Designer Rachel McCann offers expert advice on how to dress up your wedding top table


You’ve spent hours meticulously planning your bridal look, trying out key beautifying regimes to have you sparkling as you walk down the aisle and endlessly researching the best wedding photographers and bands for your big day. But when it comes to decorating the venue, the task is often left to the catering staff.

Kim Willoughby caught up with Harvey Norman lead designer Rachel McCann to check out her new range of quirky table wedding decorations and accessories and how to use them to add some wow factor to your top table.

From bunting to candles, confetti to place cards – the Top Table range is now available in Harvey Norman Stores nationwide.

What are the latest decorating trends for dressing your wedding top table?

It’s all about vintage: hand crafted, worn and torn, the more rustic and beaten the better! Birdcages, butterflies and lanterns are just huge this year! Muted pastel and vintage shades including oyster and vintage rose pink are the most popular colour choices.

Would you recommend conducting a dress rehearsal for your top table?

Definitely I would trial a few things at home and then trial if possible at the venue too. This will help you decide how many accessories you actually need.

Is there an alternative to displaying fresh flowers?

Actually all the brides I have consulted lately have chosen the artificial route for the tables. There are lots of reasons, but one is that our roses have wire woven through their stem making them so easy to work with. It’s a big look to wrap flowers especially vintage roses into birdcages and around candelabras.

What tips can you offer on creating a centre piece?

What I love about modern day weddings is they are breaking all the rules, just a bunch of flowers in the centre will no longer do. It’s all about quirky, unique on trend designs. We are selling a lot of hanging willow wreaths, oversized birdcages, picture frames, chalk boards and even more chalk boards! Whether for messages, table numbers or cute notes. Candles are always huge no matter what look you choose!

How can you prevent overloading your top table with decorations to avoid clutter?

Start from the centre and work out, once your guests can reach their glasses and plates comfortably then you can put as much or as little as you like. With centre pieces be aware of being able to see through them, after all you want to see who you’re sitting opposite!

Table confetti is pretty popular, what is the best way to incorporate into your overall decoration scheme?

It really is. Our butterfly musical notes confetti is really beautiful, you literally finish off your table displays then just shake!! They fall where they fall; they have no colour so they don’t add any fuss, just a fullness and class that only musical notes can bring!

What about brave brides dining alfresco on their big day?

I would have lanterns absolutely everywhere! During the day they add a lovely elegance (add fresh floral or coastal scented candles for extra ambiance) but it’s when the light starts to fade that’s when you see their true worth, nothing is more romantic than candle light.Outside I’d add lots of foliage and fresh flowers; if it’s by the beach I’d use nautical elements. Where possible keep the look within its environment.

Have you advice for weddings abroad, when it comes to decorations and transporting?

We have lots of brides getting married abroad. It seems to be hassle free. Transportation depends on what your shipping. If it’s lanterns and bigger items then I suggest you put it all on a pallet. Label it “fragile” so your courier knows to handle it with care. DHL and lots of other companies do this every day so don’t stress, it’s their job! Ask in store for more details if unsure.

Would you recommend accounting for extra decorations just in case?

Well most people are giving their displays as gifts to guests. It’s a lovely touch and who doesn’t love lanterns, candles and birdcages. So, if you overstock, I’m sure there will be a queue to take it off your hands! But if it was me I’d overestimate as what’s the point in going to all that effort and looking back and thinking I just didn’t quite get the effect I wanted!

From bunting to candles, confetti to place cards – the Top Table range is now available in Harvey Norman Stores nationwide.

In Short: Get some tips from Harvey Norman lead designer Rachel McCann so that your wedding venue can look as thoroughly planned out as the rest of your day.

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