Can We Seat Guests at Smaller Tables for the Wedding Reception?

Etiquette
peach rose and hydrangea wedding centerpiece

Photo: Elizabeth Messina

Can your wedding guests sit at small, intimate tables for the reception? Do you need a wedding seating chart or can guests seat themselves? If you have a wedding-reception etiquette question, our experts are here to help.

Can I seat our wedding guests at small tables of four or six?

That's a great way to create coziness, says wedding planner Laura Weatherley, president of Engaging Affairs in Alexandria, Virginia. "The feeling is less like a banquet and more like a supper club." Scaling down has its price, however: You'll need more tables, linens, centerpieces, and maybe even waitstaff. "To minimize expenses, your centerpieces could double as favors—flowers in small vases clustered around the table," she says. Or consider less costly alternatives, like clear vases piled with lemons, oranges or another bright fruit. Because the tables are smaller, though, your guests may interact with only a handful of people—those they're seated with. "Matching people up well becomes even more important," says Weatherley.

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