To Set a Great Table (Part II): Centerpiece Ideas

The Royal Park Hotel’s fourth annual “Ballroom Bliss” event in 2011 was named “Best Industry Event” by the National Association of Catering Executives – Michigan Chapter. “Ballroom Bliss” offered a night of inspiration for clients hosting upcoming events at The Royal Park Hotel, and featured industry trends, creative cuisine, glam tabletops, stylish sips and tips.Centerpieces can greatly enhance the ambiance of a tablescape. They should never be at eye-level, which creates a "disembodied" voice coming from across the table when you can’t see the person sitting there. Centerpieces should be low, or raised high with a tall, slender epergne to ‘cap’ the table.

Flowers should always be ordered a few days before the event so that they have time to open to full bloom.  While flower buds are beautiful, you want your flowers in full bloom and in all of their glory for your event. A beautiful floral tablecloth with a centerpiece made of the same flowers depicted on the tablecloth can make a stunning appearance.  

Be wary of flowers with a strong scent, such as tiger lilies or hyacinths, as the scent can interfere with the guests' palate.

Centerpieces can be highlighted with pin spots (small spotlights) from the ceiling. This can be very dramatic in a dimly lit room. Kathy Baldieri, CPCE, Director of Food & Beverage/Catering, Spanish Trail Country Club in Las Vegas says, “Lately it seems that a lot of centerpieces have LED lights incorporated to give a dramatic effect.”

You don’t have to have the same centerpiece at every table. You can have a variety of different centerpieces around the room, which gives visual interest.

I am a big proponent of edible centerpieces. Appetizers or desserts can be displayed attractively instead of flowers. Baskets of assorted breads, lavosh and breadsticks are always a welcome sight, because most people love good breads. Interesting centerpieces can be made from fruit or plates of petit fours. This Pinterest site has a collection of ideas.

Michael Napolitano, Renaissance Catering, Las Vegas says clients have been asking for centerpieces with finger foods on them when there will be an awards ceremony taking place, “so the guests can nibble while the awards are given out.”

So, be creative and wow your attendees at your next event.

For more ideas on how to make your event stand out, check out the photos from Cvent's Great Event Photo Contest: Inspiring Ideas from the Great Event Photo Contest: Week 1Photos to Remember from The $10,000 Great Event Photo Contest: Week 2Gems from the Great Event Photo Contest: Week 3Honorable Mentions in the Cvent Great Event Photo Contest (Drum Roll, Please)And the Winner of the Cvent Great Event Photo Contest Is...

Photo: Courtesy Royal Park Hotel

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