Cultural events provide an opportunity for guests to sample cultures not their own. It gives a chance to “outsiders” to have a feel of something different from what one knows.
Weddings are no exceptions. They enable guests to have a feel of how a specific culture celebrates its wedding.
Indian weddings provide a unique cultural wedding experience. They are extravagant ceremonies that celebrate the coming together of two families.
An Indian wedding is a Vivaha. The ceremony itself is is Vivaah Sanskar in North India and Kalyanam in South India.
Indians celebrate weddings with so much vigour and energy. In some places, weddings go on for days. One of the most important features of such weddings is the seating arrangement.
There are several seating styles for Indian weddings. These depend on:
Will the wedding be indoors or outdoors?
Number of guests
Will the seating arrangements be able to accommodate all guests?
The theme of the event
The seating arrangements are in line with the choice of theme one opts for. Some of the themes in Indian weddings include:
- Royal Maharaja Theme
- Fairy Tale Theme
- Lucknowi Wedding Theme
- Rajasthani Wedding Theme
- Green Wedding Theme
- Indoor Garden Wedding Theme
- Forest Wedding Theme
These wedding themes use various seating arrangements like the ones below:
Amphitheatre seating style
This seating arrangement incorporates a Mandap (a temporary platform set up for weddings). It looks like a Roman amphitheatre. The seats are set around the Mandap in such a way that guests can witness the wedding without disturbance.
This seating arrangement is suitable for various Indian wedding themes. It is good for Sangeets and Mehendis. It’s the perfect seating arrangement style for a wonderful wedding day.
Lounge seating style
Lounge seating arrangement involves setting up the wedding like a lounge. Achieve this with stylish coffee tables and sofas.
This setup gives a casual feel to the event. It is best put to use in a more informal party pre-wedding event like a dinner evening or even a cocktail.
This type of seating arrangement fits the fairytale theme or Royal Maharaja theme.
Divan or Takht seating style
This seating arrangement makes use of mattresses and cushions. Decorations make them beautiful for use during the wedding. This arrangement adds flavour to the wedding. Use it at the Haldi or Mehndi.
Round table seating style
The round table seating style provides a variety of setup arrangements. There are two main ones: banquet and cabaret.
In a banquet setup, guests sit around the table facing each other. This allows them to interact. In this arrangement, guests may need to turn to face the front.
The other round table option is cabaret style, where one end of the table is open. The guests can face the front and be able to see the ongoing activities. This option also makes it easier to serve refreshments without disturbing guests.
Theatre seating style
This is the simplest seating style that can be set up at a wedding reception or ceremony. All it needs is an arrangement of seats in rows, leaving aisle spaces like a movie theatre.
This seating style is good for any ceremony. It can work with a Cabana seating arrangement, which is suitable for a beachside or poolside wedding. It also works well for an afternoon Mehendi.
There is a wide variety of seating arrangement options. Consider doing different seating styles for the guests on various occasions. Mix it up and add flair to your engagement ceremony, wedding day and reception.
The reception is also an important part of any wedding ceremony. With the various seating arrangements, setup options vary for an Indian wedding reception. These Include:
A mix of X and O Tables
This is a setup of long rectangular tables in an X format and round tables in an O format. This is a good setup when one is looking for a unique seating arrangement.
Head table in the middle and dance floor on the side
This style is unique but has its own flaws. Guests may need to stand and walk to the dance floor, or stand to see activities taking place on the dance floor. It is good for weddings with elderly guests.
All round tables
This setup is in the form of a restaurant-style seating arrangement. Guests sit in groups according to how they know each other.
A mixture of rectangular and round tables
Rectangular tables are set in the middle with round tables around them. This creates a variety of seating options for guests depending on preference
Long rows of tables
Long rows of tables work well for a reception with few guests. Otherwise, the setup may look cumbersome when the tables are too long.
Doughnut table set-up
A doughnut-style setup is in a round or square format with a space in the middle.
Long head table
The long head table is set at the front and centre of the event. This becomes the reference point of the setup. The rest of the tables are then set up in alignment to the head table.
Planning an Indian Wedding Reception?
Image from: Indian Wedding Tool Kit
You are planning an Indian wedding reception. You have gotten all things in check and the seating arrangement is well-thought-out. There are other important factors to keep in mind for a successful event.
Run all seating arrangements by family and let them give you their opinion. Especially for South Asian weddings, the family plays a significant role in a successful wedding ceremony.
The couple or planner may not know all the relatives, and the parents may want to sit close to some of them. Older family members also know all the social norms that are upheld within the community.
This is especially important when seating a group of friends. Do not group some and leave two or three “cast away” at another table.
The right thing to do is to split the group into two tables and then proceed to fill up the remaining spaces. These spaces can have close cousins or family friends so the guests do not feel a form of alienation.
Casting away guests puts a bad taste in the mouth. The guests might leave the wedding as soon as they arrive.
Avoid singles tables
It is not good to have a table for singles during Indian weddings. Avoid having them. Mix single guests among other guests and give them a chance to talk with everybody else.
Seating guests at back tables
Back tables are tables most guests do not think twice about. They are also challenging when doing seating arrangements, as people do not like them.
These include tables near the exits, DJ and by the kitchen. These tables are for people you have to invite to the wedding out of respect.
They could be former coworkers, old friends, neighbours or people who also sent an invite to you. Also, be respectful and avoid seating elderly guests near these tables.
Do not set tables under vents
Most venues like hotels have vents for air conditioning. Avoid seating guests neat them, as they will be uncomfortable during the event. They will also not forget the cold or hot experience.
When you have child guests, kid tables may or may not be a good idea. Determine the ages of your guests to know whether to sit them with their parents or set a separate table.
Other things to note for Indian weddings and receptions are the Indian wedding site.
Planning seating arrangements for an Indian wedding need not be hard. Consider hierarchy priorities and the wedding will be memorable for aeons to come.