Using plastic table covers for indoor wedding decor

Hi I am planning a reception for about 60-70 people and am planning to have something between a very light lunch and a desert reception. I am thinking that I will have about 10-12 round tables and trying to figure out if plastic table cloths or cloth ones would be better. Also if paper plates and plastic silverware (saw the other post about the silverware but did not know exactly how informal it would be) would be ok with this type of reception. We are not having a formal reception but it will be indoors and I don’t want it to look tacky. The decor is going to be mostly a seashell theme – I probably won’t be using very many flowers at the reception. Mostly hurricane vases with seashells and candles. I have checked somewhat into renting these items (linens, etc) but am really trying to watch the cost. Thank you so much!!

Darlene Taylor, PBC

First question you might want to ask yourself is how do you want your reception to look? Next ask yourself how you want your guests to feel at your reception? Will having plastic tablecloths, paper plates and plastic silverware fit into the overall look and feel you envision? Sounds to me like look is important to you since you mentioned that you don’t want it to look “tacky.” What does tacky look like to you?

You could certainly compromise a little – maybe use the tablecloths that are more “cloth-looking” (paper tablecloths lined with plastic underneath) and add a cloth runner on the top of the table down the middle that would compliment your colors and decorate it with sea shells and candles. There are plastic plates and silverware that look “real” but are actually a hard plastic. You can find those at most places that sell party supplies. These things will give you are more polished look – sophisticated look – on a budget. If you can swing it, since you’re having 10 tables, rent a basic linen tablecloth and use the “real-looking” plates and silverware instead of plastic.

Emmanuela Stanislaus, Precious Occasions, Wedding and Event Planner

I agree that you should think about the overall vision and feel that you want to create for your reception. If tacky is what you don’t want it to be, yes you need to define what tacky means to you. Everyone’s definition is different. If you are thinking of using plastic tablecloths, it may not provide the laid back wedding reception that you want but may give off a feel of a party. I would recommend ordering simple cotton blend table linens which can be inexpensive (between $6-$10) per table in solid colors that coordinate with your wedding colors. Also, I agree with going with the upgraded plastic ware that look like real plates.


That is very helpful – thank you to both of you!

Seyi Olusanya, Creative Director at Cedar Events


I think plastic table covers are more suited for informal outdoor gatherings and may not quite set the right tone for your wedding.

I think going for at least the basic cotton linen will give you the right look and feel without it being too expensive.

As previosly mentioned there some lovely tableware out there that look like the real thing and are relatively inexpensive.

Donna, Wedding Queen, President; Top Wedding Sites, Inc

Rebeccah May mentioned on Facebook that plastic isn’t environmentally friendly. So, if you’re environmentally conscious you’ll want to consider using the real thing.