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Table Talk

Expert tips on how to give your reception tables the personal touch

The reception tables are your main source of colour and decoration and the overall effect you want to achieve is well co-ordinated and easy on the eye, with one of two unexpected touches that will delight your guests.


Traditionally, each table will be dressed using the same linens, cutlery and glasses. Each place setting will be marked with a name card and if you are providing them, a favour for each guest. It is usual to give each guest a printed menu or, on smaller tables, to have one menu in the centre listing the details of the food and the accompanying wines.


Each table will probably have some kind of centrepiece, either a flower arrangement or at more formal weddings, silver candelabra. Centrepieces should either be kept low so guests can talk over them, or be high enough that conversation can still flow underneath them. What you don’t want to do is block one side of the table from talking to the other because of a centrepiece, however pretty! At a large wedding with a lot of tables, it is a nice idea to vary the centrepieces alternating the use of low and tall arrangements on each table.


If you are using rectangular tables with guests sitting on either side, line the centre with a row of floral arrangements, usually one to every four or six guests will be enough. If you are on a limited budget, fill the spaces between the centrepieces with rows of tea lights so that all your guests feel their place is special.


The top table seating the main bridal party often has slightly different and more lavish floral arrangements since this table will be the focus of everyone’s attention. Any arrangements will need to be kept low to prevent blocking guests from seeing the bride and groom and anyone who is going to make a speech. It is a nice idea to decorate the front of the top table with a floral garland tied with ribbon to match the colour theme of the day.


Alternative centrepieces suggestions

Get creative and stretch your table dressing budget.


Name your tables

Rather than numbering your tables, personalise each one and give it a name ...

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