Planning a sit-down wedding reception? There are a few key things you’ll need to consider to help your reception run smoothly – from creating the perfect floor plan to figuring out your menu style and decorating your tables.
Whether you’re planning an intimate dinner for 30 guests or a large marquee reception, we’re here to help. Read on as we share 5 super practical tips to help you plan the perfect sit-down wedding below!
Know Your Numbers
Mapping out your guest list is the first thing you’ll want to get sorted, before booking your venue and finalising your budget. Remember, for a sit-down wedding, each guest will mean an additional chair, meal and place setting (including plates, cutlery, glassware…etc!). Having a rough idea of your numbers upfront will not only help you find a venue that can accommodate your guests, but will also help you manage your budget and costs for the day.
As you start venue hunting, ask the venues to provide photos and floor plan examples from recent weddings with similar guest numbers. This will give you a good indication of how comfortably your guests will fit within the space. Read our top tips for finding the perfect wedding venue here!
If you’re planning a big wedding and struggling to find a suitable venue, you may need to consider a “blank canvas” venue that allows for marquees, tipis and tents. Read our guide on planning a marquee wedding here!
2. Choose The Right Floor Plan
Creating the right floor plan is key for a sit-down wedding reception. When it comes to your table layouts, there are a few different options to choose from. You can opt for long communal tables, individual tables, or a U-shaped layout.
To figure out the right floor plan for your wedding, you’ll need to consider your guest numbers, the size of the venue, and the overall vibe you want to create. For example: communal tables will create a more relaxed and intimate vibe, while individual tables are great for a formal atmosphere.
You’ll also need to decide if you want a seperate bridal table, or if you’d like to sit amongst your guests. Finally, you’ll need to pencil in enough room in between tables for food and beverage service, along with allocating space for your dance floor, gift table, cake table and photo booth. You can read our ultimate guide to creating your wedding table layouts here!
To make things easy, we’d recommend grabbing a copy of your venue floor plan along with the dimensions of your tables and chairs, and pencilling them in to scale. Many venues can actually do this for you using digital software.
3. Make a Statement with Dining Tables and Chairs
Now, let’s move on to the fun stuff – the styling! When it comes to a sit-down wedding reception, your dining tables and dining chairs will be the hero of the room. These are the first things people notice as they enter your reception, and ultimately set the tone for the entire space.
You’ll want to choose a dining table and chair combination that reflects your overall wedding vision and brings this to life. If you haven’t already figured out your wedding style and created a mood board, do this first!
Think about the vibe and atmosphere you want to create at your wedding reception, and choose your dining tables and chairs accordingly. For example: our Soho wire dining chairs work beautifully for a modern luxe look, our oak cross back chairs will give you a Tuscan-inspired feel, while our Indie chairs work well for a bohemian setting.
On a practical note, you’ll also need to consider the width of your dining tables. If you’re planning a feasting menu, you’ll want a wider feasting table to accommodate for shared platters of food. But if you’re planning an alternate drop menu, you could get away with a narrower option.
4. Get Creative with Your Table Styling
The beauty of sit-down wedding receptions is the ability to get creative with your table styling. Use your centrepieces and place settings to add colour, texture and beautiful details to create a memorable dining experience for your guests.
When it comes to your table decor, we recommend including interesting layers, varying heights and statement tableware to really set the mood for your reception. Again, think back to your wedding vision (whether that’s coastal, boho or luxe) and bring this to life with stationery, linen napkins, glassware, cutlery and centrepieces. You can find our expert table styling tips here for more inspiration!
On a practical note, you’ll also want to make sure you organise all of the required catering items for your chosen menu style. This includes entree and dinner plates, dessert plates, entree, main and dessert cutlery, glassware and napkins. You can use our wedding hire checklist to ensure you don’t forget anything!
5. Create Ambience with Lighting and Flowers
Our final tip: Moody lighting and beautiful flowers will instantly transform the overall ambience of your sit-down reception. Keep it simple with scattered candles and small arrangements, or go big with statement chandeliers and hanging installations. It’s worth investing in these areas to create an incredible atmosphere for your loved ones!
We have everything you need to deck out your sit-down wedding reception, from dining tables and dining chairs to plates, cutlery, glassware and napkins. You can get in touch with our team here to explore our latest hire catalogue, or find more beautiful wedding inspiration via our latest blogs below.