Decor & Rentals, Food & Drink

Table Notes

Florals as art installations top patterned linens. Photo courtesy of Paras EventsFlorals as art installations top patterned linens. Photo courtesy of Paras Events

Think Downton Abbey and The Great Gatsby when setting event tables in the coming year.

Here’s what the event pros are saying about 2013’s overall table trends and influences:

Paras Mehta, Paras Events

• Pattern wise, mix it up for must-have looks in everything from linens to dishware.

• Antique, distressed finishes and furnishings inspired by Old World tradition, craftsmanship and styling; Depression-era influences.

• Emerald, Pantone #17-5641 may be the colour of the year, but also popular are metallics in gold, antique brass, and bronze, heritage-inspired hues, greyed-down tones, and, for weddings, pale and pastel colour stories.

• Unique foliage becomes the dominant feature in florals and centrepieces; think art installations rather than traditional arrangements.

• Look for linens in high-contrast patterns, updated, traditional botanical prints, faux burlap, hemstitch details, lace and sequined embellishment.


Florals run lengthwise down centre tables. Photo courtesy of Events In BloomFlorals run lengthwise down centre tables. Photo courtesy of Events In Bloom

Leesa Mitchell, Events In Bloom

• Tall centrepieces are still relevant, but low, wide-set arrangements are on trend.

• Position arrangements as a long garland down the centre of tables, lush and English Garden-inspired.

• Footed planters and low bowls are paired with garden roses, seasonal florals, delicate filler flowers and a variety of beautiful greenery for a fresh garden-like look.

• The trend to collections of multi vases on communal and round tables is stronger than ever with flea markets and antique sales a source for vintage bud vases and interesting jars to fill with single blooms for soft but dynamic centre table attractions.

• Emerald, Pantone’s colour of the year, opens the door to shades of green, from mint and sage accenting wedding florals to turquoise and deep greens creating drama at corporate events.


Sparkling crystal stemware and gilt-edged dishes give tables a regal sophistication. Photo courtesy of Susan Murray InternationalSparkling crystal stemware and gilt-edged dishes give tables a regal sophistication. Photo courtesy of Susan Murray International

Susan Murray, Susan Murray International

• Tables at large-scale events are moving away from matched sameness to a series of design vignettes created by dressing tables in different fabrics, patterns and styles that complement each other.

• Vintage-inspired table settings are more regally sophisticated rather than the recent shabby-chic finds from grandma’s china cabinet.

• Heritage collections are au courant with gilt-edged glassware and dishes, fabrics with shiny threads, and Old World metals in silver and gold.

• Incorporate sparkle whether it’s the sheen of metallic charger plates, the gleam of cut-crystal glassware or the glitter of Swarovski accents.

• Graphic patterned linens are big, especially chevron prints. Sequined tracings on monochromatic linen patterns add sparkle such as silver on grey.

• Emerald green is definitely the “it” colour, but for corporate events it will appear as the accent that pops against the main palette.

• Eco influences move from rustic to more sophisticated texturing in natural fibres, oatmeal-grain linens, fossil-inspired designs.

• Textured runners, such as a chevron print, on square or rectangular tablecloths are used as more design statement than for colour-blocking purposes.


Think vintage dishware. Photo courtesy of Chair-man MillsThink vintage dishware. Photo courtesy of Chair-man Mills

Tania MacDiarmid, Chair-man Mills

• We’ve added a vintage tableware line to meet requests from both the social and gala market for more heritage-inspired, delicately patterned opulence along with a new black and gold line with more masculine Art Deco styling.

• Fusing together traditional with contemporary will be commonplace in creating unique, more adventurous tables such as pairing sleek, modern flatware with daintily etched crystal-cut glasses and gold-rimmed plates.

• Metallic charger plates are a must for injecting high-end style or, for more modern luxe, go glass rimmed in gold or silver.

• Serving dishes and platters are headed back to more classic, vintage styling over the recent use of modern, compartment-heavy dishware for deconstructed food presentations.

• Cut-glass miniware makes the scene for sorbets, 3-in. square plates for small-bite desserts and hors d’oeuvres, shooter glasses for unique food presentations. Group them for interest.

• Round tables will always have a place but we’re also seeing call for wider-width rectangular tables that offer a bigger footprint for centrepieces and décor without taking up too much floor space.

• Ghost chairs are great for adding a modern touch and letting the beauty of heavy brocade tablecloths shine through.


Versaille-style ghost chairs make an appearance. Photo courtesy of Exclusive Affair RentalsVersaille-style ghost chairs make an appearance. Photo courtesy of Exclusive Affair Rentals

Natasha Ugarkovic, Exclusive Affair Rentals

• What was once “less is more” is becoming “more is more” as we see a move from the minimal, modern looks of the past few years towards really dressing the table up with ornate embellishments.

• We’re borrowing older heritage visual styles from the past including pre-World War I (think Downton Abbey), the ’20s and ’30s for Gatsbyesque nostalgia, and the ’60s (Mad Men).

• Think “full monty” and proper place-setting protocol using vintage patterned china, ornate silverware, cut crystal glassware, champagne and wine glasses.

• Chivari chairs are still popular but there’s also a resurgence in Versaille chairs, which are more of a ballroom style. Colour them gold, black, and ghost.

• Lace tablecloth overlays are trending as are more organic fabrics with lots of texture.


Technology helps dress event tables. Photo courtesy of McNabb RoickTechnology helps dress event tables. Photo courtesy of McNabb Roick

Suzanne Turnbull, McNabb Roick Events

• We have designed an oversized table seating up to 20 guests as a unique way to enrich the experience of corporate sponsors. This trend will spill over into the private sector with oversized tables acting as head tables for wedding parties etc.

• Think “couture dress” in setting dining tables with incredible textiles and fabrics that are more intricate, delicate and tactile for enhancing guest experiences once they take their seat.

• Technology reaches the table as new products like short-throw projectors and cordless lighting systems help planners realize the potential of incorporating illumination and moving images into table top designs.