So here's the dilemma: you want the grandeur of tall centerpieces, but you want the ability to see the people you're talking to across the table. TRAGIC PROBLEM. BUT TOTALLY SOLVED!
Like all the experts out there say, YOU CAN DO BOTH! The trick, however, is that you want to ensure that the tall centerpieces are taller than eye sight. Also, if you have smaller centerpieces, those too, need to be lower than eye sight. No matter what is on the table--high or low--the items need to be out of eye sight.
Typically, this is 8-10 inches or lower for small arrangements OR above 22-24 inches for taller arrangements. Don't pay big money and allow your floral designer to create something that is bulky in the 12-20 inch range--that's a problem!