What Should You Have on a Wedding Table?

When your ceremony’s over, it’s time to relax at the reception. But you still want your reception to look a certain way, with decorations and a colour scheme. Part of the equation is what goes on a wedding table.
What should you have on a wedding table? You’ll need place cards for each guest, and a table number/table name (plus a seating plan elsewhere to direct guests to tables). The restaurant will arrange the tables and chairs, cutlery, plates and tablecloths; you must organise napkins of the right colour, centerpieces, place cards and decorations like confetti.
Before planning your reception, talk to the venue. They’ll tell you exactly what they can organise, and what you’ll have to do. Napkins are a good example: sometimes the restaurant will arrange these, sometimes they won’t. That just leaves everything else!
Organising Your Wedding Table
When you’re planning your wedding reception, there are some things that the restaurant will take care of, and some things you should take care of. Of course, things like the table itself, the chairs, the plates and tablecloths will all be organised and set up by the restaurant itself. Other necessities include:
• Wine glasses and champagne flutes
• Cutlery that’s commensurate to the menu you’ve organised, i.e. soup spoons and steak knives
• Plates and bowls
You don’t have to worry about these things, although if you want things a certain way, confirm with the restaurant to be sure. For example, the restaurant may not as a rule use tablecloths, but may if you ask them to.
Other things may be either the responsibility of the restaurant or the party. Things like table numbers, menus, napkins and decorations may be your responsibility. So, again, talk to the venue and find out clearly what’s your job and what isn’t. You may have to organise all of the following…
Table Number/Table Name Plus Table Plan
There’s no point laying the table perfectly, if nobody knows which table they’re supposed to sit at. That’s why you have to have a table plan. This is like a large diagram, upon which you either have a diagram showing the location of each table, or lists of the guests at each table.
Strictly speaking, this table plan isn’t on the tables themselves. But to go along with the table plan, you need table numbers and table names. These should be on the tables. The table name or number can be presented in a decorative way, e.g. engraved on a small piece of wood, or as a folded card.
The restaurant may already have table numbers, as many do. But these numbers may br engraved onto the wood of the table surface, in which case it would be covered by the tablecloth. Talk to the restaurant to figure out whether that’s the case or not.
Place Cards
The next thing you’ll need on a wedding table is a place card for each guest. Place cards are an essential piece of wedding stationery: they are tiny cards, around the size of business cards, which are placed in front of each seat.
Each place card has a guest’s name on it. The point is so that everybody knows where they’re sitting. Otherwise, all the time you put into figuring out your seating plan will have been for nothing! Given that a seating plan is normally very well thought through–keeping people with grudges apart, and putting together friends, but in a way that nobody is left out–it’s vital to keep that plan in place.
Place cards are just as important for the top table/head table too. If you want your reception to go off without a hitch, you don’t want people rearranging where they’re sitting, not least on your table! Place cards stop that from happening.
Do You Need Menus on a Wedding Table?
Whether you need menus at the table depends how thoroughly the reception has been planned. You may have already asked each guest what they’re planning on having for their meal. If that’s the case, you won’t need a menu because everybody has already ordered their food in advance.
But if they haven’t, then you will need a menu. If you’re holding your wedding at a regular restaurant without planning anything special, then the restaurant will provide its normal menus. Think about your plan and talk with the restaurant if that’s what you want.
If you’re having your own special menu, then you will need menus at the table. You can have these printed off yourself, in whatever colour and with whatever font you choose. You can therefore make the menus match the rest of your wedding and reception.
Online wedding stationery stores stock many different designs so that you can personalise your wedding reception; everything from rustic to flowery or modern designs are available.
Napkins for a Wedding Table
Each guest needs a napkin. If they’re the polite kind, the napkin will go in their lap. Or, if they’re a regular Joe, they’ll use the napkin to clean their hands or wipe their mouths. Whatever it’s for, a napkin is necessary.
In terms of placements, it can go where the plate goes, or in the glass. Or, it can be tastefully presented wrapped around the cutlery. Wherever it is, it’s essential to have one for every place at the table. The napkin can either be cloth or paper, depending on your budget.
The restaurant may offer napkins, but they may not go with your colour scheme. You can order your own if you need them to be the perfect shade. There are plenty of places to buy paper napkins, or you could buy or rent your own for the big day if you want.
Decorating Your Wedding Table
So, your table is organised perfectly. Everyone knows where to sit; but you know full well that’s not all you need for a wedding table! You need to decorate it, too. This is normally your job. The restaurant can help, although again, they may not get things precisely right. So, if you need everything to be ‘Just So’, then it’s best to decorate the venue for yourself.
Centrepiece for a Wedding Table
A decorated wedding table needs a centrepiece. The centrepiece is a decoration, often flowers or something similar, that sits in the centre of the table. It doesn’t serve a purpose other than to look pretty.
Because the centrepiece is usually flowers of some kind, it’s easy to match the centrepiece to the rest of the decorations at your ceremony or reception. So, if red is an accent colour at your wedding, then you could pick roses. Easy!
You could opt to only have a centrepiece on the head table (although as it’s normally long, more than one centrepiece may be required). But normally, there are centrepieces on every table. They work best on round tables, because they are supposed to sit right in the middle of the table where everyone can see them.
Confetti/Glitter
Then, you have to think about making the rest of the table look pretty. That’s why so many wedding parties decorate the table with confetti, glitter or something similar.
The decoration can be of the same colour as the rest of your decorations, whatever that colour might be. You can pick up confetti/glitter for cheap from High Street craft shops, although it may not be precisely the right shade. To ensure that it is, it’s best to buy these decorations from the same store that you buy everything else, e.g. your place cards and napkins.
Talk with the restaurant before you put glitter or confetti on a table. Confetti isn’t so bad, but glitter is a nightmare to clean up, so the restaurant might prefer you not to use any.
Anything Else?
There’s lots more you can put on a wedding table, but you don’t strictly need to. Party favours are the best example: not necessary, but make the dining experience that little bit nicer. You can offer anything from sweets to succulents and tiny gift boxes. Like all things, these can be personalised, usually with a little tag saying something like ‘Thank you for witnessing our special day! From, Steve and Sheila.’
Other ideas include:
• Personalised shot glasses
• Seed bombs
• Personalised bubble bottles
• Jigsaw pieces
• Bottles of wine with specially printed personalised labels
You can give whatever you like… Just make sure there’s room for it on the table! For more inspiration, why not take a look at the Bride & Groom Direct online store? We’ve got everything you can think of and more, and lots of inspiration for your perfect wedding reception.