A wedding is imbued with special moments. The wedding ceremony is undoubtedly one of the most touching, but the reception is also an integral part of the wedding day.
If you want to make it unforgettable, pay attention not only to the quality of the gastronomic experience, but also to the choice of the venue and the decoration of the wedding table.
Don’t be afraid to get involved in the organisation
If you have booked a restaurant lounge for your wedding reception, the staff there will probably take care of setting up and decorating the wedding tables (unless you wish to do everything yourself).
However, if the reception is to be held in an old barn, in a private garden, or perhaps on a small deck in the middle of the woods, apart from the catering, you will probably have to do all the organising.
You can also use the services of a wedding coordinator who will prepare a turnkey wedding where you don’t have to take care of anything yourself.
Either way, in any case, don’t be afraid to join the discussion, contribute your opinion and translate your ideas and thoughts. The other side should always take your views and comments into consideration.
How to conceptualize the decoration of the wedding table?
Although the decoration of each wedding is completely original and different from other weddings, there are some things that should definitely not be missed at any of them.
Tablecloths and napkins
Tables should be covered with a suitable cloth tablecloth. Most often a tablecloth in pure white or another light neutral shade is chosen. So-called ‘banquet skirts’, which are tablecloths made of flowing, ruffled material that reaches down to the floor, are also desirable.
There is usually a decorative centre band or table sash, which may be of a more distinctive shade, usually matching the dominant colour of the wedding. This runner is most often made of organza, jute, lace or satin.
The wedding is undoubtedly a festive event, so the napkins should also be rather textile. There are many instructions on how to fold them so that they look very spectacular and tastefully complement the wedding table. Paper napkins with a wedding motif are more suited to a box of favours.
In addition to tablecloths and napkins, placemats can also be part of the wedding table. There are charming heart-shaped pieces and even special paper place settings featuring colouring pages that are sure to humorously enliven any reception while breaking up the formal atmosphere with their playfulness.
Modern boho and rustic weddings rely on natural materials and often leave the wooden tables so they are only decorated with jute sashes, vases and lace.
Necessities for dining
This part does not need much elaboration. A shallow and deep plate, matching cutlery and, last but not least, glasses for water and toast are simply not to be missed.
Sometimes the menu is served directly, but often there are also deep bowls on the table from which the guests can help themselves. Especially on hot summer days, carafes or water jugs come in handy.
Wedding place cards
We’ll talk more about seating arrangements later, but in any case, salt shaker place cards should never be missed. They are the ones that will make it easy for the wedding party to get seated quickly and smoothly, as everyone will find it very easy to know which table is theirs.
It is usually possible to have name tags printed along with the wedding announcement and other printed materials. But the more skilful can of course make them themselves.
Wedding table decoration
The wedding table should be practical and festive. However, it’s the decorations that really give it soul. Vases with live flowers or flower arrangements are usually not missing, romantic tea lights, large wax candles, coloured glass rhinestones, rose petals, candles, mirrors are also popular. Decorative elements also include decorative chair covers and bows.
Don’t forget the seating chart
The seating chart can really mess with a couple’s head. Few places have ideal family relationships where everyone gets on well with each other. Even a single divorced or bickering couple (and it doesn’t matter if it’s parents or friends) can make a mess of the seating chart. Generally, the more guests, the more challenging it will be to seat them at the table in a way that suits everyone involved.
According to wedding etiquette, the bride and groom should sit at the head of the table, with the groom at her right hand. The seats next to them belong to the parents, with the mother of the bride sitting next to the groom and the father of the groom sitting next to the bride. The witnesses are also seated as close to the newlyweds as possible.
It should be noted that it is not always possible to keep this arrangement because of the relationships already mentioned. In such a case, you should follow your instincts rather than etiquette.
Invited couples should be seated next to or opposite each other. If you have single guests at the wedding, do not hesitate to put them at the same table. Also, always try to seat the wedding party so that they have someone they know in their vicinity and are not sitting surrounded by only “strangers”; this makes it easier to achieve a relaxed atmosphere.
There are countless options for table arrangements
In our environment, it is most common to combine individual tables into a single large table. This joined table can be in the shape of an “I”, where it can represent one long “noodle” or there are several of these “I’s” in the hall. A “T” or “U” shape is also popular, so guests are more or less all seated together.
It is also possible to encounter arrangements where the tables are left alone and the wedding guests are thus seated in smaller groups. In this case the tables may be round.
Of course, there are also any combinations of the above variations. It also depends on the particular layout of the venue. Sometimes a uniform arrangement is not feasible. Thus, often one large front table is created, which is intended for the newlyweds and their closest, while the other guests sit at smaller separate tables.
Whatever your arrangement of wedding tables, always make sure above all that everyone has plenty of space around them and can pass freely, for example, to the toilet. Don’t forget a table for the wedding cake and, if necessary, a table for putting away wedding gifts and wedding cards.
Decorations, yes, but in moderation
Given the huge range of wedding decorations on offer, it is not surprising that couples sometimes have difficulty deciding on specific decorative elements and so tend to overdo it with the decorations.
However, the choice itself can be made easier if you remember that tables have a limited surface area and you always still need to leave enough space for plates and cutlery. In general, don’t be afraid to be rather spare when decorating a festive table, this way guests will have more handling space and feel more comfortable when dining.
Choose decorations with the overall character of your wedding in mind. This is the only way to achieve the perfect effect where everything is beautifully coordinated. For example, in the case of a rustic or woodland wedding, favour natural materials (linen tablecloths, jute ribbons, natural wood), while a chateau setting includes cut glass or hand-forged candlesticks.