How to: table setting

You're on a pink cloud. Until you start on the table setting... Because how on earth do you put that puzzle together? How do you dress your table according to the rules? And how do you make sure everyone gets to the table smoothly? Don't worry, with our tips this will be solved in 1-2-3!

Photo (top): Photographer: Elisabeth Van Lent - Wedding Planner: Alle Gebeure - Location: De Barrier - Decoration: In Style Styling & Decorations (Decoraties?)- Printing: DASI​​​​​​​

There are a few etiquette rules you can use when determining your table setting. They are not compulsory, but they will make your life a lot easier.

Table setting

First things first: where do you and your husband sit? Simple: in the middle of the table of honour. It is your big day. Etiquette dictates that you sit next to each other; the bride to the right of the groom. As a rule, the groom's grandfather sits next to the bride and the bride's grandmother next to the groom, and so on with the parents and siblings. This is not a written law, so if you want your best man or a close friend to sit at your table, that's fine too. Please note that men and women should be segregated. Man, woman, man, woman, man, woman. Married couples should not be placed next to each other. On the other hand, engaged couples and newly-weds (like you) can cuddle up together.

For the other guests, etiquette dictates that the table should be set up according to social status, age and gender. Perhaps some of the guests share the same profession or you think that it will click well between that group of peers.

Tip: don't put all the smooth talkers at the same table. Spread them around the room and keep the conversation going at each table.

Photo: Wedding planning & styling: Hooray! - Photo credits: Dries Decorte 

Table setting

How do you set the table according to the rules of etiquette? Candlesticks at eye level are a faux pas. They distort the image because of the warm glow of the candles. The same goes for sky-high flower arrangements. Because, of course, you want your guests to see each other. The plates, cutlery and glasses also have their place. The diagram below clarifies matters:

Tip: a good caterer knows the rules of etiquette and will set the table according to your wishes.

Name calling

In the past, guests' names were called out when they were invited to the table. Nowadays, this is not done very often. It is not only time-consuming, but also very difficult to keep the guests' attention. At the 140th name, attention tends to wane...

Do you still want to work with name calling? Then first ask the most important guests to the table (for example, first the aunts and uncles, then the cousins). The parents of the bride and groom and the bride and groom themselves are invited to the table last. With loud applause and festive music playing in the background.

You can also work with a table plan, and with name cards per table that are given on arrival. When it's time to take your place, the wedding planner or caterer will give a sign and the guests will pick their place on the table plan at the entrance to the venue. You can certainly work with fun themes (regions, spices, colours, films, etc.). When entering the room, each guest is assigned a theme. This theme corresponds to the name of the table. If you choose the herb theme, some guests will sit at the lavender table, others at the rosemary table, and so on. It's very nice to choose the theme of your table plan in line with the theme of your party. Choose symbolically relevant table names in function of your history and passions as a couple!

Photos: Esther Sun & KT Merry Photography​​​​​​​

Article courtesy of etiquette specialist & master of ceremonies Davy Steelandt

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