How to Set Up a Wedding Reception Table
WhatToGetMy Instructional Article
“Aside from being happy for the newly wedded couple, the joy of most guests is on the reception table”.
Table setting for wedding receptions is more than what you put on the table to make it lively. Before you get to the point of asking yourself what to put on a wedding reception table, you should have a picture of the table arrangement for the wedding reception and what tables are needed at a wedding reception. This article has been divided into the following subheading;
- What you should know before making table arrangements for a wedding reception.
- Table layout for wedding reception
- What tables are needed at a wedding reception?
- What to put on a wedding reception table.
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What to know before making table arrangements for a wedding reception
Table of Contents
In most cases, if you’ve been given the task to set up wedding reception tables, you’ve also been given the task to determine table placement.
Imagine that a wedding reception program has many dance slots, but the table arrangement does not accommodate them. What do you think will happen in the hall when it’s time to dance? The whole place will be chaotic, reducing the program’s satisfaction.
We cannot begin to emphasize the importance of table placement for wedding receptions. It is the first thing you need to consider if you wish to ace your task. Here are two things you should know and do if you want to get the table placements right;
1. The size of space versus the number of guests present.
Before you start hiring tables and chairs and ordering decors, you need to know how big or small the reception area is. The space dictates the type of table that befits the reception and their placement.
You want to avoid a situation where movements will be restricted because you’ve used the wrong size and shape of tables for the setup.
Knowing the exact size of the reception space should help you persuade your clients to change venues if need be and also help you decide on the materials you should work with. It is important to take space measurements.
2. Make a floor plan early enough.
When you make a floor plan for the reception area, you reduce your chances of making mistakes drastically because;
- It allows you to communicate ideas with clients clearly.
- It allows you and your client to make early adjustments before making material provisions.
- It will help you create the perfect sitting synergy for the wedding reception.
- It can help the wedding team to work efficiently.
Table layout for wedding reception
Drawing up the best table layout for a wedding reception is not entirely easy. The goal is not to fit many tables into the reception table but instead to organize and decorate them in a way that rhymes perfectly with every other thing at the reception area.
There are several things that determine wedding tablescapes for receptions aside from the available space and number of guests. You have to consider;
- The program activities for the wedding reception
- Movement of people at the wedding reception
- Visibility of activities for guests
- The position of other crucial items and decorations for the wedding reception.
There are 3 common table layout ideas for wedding reception
1. Round table layout for wedding reception
This is a popular table layout for most wedding receptions. The round table layout allows for more visibility, movement, and interaction between guests. It also allows for many decorating options. However, this layout can consume space when the wrong size of table is used. A decorator must be sure of the size of round tables to use. Round tables come in various sizes that allow for 4-10 guests per table.
2. Rectangular table layout for wedding reception
The rectangular table layout is often known as the banquet table layout. It is ideal for less formal events like hangouts, book club meetings, family cookouts, etcetera. They are more suited for outdoor or semi-outdoor events. They allow for more guests than round tables.
3. Mixed table layout for wedding receptions
A mixed table layout combines a round and long table layout. There are several reasons for using a combined table layout plan. It could be for aesthetic purposes or for proper space management. A mixed table layout for a wedding reception can hold more guests than other table arrangements.
What tables are needed at a wedding reception
When setting up wedding reception tables, first identify the number and type of tables needed at the reception hall. Below is a list of tables that you should plan for;
1. High table or Head table.
This table is designated for the newlyweds, their parents, the maid of honor, and the best man. Some head tables accommodate many family members; however, this is not the norm. Usually, special provisions are made for other family members when designing a floor plan for how to set up a wedding reception table. You can use a wedding reception rectangle table layout to distinguish family from guests. Don’t forget that the head table always has to face the guests.
2. Guest table
The second set of tables you need is the guest tables. The number of guests should give you an idea of the number of tables you should use in this section. The size of the reception area determines the type and size of tables to use when setting up a wedding reception place. A round table set up for a wedding reception is perfect if the space is sufficient for the number of people attending the wedding reception.
You can use two or three shapes of tables to distinguish the sitting position of people attending the wedding reception. It is a great idea to section your guest tables into hierarchies. It’s not advisable to lump the newlyweds family, elite guests, and children together with the rest of the attendees.
If you are wondering who sits where at a wedding reception, our senior article should guide you through the arrangement of guests.
3. Cake table
The wedding cake is usually the centerpiece for most wedding receptions. Therefore you need to get the right tables to put the cake in the spotlight. Consider the size of the cake when choosing a wedding reception cake table.
4. Gift table
If the wedding party allows guests to bring gifts, you’ll need gift tables. The number of guests attending the reception should give you an idea of the table size to use. Square tables are the best wedding reception gift table. The gift table does not need many decorations because the colorful gift wrappings will give it its beauty.
5. Memory book or sign-in table
If your client will be providing a memory book for guests to write down their best wishes, it is crucial to provide a wedding reception entrance table. Secondly, if your client insists that attendance is strictly by invitation, you might need to provide a table for guests to sign against their names. The table placement for this activity is usually close to the entrance door.
6. Food table
You should consider getting long tables for the wedding reception buffet set up. Round tables can only take a limited number of dish wares, unlike long rectangular tables. Here is a list of what to serve at a wedding reception if you are lost for ideas.
7. Beverage table
You can use tables to section the wedding reception beverages into alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Round or square tables are perfect for displaying beverages. Taller tables should be provided for bartenders.
8. Technical table
Some of the program appliances will need tables, for example, the DJ’s mixers. Square and rectangular tables are great for positioning appliances.
9. Party favor table
Providing a separate table for party favors depends on your client. Some clients prefer to place party favors on guest tables so that they can pick them up as soon as they get to their seats. A few other clients prefer party favors to be placed on separate tables. Long rectangular tables are suitable for organizing party favors.
What to put on a wedding reception table
How you set up a wedding reception table can boost the ambiance of the reception space, affect people’s moods, and rub off positively or negatively on your clients. Before you move on to decorate the wedding reception tables, below is a list of things to put on wedding reception tables.
1. Dishware, glasses, and cutleries.
Usually, event centers should provide some of the materials you will need to set up tables for wedding reception, including ceramic dishware and cutleries. However, if they don’t offer this, you will need to make provisions for 2-4 types of dishwares for each guest, different glasses for beverages, and 4-8 types of cutleries for each guest.
Flowers are among the best decors for setting up tables for wedding receptions. It’s nearly impossible to leave out flowers, and therefore you will need vases too.
Paper and cloth napkins are a vital part of the table set up for wedding receptions. Cloth napkins are needed for table decor and organization, and paper napkins for meals.
4. Table and chair clothes
Some outdoor table settings for wedding receptions do not need tablecloths or chair clothes. This type of setup depends on the decorators’ creativity, the environment, and the color theme for the wedding reception. However, most table set up for wedding receptions need tablecloths.
Ribbons are decor ‘boosters.’ They give decorations an extra glow. They come in different sizes and enhance the presentations of tables, clothes, menus, cutleries, flower vases, flowers, and souvenirs.
6. Scented candles
If the event will be held in the evening or in a poorly lit enviroment, you might want to make provisions for candles and jars.
Little souvenirs can be placed on wedding reception tables for guests to take as soon as they get seated. Above a specific size, souvenirs have a separate table close to the reception hall exit.
8. Fillers or extras
Fillers are items that can be used to enrich wedding reception tables. Without them, your table can still look good. For example, glow sticks, beads, freshwater stones, pins, candies, etcetera.
1. How to set up a wedding reception buffet table
- The arrangement of food on a wedding reception table should follow an order. Snacks should not be found in-between meals or meat (example). Guests should be able to see patterns that guide them through their food selection.
- Desserts tables should be a few centimeters away from the main dish table
- Plates should be placed at the beginning of the buffet table or before the buffet table.
- Cutleries and paper napkins should be placed at the end of the buffet table.
2. How to arrange tables for a wedding reception
- The newlyweds and their parents should always face guests.
- The wedding reception cake should not be far from the newlyweds and their families.
- Pay attention to the wedding reception program to determine the amount of space needed for dance and other activities.
- Use different types of tables when setting up the guest section if
- The number of guests is much, and the available space is small.
- Round tables reduce the visibility of activities for guests.
Setting up a wedding reception table is a fulfilling task, but you need to know how to go about it. Find out how much space that is available for the setup, decide what tables are required for the wedding reception, and lastly, identify the main items that need to be on the table.
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