieces and backsplashes;
  • Textiles – tablecloths, table runners and napkins;
  • Furnishings and crockery – plates, placemats, glasses, cutlery.

The mise en place is much more than a simple set of rules for the bon ton at the table. It is a fundamental design element. If particular decorations of the environment or details of the location can go unseen, the guest cannot fail to notice – and therefore remember – the place where they’ll pass most of the party: the table!

Setting the table is not enough to create a wedding mise en place. For this element to really give added value, it should be consistent with the wedding’s primary theme and location.

We talk about the harmony of colours, shapes, and styles to create a balanced and pleasant visual impact.

Let’s see this season’s trends for an unforgettable table for your guests.

The wedding table setting in etiquette

The most classic of this year’s trends is the bon ton table setting, actualized by a pinch of informality. The table setting changes according to the type of service offered, but some etiquette rules have to be considered in any case.

  • Forks should always be on the left of the plate, while knives on the right – only if the latter is not provided, forks can be set on the right.
  • Glasses should always be placed above the cutlery and to the right of the plate;
  • The plate for the bread should be to the left of the underplate.

I guarantee that the etiquette of table setting is much more complicated than that! However, respecting these elements is enough to create a neat and classic mise en place. In this case, we will use a white or light coloured tablecloth with matching napkins.

To not exceed formality, we could avoid placing on the table the triple fork (appetizer, first course, second course) and the double knife (fish and meat). Just as we could not include the dessert cutlery (knife, fork and dessert spoon) in the initial table setting, supplying them later.

In the image below, we see a very formal wedding mise en place that includes three wine glasses. In short, an abundance of functional furnishings but not really suitable for every type of reception and wedding tables, also for reasons of space.


Minimalism: lemon yellow and grey for a modern wedding table setting

I have just mentioned the theme of simplicity: not by accident! 2020 was a year that made us rediscover the pleasure of small things, delicacy and authenticity. The wedding world has not remained immune to this trend. Therefore minimalism is today one of the most popular design choices.

It is linked to the world of furniture and an authentic lifestyle. In the field of wedding table setting, it is declined in a clean table, stripped of excessive decorative elements and with the use of delicate but strong colours.

Particularly trendy is the PANTONE Color of the year 2021: PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray and PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating. Nothing but two bright shades of grey and yellow described by the brand as solid, concrete, brilliant and lovable.
Perfect to represent the marriage bond!

In this case, we could find cutlery in chromed or silver satin steel, matte grey or white marble underplates combined with classic line goblets. The centrepieces can be floral but are reduced to a few elements of real impact. The tablecloths are characterized by light textures and fabrics, such as cotton or linen.

A modern table setting perfect for an elegant wedding with industrial notes!

Pastel wedding table setting: delicate and romantic

As we anticipated, 2020 has brought authenticity back to the centre of marriage: less glam, less scenography, more feelings and emotions. Pastel colours, delicate and soft, are part of this trend. These colours can be declined, in the tablecloths, with notes of lilac and light blue, and in placemats and ceramic details.

This trend manifests itself in several styles: from boho chic to minimalism to the natural theme – which we will talk about shortly.

We often find pastel weddings in country locations or in historic buildings with magnificent murals. Similarly, we can find a complete wedding table setting, consistent with the etiquette, as an informal and fresh one. In short, the pastel colours are a design element extremely flexible: anyway perfect for the most romantic weddings.

Look at the diversity of these mise en place!

Natural and recycled materials: an eco-chic & sustainable wedding

The tendency to use materials and elements from nature – even raw ones – has already been underway for some years. We have seen several beautiful table settings characterized by wood, jute and straw.

This year, however, we take a step further: not just nature but sustainability. A trend especially for younger couples – millennials are growing up too! These wedding table settings are usually created in weddings where each element has been designed with an eco-friendly perspective. From the location, surrounded by greenery, to the simple and km0 food.

The characteristics can be really diverse. An idea could be a straw or rattan placemat or a linen tablecloth with a jute runner. The absence of tablecloths is also stylish. In this case, the dishes are placed directly on the table – strictly in natural wood – and completed by herbal decoration – branches, leaves, petals – and raw fabrics.

However, we can also have a complete and formal table setting. I assure you that the contrast with the country atmosphere will be of significant impact!

The latest trend for table setting: dried flowers and pampas

If you think this trend could be included in the nature & eco-chic category, you are right; they are indeed connected! But there is one detail that really makes the difference: the focus here is not sustainability or even minimalism. On the contrary!

In this case, we are talking about mise en place – and more generally about wedding themes – very complex and “constructed”. We find here an abundance of decorative and furnishing elements: candelabra, jars, swings, aviaries, lanterns.

The wedding table setting characterized by dried flowers borrows shapes and colours from all the categories we mentioned above:

  • complete mise en place, according to etiquette;
  • clean lines for the porcelains – so as not to weigh down an already rich context;
  • pastel colours in the choice of flowers and tablecloths;
  • materials of natural origin.

Maybe that’s why everyone likes it so much: smooth, young and modern (and a lot Pinterest!)

The mise en place is the queen of your table: do you know how to choose it?

When choosing your wedding mise en place, keep in mind that it will be one of the elements that your guest will remember. As a wedding planner, I have to admit that it is one of the parts that is often paid less attention to.

Why? Simple, the basic table setting service is often offered in the catering package: white tablecloths and crockery, steel cutlery, classic glasses and goblets. Here, this mise en place, however timeless and always elegant, is not suitable for all types of weddings and all locations. I would say, not even for all the spouses!

This, which I have left for last, is perhaps the most essential point. As the theme, the wedding table setting should first be in line with the character, perceptions and values ​​of the couple!

Are you paying the proper attention to your table setting? What’s your favourite trend 2021-2022?

Tania Costantino – Full Service Wedding Planner in Sicily

Photo Credits: Giuseppe Santanastasio Photographer; Fausto Sari; Pinterest