Wedding Planning – Seating Chart

June 20, 2009



When planning a lunch or dinner wedding reception and a guest list which exceeds fifty (50) a seating chart is a priority and Exquisite Events has devised some simple rules to live by. 


Specialty seating – the newlyweds sit at the center table which should be the most prominent table in the room.  The best man should be on the Bride’s right the Maid Of Honor should be on the grooms left, the rest of the bridal party may sit as they wish.  Sometimes the bride and groom’s parents sit at the head table.


The bride and groom’s parents can sit with each other or they can host their own table. Divorced parents can host separate tables.  The officiant can be seated at the head table along with his/her spouse if room allows or with either of your parents.  Some smart moves: try to put people with the same things in common together: college chums, work mates; friends, hobbies of interest etc.


Do have a children’s table in you have more than 3 children in attendance.  They will have more fun and so will their parents.  You can place coloring books, puzzles, and other games along with a candy centerpiece on said table thereby keeping the children entertained.


Do put the escort cards (seating assignment) in rows alphabetically.  These should be placed near the entrance to the reception.  Your guests will take these as they arrive so they can be used as favors or menu choices.  We at Exquisite Events have many ways to do this from of course Exquisite to whimsical. 


Don’ts in seating.


1)      Don’t sit all the single guests together.  They will spend the night feeling as if they are misfits or have “single” stamped on their foreheads.  Your wedding reception is not a dating opportunity – although some romances begin at weddings. Seat them with people they know or will have something in common with.

2)      Do not put elderly guests too close to the band, speakers, kitchen or any other location that may be loud or busy.

3)      Don’t seat more than eight (8) guests at a 60 – 62” table or more than ten (10) guests at a 70” table and “NO” not even if it’s a child.

4)      Keep in mind the flow of traffic to get to the buffet, bar, dance floor etc.

Which Wedding Reception is Right for you?

June 20, 2009



The Lunch Wedding Reception

While you may think that having a lunch wedding reception isn’t as fashionable and apropos as dinner, it does provide you with many savings and can be done just as elegantly as the traditional dinner soiree.

The most important thing to keep in mind when planning a lunch wedding reception is timing. It’s imperative that the ceremony be done early enough that the guests are still in their lunch mode and aren’t moving towards “happy hour” or “cocktail hour” mentality. That mentality will bring in heavier drinking and a bigger bar bill. So, try to have your reception start no later than 2 ish. Your invitation timing should make most of your guests aware of the type of fare being served. Just in case, wording can convey that fact quite easily that this is not a four course dinner by stating “light lunch” or “light hors d’oeuvres.”

Lunches can be very intimate and low key. Depending on your motif ….they can be very elegant or very casual. As, always the more elegant you go…the more expense usually involved. However, an intimate, relaxed atmosphere can be created very easily with nice low centerpieces, soft lighting and bright, fresh decorations.

The meal itself should be filling but not as heavy as dinner. If you stay true to a normal lunch menu you will be fine. Consider limiting the types of drinks served and create a menu of signature drinks. Maybe naming one after the bride and the groom or find out the favorites of some of the other important members of the bridal party such as best man and maid of honor or parents of the bride and groom and having them each come up with a signature drink and name. Another alternative is to serve typical brunch/lunch type drinks such as sangria and mimosas for alcoholic drinks and raspberry teas and lemonades for non.

With a lunch reception, you may not need or desire a full band or DJ. Think about an acoustic guitarist or duet. You could still do your signature dance with your groom while creating a low key, elegant, intimate ambience. Maybe a piano player who can do requests…..outdoor parties can do a steel drum band….or a sketch artist to do simple portraits of the guests which doubles as a keepsake. 

The Dessert Wedding Reception

What decadence! A reception built around everyone’s favorite course …dessert!! Of course, this means your wedding reception will have a later start…..maybe 8 pm after traditional dinner hours are done, but still can contain all the essential elements of a first class reception. The timing should convey that fact that it’s after dinner time but you can be very clear on your invitations stating “Dessert reception to follow” or Join us for desserts at our reception….”

What to serve…?? Well, that’s taken care of isn’t it! Your only major decisions will be how many fabulous choices you want to offer your guests. Though you may want to downsize the portions to bite size ! Of course, you will still want to serve your wedding cake but here again, go with smaller portions since your guests will be filling up on lots of sugar. Another idea, would be to include a cheese and fruit tray for those who may be watching their weight, have health issues such as diebetes and may not like sweet items in general. It’s always a good ideal to offer something to balance out the menu. Drinks could include champagne, Mimosas, sangrias and dessert liquers, wines and cordials. No reception is complete without coffee…maybe even with flavored shots to add to them.

There are several ways to lay out a room for this type of wedding reception but the most efficient is buffet stations. If it is a smaller wedding one long table will work out perfectly fine and be lovely. However, if you are expecting quite a few guests, setting up stations around the room encourages everyone to wander around a bit. Some people will want to sit but it’s not necessary to have seating for all. Cocktail tables are fine, small, intimate groupings of tables and chairs scattered around will create a cozy, intimate setting.

To keep your guests entertained, depending on the length of your reception`, music should be incorporated….be it background music, harpist, acoustic guitarist or if the reception is longer …a DJ, soloist or small band.

Wedding Receptions – more choices…

June 20, 2009

The Cocktail Wedding Reception


A Cocktail Wedding Reception can be a lot of fun but has to be planned especially carefully as the timing is crucial.   This type of reception is usually done in the late afternoon before dinner…happy hour time.  Though it’s my personal opinion that it could also be done late in the evening 8 ish if so desired.    Basically, before or after dinner hours or your guests will be hungry and come expecting to be fed.  Your invite should state very clearly that this is not a dinner. “ Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres will be served at our reception.  Please join us” should work fine.


As in any cocktail party, hors d’oeuvres and cocktails should be served!  The usual fare of hors d’oeuvres is fine.  Follow the etiquette rules of about 10 pieces per person and you should be fine.  To keep the open bar from reaching sky high costs try limiting it to beer, wine and maybe a few specific drinks.


As with the Dessert Wedding Reception, seating for everyone is not required.  Create a fun, cozy atmosphere by setting up seating areas that make it easy for people to mix and mingle.  Meanwhile, a singer or duet…whatever you choose can be entertaining in the background. 



The Brunch Wedding Reception


Brunch is not only for Sundays anymore.  It’s easy to incorporate a late morning wedding with a brunch reception.  Everyone loves brunch! Who doesn’t like to eat breakfast all day!  And it provides your guests and you with many choices to create a varied menu.  As always, a clearly stated message in your invite should answer all your guests questions as to what to expect.  “Please join us for brunch immediately following the ceremony” is all your guests will need to plan accordingly.


Again, any kind of background music will suffice if you don’t want to have a band or live music of any sort.  Though a small musical grouping will allow you to have all the traditional dances if you so desire.


With a brunch you should have seating for all as your meals can be a little heavier than some with breakfast fare.  Though you may decorate in a light and easy manner in accordance with the early hour.  Simple flower centerpieces or small arrangements will add a nice touch.


Brunch drinks are fairly standard and include mimosas, champagne, sangrias and wine.  Of course, you may want to provide beer as well.  Coffee and tea should be available throughout.


As with all weddings and receptions, this is your day.  Whatever you plan will be fine if you balance your wishes and your guests’ needs.  Above all else…have fun, your wedding day will be a memorial event for all!