Diplomatic Table Planning

Your wedding day is around the corner, you’ve had all of the RSVPs back, and hopefully you’re looking forward to an amazing celebration at Rockbeare Manor in Devon. You are naturally going to be very excited about what your wedding day has in store for you, your beloved, and your friends and families. There is just one small challenge to overcome – the table plan!

At Rockbeare Manor, our very special wedding venue in Devon, we see all the time how families come together for a wedding, but we also know how tricky it can be for the happy couple to ensure that nobody is offended when it comes to the table plan. After all, if your parents are divorced and haven’t spoken in some time, or if a parent or close relative is no longer with you, it can be challenging to manage the seating plan and to keep everybody happy.

Our experienced events team are full of ideas and help, and so read on to hear what our top suggestions would be when putting together your wedding table plan.

Ask those closest to you to ‘head up’ a table

This works especially well in circumstances where you may not be asking parents, the Best Man or Chief Bridesmaid to join you on the top table. Some couples choose to have a ‘sweetheart table’ for just the two of them, and if that is the case you could ask those closest to you to each host a table. Perhaps you have separated, or step-parents, or a mum or dad who don’t get on. You quite understandably wouldn’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable on the day and so don’t feel that you have to conform to a ‘traditional’ top table of 8 (which would include the Bride, Groom, both sets of parents, Best Man and Chief Bridesmaid).   

If you did ask some of your nearest and dearest to host a table you could then get them involved by asking them who they’d like on their table which is a great way of making them feel an important part of the day.   

Table shape and configuration

The Ballroom at Rockbeare Manor is a really versatile, light and airy space, with a neutral colour pallet so you really can choose any style or wedding theme. It is also spacious, and so you have the flexibility to consider round tables of between 7 and 12 guests, meaning you can group guests together according to friendship/family groups. The total number of guests that you have will have some bearing on how many smaller/larger tables that you have space for, but any one of the friendly events team at Rockbeare Manor will be able to advise you on this. Another option is not to use round tables at all.  A banquet style set up, which involves one or two long rectangular tables, can have a real impact and avoids the need for a top table at all.   

Have a top table that includes all of your closest friends

A top table comes in many guises! At Rockbeare Manor we have a number of options – long and straight, oval, sweetheart as mentioned above, or a large circular table. For couples that are planning a fun and informal wedding, a table that includes their close friends, bridesmaids, ushers and siblings can make the day feel even more personal. Friends are often so involved in the pre wedding preparations, and enjoying your wedding breakfast with them will no doubt make it memorable. Don’t forget to let your parents know that this is what you’re planning beforehand!

Mix it up a bit!

A wedding is all about families and friends coming together and having a great time. During the drinks reception people will have chance to settle in, catch up and relax in the wonderful surroundings, but for the wedding breakfast why not seat guests in more varied groups? It is always nice to make sure that each guest knows at least a couple of people on the table so that they feel at ease, but it’s also great meeting new people too. Think about which of your guests may have common interests or mutual friends and go from there.  Our Barouche menu is a brilliant icebreaker. All the food comes delivered to the table as a feast on wooden boards, which all of your guests can pass around. It’s interactive, and a definite talking point!

Don’t specify who should sit next to who

If it’s proving tricky to establish who should sit next to who on each table, don’t worry! You could save yourself time and effort by leaving it to your guests to decide. You would still need to prepare a table plan which indicates which table each guest needs to go to, but you won’t need to have place cards made up to put on each setting.

Whilst it can be tempting not to have a table plan at all, it can be useful to ensure that we know where anyone who has a particular dietary requirement is seated. You may also have some guests attending the wedding that you know would feel more comfortable if seated with people they know.

Above all, the most important thing to remember about all of this, is that it’s your day and that people are there for you. They all want to be there, and they all want to help you to celebrate!

We’d love to help you to plan your wedding at Rockbeare Manor. If you would like to discuss your special day, call Kate or Stephanie on 01392 797444.

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