How To Set Up The Tables At A Wedding Reception

How you setup the tables can make a huge difference to a wedding reception. If you get things right, the reception will be a spectacular event enjoyed by one and all, with everyone having fun. (And no-one getting stressed out!) If you get it wrong though, the guests will be confused, bored and worried (And you might have a heart attack!)

There is one mistake that people make all the time when planning receptions. This mistake often stops conversations before they even get a chance to start. It's easily avoided, but unfortunately I have seen a lot of receptions that were doomed from the get-go because the planners didn't know about this mistake. But before I discuss this crucial information, first I'm going to cover the seating arrangements...

Seating Arrangements

Start with the bride and groom. Place the bride and groom together, with the groom on the left hand-side of the bride. Try and put them in the center of the table, so that they are easily seen by everyone.

From here there are 2 common ways to set up the guests:

The easiest way is to just have the guests arranged: boy & girl around the table.

The other option is to have the Chief Bridesmaid and Best Man to the right-handside of the bride. Then place a bridesmaid and a groomsman to the left of the groom, and then another bridesmaid and groomsman to the right of the bride, and so-on around the table until the entrire bridal partly is accounted for.

Really though, it doesn't matter how the guests are arranged. Arrange them however you think will work. What's more important is to ensure that:

Table Decorations

Another important thing to consider is the table decorations. There is one really imporant rule with table decorations:

Keep any table decorations small and to the center of the tables. Your guests want to be able to talk to each other and not around the centerpiece!

I can't stress this enough! Sure, everyone wants to have nice looking table decorations, but making sure that everyone can talk too each other is much more important!

If you want to have candles then you should try and keep them low. You might like to try candle-float bowls, with a few roses (or any other type of flower head) floating in the bowls. Candle wreaths can look really good, especially when they are placed on a small candle holder.

The centerpiece on the bridal table should be something a little more elaborate than the decorations on the other tables. It should still be along the same theme as the other decorations, but needs to be a bit more fancy to help show the importance of the people at the table. As before, make sure it isn't too big! The guests need to be able to see the bride and groom, and talk to them easily.

Color Themes

When choosing the colors, I advise neutral colors like white, cream or pink, as these will match well with most color themes.

Ideally the bridal table should have a white cloth, offset against a colored table. Why not mix and match colours on the guests tables? This can add fun and makes things look happy and alive. Loosen up a little, and don't be afraid to use some color!

A final tip: Please consider not making the reception too formal. Of all the receptions I have been to, the informal ones have been the best. Trust me, try and relax, and you'll have more fun!