Italian Wedding Receptions: Six Different Ways to Seat Guests
No guest wants to arrive at a wedding ceremony and wonder, “Which side am I supposed to sit on?”
Worse still is arriving late and not being able to find a seat. This is the definition of stress.
A good seating arrangement helps guests relax and allows them to celebrate the occasion.
Although assigning seats to guests is not mandatory, it is important because it can:
- Minimise anxiety. It reduces the anxiety your guests feel when they are trying to find a seat.
- Limit conflicts. It limits the opportunity for conflicts based on existing family feuds. For guests with conflicts, allocate them seats that are far apart.
- Make catering easy. It makes it easier to cater to guests because you can let the serving staff know which guests have special dietary needs ahead of time.
- Streamline organisation. It takes the guesswork out of deciding where to sit and gives you control of your guests’ experience.
Assigning seats is especially important at an Italian wedding. The reception is the highlight of the wedding and you want guests to relax and enjoy the event.
Do not assign seats the traditional way of using pen and paper. Take advantage of technology and use online tools like hitched or AllSeated. These create a smooth and orderly seating plan experience.
Whereas it is impossible to please every guest, trying your best to cater to varied interests when assigning seats will be appreciated. Situations to work around include:
Existing family feuds. Beware of any family feuds. The last thing you need is parties warring in an occasion that is meant to be a celebration of love.
Run the seating chart by the bride and groom so that they can help identify guests with existing dramas. Seat them as far apart from each other as possible.
- Consider setting a table for children only. This way they can interact with other children. It also allows their parents the ability to relax and enjoy the occasion.
- Be mindful of couples and singles. Do not place singles alone. Nobody wants to feel labelled and alienated. Make it easy for them to interact with other guests by mixing up singles and couples in one table. Also, do not split up couples.
- Factor in special groups. Seat people with disabilities and the elderly close to the door. It will ease their movement in and out of the reception.
Once you have assigned seats, display a seating chart so that guests know where they should sit. Place this at the entrance of the reception where it will be visible to everyone.
Different Styles to Seat Guests
The number of guests and the size of the venue determine the choice of style of seating your guests.
Here are some styles that will help you master the seating arrangement like a pro!
- Imperial Table
- Oval-Shaped Tables
- Mix-and-Match Style
- U-Shaped Tables
- Serpentine Tables
- Round Tables
1. Imperial Table
This style is also known as a V-shaped setting because tables join together to form the letter V. This setting oozes elegance.
The bride and groom sit at the curve of the V, they are the focal point of the occasion.
The setting is intimate and great for both formal and informal occasions. Guests sit while facing each other.
The V-shaped setting is versatile and gives room for more decor options. For instance, to create a memorable setting for your guests, use both flowers and candles as your centrepieces.
Place tablecloths that match the theme of the wedding. White tablecloths are always a good choice. They are neutral and allow your centrepieces to stand out.
Get these from a trusted linen supplier such as Australian Linen supply. They stock superior quality linen at an affordable price.
2. Oval-Shaped Tables
This setting is also known as the Ambassador style.
Guests sit at oval-shaped tables that accommodate 8 to 10 people per table. Usually the number of guests at the table is an even number.
The style is ideal for small venues and encourages interaction among guests. The use of oval tables creates visual interest in the venue.
This setting helps to cater to the Italian tradition of having a gift table set aside. Be sure to include this when planning the seating arrangements.
The new mothers-in-law sit next to the gift table so they can thank guests as they receive gifts.
Seat the VIP guests: the bride, groom, and bridal team, on a table in the middle of the room facing the guests. This way, they will be at the heart of the action.
3. Mix-and-Match Style
If you want to get away from the conventional way of setting tables, then the Mix-and-Match style is the way to go.
As the name suggests, the style involves using tables of different shapes. In your setting, mix rectangular shaped tables with round and oval ones.
Every wedding is different, since tables are versatile, try creating a unique pattern when setting up. Place tablecloths on some tables and leave them off others. This adds character to the seating arrangement.
4. U-Shaped Tables
This seating arrangement is ideal for weddings with fewer guests. It has a communal feel to it and the seating arrangement ensures everyone gets to see each other.
As the name suggests, arrange the tables to form the letter U.
Seat the couple, their bridal party, and close family members close to each other.
The seating sequence should be as follows:
- The bride and groom sit at the centre of the base of the U. The bride sits on the right-hand side of the groom.
- The maid of honour sits on the left of the groom.
- On the right-hand side of the bride, sits the best man.
- The bridal party then follows suit sitting on alternating sides, facing each other.
- Next to the bridal party, the bride’s mother and the groom’s father sit next to each other.
- On the alternating side, the bride’s father and the groom’s mother sit next to each other.
- The rest of the guest’s seat along both sides of the arm of the U.
5. Serpentine Tables
This is a bold style of setting tables, suitable for an outdoor venue with lots of space.
Place long tables together to form a long curve that leads through a winery.
A reception set in a winery is perfect for an Italian wedding as Italy has a rich history of cultivating vineyards to create beautiful wines.
6. Round Tables
This setting involves the use of round tables. Arrange tables in such a way that there is ease of movement in and out of the reception.
Each table accommodates 8 guests. You can make the setting more intimate by allocating 6 guests per table.
Add more dimension to your setting by placing round tables of different diameters. For instance, have some tables of 60-inch and others of 72-inch.
This setting is versatile and works in both large or small venues. You can arrange the tables close to each other or stagger them.
Italian tradition dictates that the bride and groom walk to each table and greet guests. This happens before they leave for their honeymoon. This setting gives the couple room to access guests at different tables with ease.
Diversify your round tables with beautiful centrepieces and tablecloths.
Wondering where to get table linen that fits your round tables? Do not sweat the small stuff. Australian Linen Supply is your go-to brand. They supply tablecloths of diverse shapes and colours.
Here are some samples:
ALS delivers all over Australia. Get in touch with them today!
Even the best-planned seating arrangements cannot eliminate the chance of something unexpected happening. As long as you have done your best, do not worry about the slight mishaps.
Go ahead and let your guests enjoy the wedding!
Image from: TitusStaunton