The reception room table layout will depend upon the shape of the tables your
venue provides and how the tables are best arranged to make the room look
balanced for the number of guests to be seated. Round tables, for example,
give a much more pleasing and spacious look than two or three long tables
that join to the top table.
A typical reception table layout (shown left) will have one long top table
for the bridal party and as many round tables as required for your guests.
A round top table should be avoided if possible because the view of the bride
and groom will be obscured by others on the table and several of the bridal
party will have their backs to the other guests.
A small table placed to one side of the top table is ideal for displaying
the cake in its full glory!
Guest seating arrangements
Your close family and friends should be seated nearest the top table with
relatives and friends sitting further away. If you have round tables, guests
with partners are usually seated side by side. If you choose to have long
partners are usually seated opposite each other. It is customary to alternate
male and female guests. If you decide to split up couples, they should not
be too far away from each other. Children should always be seated with their
You should ensure as much as possible that your guests sit with people that
are known to each other as this will make them feel more comfortable and
good conversation. Although this will not be possible in all cases, at least
try to have similar age groups or guests with similar interests seated
such as aunts and uncles, friends, work collegues etc. Guests may be very
if they are seated with people they do not know. It is particularly important
to bear this point in mind if you have round tables, because the temptation
is to fill up the tables with unconnected guests.
Printed table plans
So that guests can easily find their places, a printed table plan positioned
just inside the reception room will be very helpful. You may also wish to
place a printed seating plan in the pre-reception drinks area. The most
form of table plan is where guests' names are listed alphabetically with
their table number printed alongside their name. An adjacent map showing
the physical table layout with the table numbers marked allows guests to
locate their table quickly.
As an alternative to numbering your tables, why not give each table a name,
particularly if you have a theme running through your wedding. Alternatively,
you might wish to name your tables after people or objects relating to an
or hobby you both share or name each table after a poet and have a love poem
written by the poet left on each table. We have a very good selection of poems
and readingsassociated with love and marriage from which to choose if this
idea appeals to you.
Table place cards
To ensure guests sit at the correct seat, table place cards should be used.
They can either be flat for placing in card holders or fold tent-like to
be free-standing. The style of address for place cards should match the
written on your wedding invitations. If your invitations were written in
the formal, traditional style of, for example, Mr. and Mrs. David Smith,
the place cards should show Mr. David Smith on one card and Mrs. David Smith
on another. Less formal place cards, where the invitation was written in
the style of, say, David and Sarah Smith, should simply have David Smith
written on one card and Sarah Smith on another. As with the names on wedding
invitations, place cards should be hand written.
Specialist wedding stationery companies can provide printed table plans and
table place cards to co-ordinate with your wedding stationery.