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How to Coordinate your Wedding Table Settings and Linens. How to Plan your Wedding Linens. Wedding Table Settings. Wedding linens. How to Plan Wedding Linens. Wedding Linen Help. Wedding Rentals.Let’s talk about your Table Settings, Linens and Reception for a bit… Your ceremony will end, cocktail hour will begin and you’ll be announced in as Mr. and Mrs. to finally open that buffet line. Perhaps you’re trotting off to your spectacular Sweetheart Table and guests are skimming the Reception Seating Plan that you have diligently prepared. Everyone knows where they’re going… Is there enough room? Will they have everything they need when they get there? What does it look like? These are all questions we’re about to answer. We are going to plan and prepare for your table setting needs in 3 {not so simple} Steps…

Table Settings in 2 Steps

  1. Table Appearance {P21B}- What will tables look like and who is setting them
  2. Rental Distribution & Set Up- Organize your Worksheet & Linens
Each has an assignment and homework. I know what you’re thinking… this Project is a doozy… and it is! This is one of the Top 5 stressful areas of Wedding Day Set-up! Chairs, Tables & Linens Oh My! It is a big machine with a lot of parts that can go south really quick without careful pre-planning.

Step 1: Table Appearance

When chairs are finally placed at your tables, what will they look like? Will they be set with places and glasses or perhaps just flatware? How will your tables look and who will be dressing them? You’re going to need rentals!
How to plan your Wedding Table Settings, Linens and rentals

Here are items you might reserve:

Linens = 1 per table

Remember to include ALL surfaces and tables throughout your wedding! I highly recommend using linens that touch the ground on all sides for aesthetics. For the standard, 5′ round {60″ round} guest tables that seat 8-10 you’ll want 120″ Round Linens. Then will they also have an overlay or a table runner? Account for these extra pieces too. The overlays in the picture above are 72″ Squares on a 5′ round table.

Water glasses = 1 per person

If placed at a table. {If you’re using plastic cups refer to Project Block 9}

Flatware = Knives & Forks

What style of food are you serving? Do they need a spoon to eat it? You’ll want to over order your numbers. Guests will often drop a fork and come asking for another and your vendors will need to eat too! Please always plan enough plates and utensils for your vendors. I personally have been behind a barn, washing plates and forks in a hose so that the photographers could eat! {Fortunately, I always pack dish soap and now plastic forks in my auxiliary kits!}

Cake Forks!

Don’t forget these babies! Everyone does! You do not need one per guest. You can also use plastic forks here. Refer to Project Block 13 for more details!

Napkins = 1 per person plus 10-15 extra.

Boy are these often overlooked! Several weddings I have attended have completely forgotten napkins. Someone assumed the caterer was providing them and never confirmed. Once it was even BBQ!

Napkin Prep

If you’re ordering cloth napkins you’ll want to ask/know how they will arrive from the rental company. Often they come flat, wrapped in plastic. Rental companies do not automatically starch them into little, folded flowers for $0.50 each… you’ll have to do that yourself! So budget in some time on Friday to fold napkins! If you hire a REALLY awesome caterer, he/she might take on your napkin folding for you if you ask super nicely. Especially if he/she is already setting your tables for you!

Plates = 1 per person + 10 extra.

Same story as the Flatware… people will drop them, need a second and your vendors will need them too! Yes, even your bartender and the whole band! If you have a whole band coming you should also offer up a lot of complimentary drinks to all of them and a LOT of water! Always take care of your band! They are your whole party! {if you’re using a band}

Where will plates be?

On the tables or stacked at the buffet? Ask your caterer! Many brides have assumed that plates would be set at their tables and were disappointed to see the room look “unfinished” for pictures. All you need to do is ask and communicate where you want them.

Everything else

Your tables might have other things set on them prior to guests eating such as Favors {P5}, PlaceCards {P10} Centerpieces {P22} and perhaps even menus, games and programs. These all have their own Project Blocks.

Step 2: Rental Orders

Decide on and reserve your rentals. Remember you can always reduce as you get closer, but YES reserve now! You’ll need to decide on colors, sizes and styles for linens and service ware. Have a conversation with your caterers about what they provide, set up and breakdown. Refer to Project Block 12 for questions to ask your Caterer. If you can have them order all of your rentals as a subcontractor from the rental company DO IT! No joke. The caterer best knows everything there is to know about food service and truly is your best resource for an inclusive system and efficiency here. They bring them, they clean them and take them back. Pay the extra fee! Trust me!

Building your Worksheet

{Still need Worksheets? Get them HERE}


You will want a clear image here for what you’re thinking. If the images you find on Pinterest have too much in them, cross it out on the picture so that it shows only what you want. You will also want to get ahold of some ingredients and takes a picture of a mock style. You can actually just use your own kitchen items! How you want the napkins folded is a big picture need here too!


Fill this section in with all the little pieces per person needed: Include the numbers of Plates, Forks, Knives, Glassware, Napkins, Charger, etc per place setting needed. Remember you might need extra cake forks and don’t forget to feed your vendors…. so get enough plates and forks for them too!

Prior to Wedding:

Plan your “tablescape” and what will exist on each table surface. Dive onto Pinterest if you have to! Will your napkins be twisted up in a wine glass or draping flat under a charger? Are utensils rolled up in paper napkins at the buffet line or do you have an elaborate gold ensemble at each setting?

Communicate setup and a picture. If your caterer is not setting your tables for you then who is? They will need guidance. Perhaps take a picture using stand-in props {from your own kitchen} to give them. This might even be helpful to your caterer!

List tasks that need to be complete before the wedding day to ensure success including:

  1. Reserve all rental items
  2. Take a mock picture of your place setting
  3. Make your Linen Chart {see below}
  4. Iron linens or pay to have them steamed
  5. Starch & fold napkins
  6. Pick up rentals. {if you are dropping napkins off with your caterer perhaps you can negotiate getting them a day earlier?}

Staging Materials:

Make a list with your linens by size and color as well as which tables they are for. If certain tables get a different color linen you set up crew will need to know. I hate it when I walk in and see the table runners used as sashes around the chairs or cinching up the cocktail tables. I have also walked in to find 8′ banquet linens folded in half and placed on a round guest table… then the round linen was draped across the buffet…most people don’t have a working knowledge of linen size and how it correlates to a wedding table.


  • Guest Tables: 120” Round Linens White x 15 + Pink Satin Table Runner x15
  • Buffet Tables: 90” x 156” Banquet Linens White x 4 + 72” Squares Pink Satin Overlay
  • Cake Table: 108” Round Gold Sequin Linen

Wedding Day Set Up:

Make a Chart for your linens! As mentioned above, not everyone can look at a heap of linens delivered in their plastic bags, find their tags {if they still have them} and translate which table they belong to based on their size. It isn’t easy for anyone, especially if they are missing tags! Someday I am going to write a tell-all book about the battle Wedding Coordinator vs. Table Linens… not today… just make the chart.

Using your Rental Agreement, please supply your set up crew with a simple list that joins each linen to its table.

It should look like THIS.

It truly does not have to be fancy, just concise. The worst thing as a Wedding Coordinator is to walk into a reception and see that your hard-working, well-intentioned friends who have volunteered to help you set up have wrapped a 90” x 156” banquet linen around your cocktail table because they didn’t know which linen went where.

Make your own chart for your wedding day linen organizing with this identical BLANK Linen Chart Printable

Print and fill it in by hand so that it is ready to go for Headquarters. We will pre-sort out linens at Rehearsal with Project Post-its!

It will save me a LOT of time not having to go through your entire reception correcting the linens per tables!

  • Check off when the Project is Done, Packed and Ready to Go
  • Check off when this Project is loaded into a Big Day vehicle
  • Assign the Person who is setting HQ up for you {if different than the Person in Charge}
  • Name your Person in Charge. He or she will then take over the Worksheet and check off the remaining Wedding Day Set Up boxes as they are completed.

GEG Team Member Assignment

If you are currently on the GEG Wedding Coordinating Team here is your Assignment this week. If you would like to join our Team, learn all about the Wedding Planning Process with GEG HERE!

Team Members; please respond to your Wedding Wednesday Email with the following:

  1. Name the people who are physically popping open the tables and setting them in the correct places after they are delivered. Does the rental company do that? {not likely} Will your venue do that? {only if they own them?} Who is actually standing up tables before linens go on them?
  2. If you’re doing assigned seating {P10} send me your Reception Table Chart for where all tables belong on the floor.
  3. Tell me if there are water glasses on the tables and who will have filled them with water before the ceremony ends? Will catering teams come and refill?

Style Kit Point: When you have made your Linen Chart text or send me a PICTURE of it for 5 Style Kit points!
Yes, it is THAT important!

Previous Assignment: Project Block 20: Wedding Lighting & Candles

Next Assignment: Project Block 22: Centerpieces

The Project Block System…

Hi there! I’m Kandice, owner of Green-Eyed Girl Productions and engineer of The Project Block System. Welcome to our Blog! If you’re just popping in on this Project Block you’re in for a nice surprise!

There are actually 35 Project Blocks that will help you plan, coordinate and style your wedding efficiently! Each has a Worksheet and each has a blog post.

Project Blocks are how we break down your wedding into manageable assignments that you can work through and finish one at a time.

We build a tangible Workbook of Wedding Worksheet “recipes” that can easily be communicated on the Big Day.We teach you how to organize at home for easy wedding day transportation and set up. We walk you through packing it all up and communicating clear instructions to your Set Up Crew. You can literally hand over your wedding in the form of a Project Block Workbook.

You can plan, style, and pull together {aka Coordinate} your entire wedding on your own using The Project Block System and Workbook from anywhere in the world!

Begin building your Wedding one Project Block at a time HERE

Happy Planning!

Post Image Credit(s) Alyssa Armstrong Photography ~ Ann Nunn Photography ~Green-Eyed Girl Event Team

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