There’s a certain etiquette that comes along with creating a seating plan for your wedding.
But on the other hand, some rules are made to be broken.
Do you really need a top table?
For previous generations, a wedding reception always equalled a top table. A main table with the bride and groom sitting at the centre, with parents, grandparents, best men, bridesmaids and whoever sitting alongside.
But we’re wondering if it’s a bit of an outdated concept. For a start, you might feel a bit stiff and formal sitting up there – and once you leave the table to go and chat with your friends, you’re going to leave a gap. You might also feel a bit like you’re in a goldfish bowl.
What we’re liking is the idea of a separate bride and groom table, just for the two of you. This idea has several advantages:
- You get to spend a bit of time together, just the two of you without interruptions, to discuss how the wedding day is going so far and how you’re feeling. Stopping and being together is something that all too often is in short supply on your wedding day. Having your own private table lets the two of you just ‘be’ for a while. It can also be beautifully decorated in a way that’s special to you – which is something one of our talented stylists can advise you on.
- If you want to leave the table to go and mingle with your other guests, then you don’t leave anybody behind with nobody sitting beside them. The two of you can just up and go and greet long-lost friends.
- Modern families being what they are, you may avoid a bit of an atmosphere by not having a top table. If there has been a remarriage, it’s traditional for your parents to sit together, even though they may now be with other partners. And you may be concerned about how they’re going to get on – a stress you really don’t need on your wedding day. Instead, why not let your parents sit together – or separately if that’s what they’d prefer – on a table with their friends.
- The best man, chief bridesmaids and other attendants of the bride and groom will probably have a much better time sitting away on their own table. They won’t be stuck out on a limb – they can sit with their partner if they want, and if they’re single you can indulge in a bit of match-making!
- Which brings us to another point. It’s a really good idea to have a singles table at your wedding, rather than putting your single friends on a table with marrieds which isn’t really much fun for them when you come to think about it. Try to match single friends up by generation (and that inclues the oldies too!) and see what happens.
- In addition, if you’re having friends with children, then it’s also a good idea to put parents with young children on the same table as one another. Parents with babies can chat and talk to one another and unite with tales of sleepless nights, weaning and whatever – oh, and make sure the table is fairly near the exit in case they want to take out a noisy toddler during the speeches!
- Have separate tables for children – for the over twos, for ages between eight and 12 and for teenagers. Don’t try and get teenagers to babysit the little ones by putting them on the same table. For young children, think creatively about wedding favours – maybe colouring books, Lego toys … this is something one of our venue stylists would have some ideas about so that you can keep young children occupied during the speeches.
- One final table you should have is for wedding gifts. A special wedding postbox is very useful for cards (which may contain cheques and money) and many guests may bring wrapped gifts to the reception – so a wedding table is somewhere for them to put them (and also forms part of the décor at your reception).
Decorating your wedding tables the right way with props, favours, name cards and flowers is part of giving your wedding reception the wow factor you’re looking for – and this is somewhere our experienced wedding stylists really come into their own.
They’ll be able to advise you on table coverings, sashes and chair covers so that the whole reception is beautifully themed. And they’ll also have some creative favour ideas for you to think about – which can be adapted to suit different generations.
There’ll be an Ambience venue stylist near you – so why not give them a call for a free, no obligation chat?