Black or White Tablecloths. Which are Best for Your Event?

When it comes to decorative choices for your special day, there’s no such thing as a rule book.

Whether you’re going for a traditional feel, or you’re ready to go large, the stylistic choices you make are ultimately up to you. And one place where style really matters is in which tablecloths you use to decorate your tables.

They’re the focal points of your reception floor and the place where everyone gathers to eat, drink and celebrate with you. But how do you decide what kinds of tablecloths to use?

Here’s a breakdown of the main stylistic elements to consider when choosing between black or white tablecloths. 

White Tablecloths

White tablecloths are a timeless, elegant choice for your wedding reception. And although they might be seen as the traditional or even the ‘safe’ choice for your decorations, there are so many ways you can use white linens to make your special day your own.

Traditionally, white tablecloths symbolise purity, cleanliness and wealth. And it’s easy to see why: white tablecloths can bring incredible sophistication to your decorative scheme.

They also work in harmony with a huge range of colour accents, decor items, tableware and seating styles. White tablecloths are also great to use with specific textural ideas in mind. For example

  • Straight-cut white tablecloths can create quite a relaxed look and communicate a simple, minimalist elegance.
  • Bunched or gathered white tablecloths portray a gorgeous opulence and generosity, while evoking a distinctive sense of comfort.
  • Pleated white tablecloths can be a nice middle-ground, evoking a subtle elegance with a more formal sense of refinement.

    Another reason white tablecloths are great for emphasising texture is that they display light and shade very clearly. This means that even subtle textural elements can have a big impact if you’re working with white.

    Black Tablecloths

    Image @lunaweddingandeventsupplies

    In contrast, black tablecloths are certainly not the traditional choice for a wedding. But, of course, that just means they’re a great way to make a serious statement at your reception.

    When used correctly, black decorative elements look gorgeous and feel luxurious. They draw the eye, stand out in a space and can be used to create a strong sense of intimacy.

    Black tablecloths can also make the other decorative elements really pop, no matter the colour scheme. To give you an idea of how you can use black tablecloths well, consider how

    • Brass, copper or gold-finished cutlery brings an eye-catching elegance to a distinctly modern and chic event.
    • Black place settings with distinct accenting can be used to make your menu, placards and other tableware stand out.
    • Tiered or tall floral arrangements can really pop when they’re used on a black tablecloth. Whether they’re white or a vibrant mix of colours, this is always a good combination.
    • Brass and wood decorative elements mesh very well with black tablecloths, and the contrast makes their natural textures more salient.

    Getting the Correct Size Tablecloths for Your Tables

    Getting the right size and shape for your tablecloths is important, but there are no hard and fast rules that you absolutely must play by for your wedding to come together beautifully.

    With that said, you should definitely begin this part of the process by measuring your tables. If you’re working with rectangular tables, make sure you record measurements of the length, width and height of the tabletop.

    If you’re using round tables, all you need to do is measure the height, then measure from the centre of the table to the edge. Double this value and you’ve got the diameter of the surface.

    Once you’ve got an idea of the surface and height you’re working with, it’s time to consider how far you want the fabric to hang to the ground. This is an important stylistic choice and can have a major impact on the overall feel of your event.

    For some straight-cut white tablecloths, halfway or even a third of the way to the floor can look quite elegant — especially if the tables are set up on an unfinished, irregular ground, like grass.

    Alternatively, if you’re playing with texture, it’s a great idea to go for tablecloths that just skirt the ground, and even gather in some places. The slight bunching of the tablecloth material at the feet of the tables can generate quite a cosy, opulent aesthetic. Just remember to place the bunching material where it won’t be in the way of foot traffic!

    Combining Black and White Table Decorations

    Can’t decide whether it’s black or white that’s right for your wedding? Well, the good news is, you can have both — and if done carefully, black tablecloths combined with white tablecloths can look absolutely amazing.

    There are many ways you can combine the two shades of tablecloth, and each style can communicate its own set of themes. For example,

    • Overlay/underlay is a great idea for a monochrome-style wedding. A white overlay with a black underlay evokes a slightly more traditional look, while black on top is a statement look.
    • Table runners can be a great way to create continuity between the wedding party’s sartorial theme and the decorations.
    • Patterned black and white tablecloth with, say, black damask motifs on a white tablecloth, can look highly sophisticated, elegant and refined.

    There are endless combinations when combining black and white tablecloths. Just remember to consider carefully what matters to you and what kind of stylistic themes you want to put front and centre. Then, go for it.

    The Best Materials for Tablecloths

    Just like the other aspects of your tablecloths to consider, the material you go for will depend on how you want to arrange your decorations and what you’re trying to communicate.

    If plush luxury is the vibe you’re going for, then black tablecloths with a crushed velvet texture can be perfect. If you’re after a more rustic or relaxed look, white tablecloths in a sheer linen weave will do nicely.

    For a gorgeously eye-catching look, you might even consider a black cotton tablecloth with a bunched white taffeta runner. The brilliant gloss of this material as a runner contrasts beautifully with the intense black underlay.

    Whichever style you end up landing on, whether it’s a bold and provocative black and white combo, or something simple, elegant and luxurious, the tablecloths at your wedding are all about you.

    Although it’s just one decision to make among many, if you follow your heart and express yourself, it’s bound to be beautiful.

    ‘Til next month. XX