Reception Seating Arrangements

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Table layouts

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.

SeatingArrangements1A 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 other 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 tables, 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 parents.

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 facilitate 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 together such as aunts and uncles, friends, work collegues etc. Guests may be very uncomfortable 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 efficient 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. You can download free templates for your table plan from the Confetti Print Centre.

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 interest 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. If you are using table numbers you can buy preprinted cards and table number stands. To print your own table numbers or customised table names use imprintable blank cards with your home printer and free templates from the Confetti Print Centre.

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 style 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.

Check out the range of personalised stationery , available direct from

The bridal party entrance
Once your guests have passed along your receiving line, they will move into the reception room and make their way to their tables. If you have engaged a master of ceremonies, your entrance will be announced and your guests asked to stand. The bridal party then enters the room to take their places at the top table (even if you are only having a buffet meal, it is usual to have a top table reserved for the bridal party). The bridal party is led by the bride and groom walking side by side, followed by the bride’s father with the groom’s mother; the bride’s mother with the groom’s father and the best man with the chief bridesmaid. Your guests are seated once the bridal party are seated.

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