Seating arrangements are very important for a Chinese wedding banquet. They portray respect for Chinese culture, etiquette and traditions.
Chinese wedding banquets are often a lavish affair marked with opulence and class. They are a celebration of two families coming together.
Traditionally, the seating was arranged according to one’s social status. People were divided into a four-tier social structure:
- The imperial court
- Local authorities
- Trade associations
- Farmers and workers
Master of the banquet. The master of the banquet is also known as the host or guest of honour. He is allocated a seat of honour at the wedding banquet.
The seat is placed either facing the door or at the centre of the banquet room, facing the east.
Guests. The seating of guests is arranged according to their status and their relationship with the master of the banquet.
Guests of higher position sit closer to the master of the banquet and those with lower status sit further from the master of the banquet and closer to the door.
3 Tips to Consider When Planning Seating Arrangements
Tip 1: Include Some Chinese Customs
When setting the banquet room, factor in feng shui. This is the art of organising space and objects to achieve balance and harmony.
The assumption of feng shui is that the world is driven by unseen forces or energy. When they flow freely, it creates harmony between individuals and their environment.
Choose a room that has a lot of windows which allow light to enter. In feng shui, a ceremony that has plenty of light is fortuitous because you want to have a bright future ahead of you.
Your colour scheme at the wedding banquet is also important. It sets the mood of the wedding. Choose tablecloths and napkins that blend with your colour scheme.
Some popular colours and their feng shui meanings include:
- Black and White - These colours are considered a perfect combination for creating a positive feng shui. They represent a strong and balanced relationship.
- Pink - This colour is suitable for young couples. It exudes a sense of fun.
- Red - This is often a traditional Chinese wedding colour. It creates an atmosphere of love and romance.
- Purple - This colour is ideal for intimate weddings with close friends and family. It exudes passion.
Yellow - This is a sunny colour and depicts cheerfulness.
- Orange - It is a great choice of colour for couples with many guests. It portrays warmth.
- Blues and Greens - It is ideal for a couple who has known each other for a long time or for a second wedding. These colours vibrate calmness.
Chinese wedding receptions are usually extravagant and opulent. Decorations and placements need to be a key part of the venue setting. These also need balance to achieve a memorable wedding banquet.
Use crystal and glass to reflect more light in your banquet room. For instance, crystal chandeliers are auspicious. With their reflected light, they double the positive feng shui.
Tip 2: Table Setting
When setting tables, pay attention to the layout of the banquet room. You can achieve the layout through:
Round Tables. These are popular in Chinese banquets. When using round tables, the seat facing the entrance is the seat of honour.
The seats on the left-hand side of the seat of honour are second, fourth, sixth, etc. in order of importance. Those on the right-hand side are third, fifth, etc. in order of importance until they join.
Square Tables. These are common in traditional Chinese wedding banquets. A big square table is used with benches for two people on each side. It is also called an Eight Immortals table.
If there is a seat facing the entrance, then the right-hand seat facing the entrance is for the guest of honour.
In the case where there is no seat facing the entrance, then the right-hand seat facing east is the seat of honour.
The seats on the left-hand side of the seat of honour are, in order of importance, second, fourth, sixth and eighth, and those on the right are third, fifth and seventh.
Grand Banquet. If the wedding banquet is grand and has many tables, the table of honour will be the one furthest from the main entrance.
If the main entrance is not clear, then the table of honour will be one facing far east.
For example, if the room has 20 tables, the tables on the left-hand side of the table of honour are, in order of importance, second, fourth, sixth, etc., and those on the right are third, fifth, seventh, ninth, etc..
In your seating arrangements, take into account the size and shape of the tables and table linen available to go with these.
Tip 3: Take Care of Special Groups
Consider the following special groups when planning seating arrangements:
- The bridal party. These include the bride, groom, parents, grandparents, best man and maid of honour. Traditionally, the bride sits with the groom and his family at a right-hand table, while the bride’s family is seated at a left-hand table. The tables closer to the bride and groom should be reserved for close relatives.
- Children. If the wedding has many children, you can set a table for kids only. Alternatively, place baby chairs next to their parents at the table. Ensure children sit away from the speakers and camera.
- Persons with disabilities. Reserve space for guests with disabilities who use wheelchairs. The reserved space should allow for free movement in and out of the venue.
- Guests with special dietary preferences. Place guests with special dietary preferences on the same table. This will make it easy to serve them. For instance, those guests who do not eat meat can seat together.
- Guests with similar interests and age. Match up guests with similar interests and age at the same table. The idea is to ensure that everyone is comfortable and gets to enjoy the wedding.
When planning seating arrangements in a Chinese wedding banquet, no matter the layout, the following seating positions show importance:
- Seats facing the door
- A table in the middle of the banquet room
- Seats on the right-hand side
The master of the wedding banquet has the responsibility of announcing to the guests the arrival of the bride and groom.
The couple’s entrance to the venue marks the beginning of the wedding celebration. This will usher in the serving of food and the making of merriment!
Now that you have achieved the perfect Chinese wedding banquet seating arrangement, enjoy the wedding.
Make sure you get high-quality, affordable food and beverage linen from Australian Linen Supply today! You want your linen to match up to the lavish look of your banquet.
Feature Image: Max Pixel Image