This is surely one of the simplest but most effective table plan ideas: using beer bottles as both vases and as a seating chart. (Useful and beautiful. Marie Kondo would be so proud). Plus, it’s FUN! You get to drink ALLTHEBEER. Or wine, or cider, or whichever nicely bottled drinks you can get your hands on. (But always drink responsibly, kids!). Here’s how to do it.
We’re really lucky here at RMW to see some of the most original and stylish ways to decorate your wedding day, and one of our favourite decor items is the table plan. Obviously an essential part of the decor, helping guests to find their seats, but also a great way to continue your wedding styling. We love a table plan so much, we’ve dedicated a whole episode of RMW The Podcast to it! You can listen here, perhaps while you’re browsing this post 😉
There are SO many fantastic ideas out there for how to make your wedding table plan look gorgeous, but here are 10 of our favourites from this year that we’ll definitely be seeing at 2019 weddings…
If thick paper, foiling, hand written notes and ribbon make you swoon, then this feature is for you. We’re celebrating paper goods today and let me tell you, when it comes to weddings the world really is your oyster. The creativity of stationers knows no bounds and I’m constantly blown away by how gorgeous their designs are.
Yet for some, there’s a misconception that wedding stationery is overpriced and a waste of money. No no no, my friends – this couldn’t be further from the truth. So, let’s bust some of those stationery myths, explain the costs behind the design and print process and celebrate the joy of receiving a beautiful wedding invitation through the post…
I’m conscious as I write this that the issue of stationery does not sit highly on everyone’s agenda.
For some brides the dress is the top priority, for others it’s all about the blooms. Perhaps for you it’s the all-important cake and dessert table. My own personal list has photography and videography vying with each other for first place so the boy and I have split it fairly.
But it’s ok you know to be different, for us all to prioritise according to our personal preferences otherwise the world of weddings would feel that little bit smaller, right?
I love that some brides go hell for leather on their entertainment rather than having oodles of flowers or opt for making the decor themselves so they can have the dress of their dreams.
So whilst I’ve already mentioned that photography and videography are of paramount importance to Ste and I, papery goods are also sit fairly highly on the list.
Admittedly this has confused some people whose view of stationery is simply that – something that serves a purpose, be it an invite to the main event or a sign that tells you where to sit. For us though, it’s a tiny taster of what’s to come, a vital part of the theme, another little bit of decor.
So this post really is partly inspiration for you gorgeous lot, a healthy portion of gentle persuasion for those of you who don’t rate stationery all that highly and a smidgen for me just so I can indulge in paper pretty.
You Are Cordially Invited…
Here at RMW HQ we’ve noticed a subtle advance towards glamorous stationery of late rather than the vintage kitsch which has been huge in the wedding scene these last few years.
Flourished fonts, coloured foils and pretty penmanship are all coming into their own once again albeit with a modern feel. We’re also seeing attention lavished on designer envelopes with ornately calligraphied addresses and bespoke stamps for a more ‘finished’ feel.
Ladies – elaborate invitation suites are back with a vengeance!
Two main colour schemes have been huge this year, watercolours and metallics. I adore them equally and wanted both.
The boy said no.
There are few rules when it comes to the metallics trend, golds and silvers look amazing when combined in the same stationery set, be it in the form of stamped foils, shimmering envelopes or stationery edgings.
It’s like holding a little bit of luxury.
Invitations caressed by a watercolour wash are also utterly romantic and perfect for a summer or spring wedding. For me stationery suites using this medium make me think of artisan weddings from long ago, a kinder time and place. If you’re worried that a watercoloured invitation might feel a bit too much why not try restricting the colour to the edges and keeping the rest of the colour palette neutral.
I’m also a huge fan of letterpress invitations and whilst they are on the expensive side, when you’ve got one in your hands you can’t help but run your fingers over the glorious textures. It seems like lots of brides are in agreement as this is another trend experiencing a resurgence of late.
Lastly I’d recommend tying together all of your various invitation components with contrasting ribbon or twine for the final detail and that little bit of something extra.
Order Of Play
I’m sure that you lovely lot are all familiar with the traditional order of service, but there’s another piece of paper pretty that’s making itself known on the big day which I wanted to share with you.
With its roots in America – the wedding programme is designed to complement rather than replace the order of service by informing guests about what’s on the agenda for the whole day rather than just the ceremony itself.
This selection of pretty does a darn good job of showing how wedding programmes are also used to introduce the bridal party and share thank you’s as well as explaining the significance of certain elements of the day – like the first dance for example. Plus they’re all blinking gorgeous too.
I love this idea probably because I am a control freak.
Yes there we are, I admit it. But there’s nothing worse than going to a wedding and not really knowing where you’re supposed to be at which times. How many of you have missed a cake cutting recently? I know that I’ve failed to see this special part of the day at least once out of the five weddings I’ve been to this year.
That makes me sad.
Take it from me RMW-ettes, to be forewarned is to be forearmed – you’ll never miss a photo opportunity again!
Of this clutch of beauties, the silhouetted wedding party is my favourite. Actually I might rob that idea for my own day.
Is that allowed?
I also have a whole lorra love for something that gives you more bang for your buck. In this case we’re talking about programmes that go the extra mile, that are more than just a simple schedule for the big day.
We’re talking fans folks.
This concept is particularly useful at warmer weddings allowing guests to be cool and informed all at the same time. Simply pop your beautiful programme on a stick and you’re away.
Best Seat In The House
Do any of you keep your place names from weddings you’ve been to? Or this this yet more proof that I’m a little bit odd?
Regardless, we’ll come onto place names in a minute. Right now I want to talk to you about table plans and escort cards.
No, not the kind that you find taped up in the windows of neglected telephone boxes – honestly the state of your minds folks. I’m talking about another American tradition which has filtered its way across to our shores.
For those of you not familiar with the concept, rather than displaying tableplans at the entrance to a venue, our American cousins choose to give each guest a card with their name and table name or number on it.
I love this idea not only because it adds an air of intrigue to the whole ‘where am I sitting/who am I sitting with’ question but because it provides massive scope for you to integrate the cards into your general decor.
Take a look at these gorgeous examples, escort cards as leaves in a wreath, pegged onto lines, beribboned and inserted into brown pockets or tied around bottles are all simple and effective ways of making them something more than just a sign about where to sit.
On a practical level escort cards win hands down because you can easily rewrite a few should you find your Aunty Pam has come down with the flu. A simple rejig of the seating arrangements is not as easy with a gorgeous but pre-printed table plan.
So this is one part of the day where you really get to go to town on all things stationery.
We’re talking menus, place names, table names and even thank you cards.
Bring. It. On.
I’m actually really excited about my wedding paper goods, particularly those that will be appearing on the table. For me, customising elements such as the table names and menus is a crucial part of the theme on our wedding day. I can’t say too much here because we want it to be a surprise for our guests but I promise to share the results at some point.
Ultimately, the point I’m driving at is if you’re having a menu for your guests and name places on the tables themselves then it’s worth thinking about how you want them to look because this is a great way to add some impact without having to incur the wrath of your normally adorable fiancé because you’ve spent the equivalent of a small house on said theme ‘unnecessarily’.
Think about playing with shapes – just because paper tends to arrive in rectangular and square shapes doesn’t mean that it has to stay this way. I love rounded corners as well as irregular layouts too.
Circles are really popular at the moment and are the perfect accompaniment for modern, city affairs. Experiment with fonts and layouts – two or three different typographies on a single piece of paperie looks really punchy.
Have you got a special symbol or motif that means a lot to the pair of you? Why not include that within your stationery set or even resort to pictures over text. I love the menu within this board complete with drawings of crabs, fish and cake. It’s so fun!
You can bring place names to life too by attaching objects to them or by making them a fundamental part of the decor. I came across a beautiful wedding that encircled guest’s names around thin tapered candles which they took with them to illuminate their table.
It looked EPIC.
I think I may possibly be the only person in the world that actually adores old school confetti.
You know the kind – with the overly saccharine candy colours and 1930’s ish vibe. All paper-shaped horseshoes, bells, bows and misshapen flowers. The kind that if held a little bit too long in a sweaty palm clumps together in a soggy ball which completely defeats the purpose of choosing light as a feather paper loveliness to scatter over a pair of newlyweds.
In fact, I still haven’t met one person that actually loves it like I do. I can’t explain the reasons why I go gaga for it, I just do.
Anyway I digress.
‘Confetti Heaven’ couldn’t simply be all about confetti – talk about overkill – so I had to include a few alternative guestbook ideas too. And whilst confetti and guestbooks aren’t strictly stationery I wanted to show how they can fall into this category by applying a few simple tweaks.
It thrills my bones when I see a bride that has chosen to really embrace the confetti tradition.Where a couple have decided to not only provide customised bags of loveliness for the guests but a smidgen of DIY and paper materials too.
Taking the custom confetti route doesn’t need to cost the earth nor take too much of your time either. In fact stamping plain brown bags with an emblem that reflects your wedding such as the ‘birdy’ bags near the bottom of this board is a great way to get your nearest and dearest involved as well as stamping your personality on the day.
Alternatively bulk buy glassine sheets and sew them into little pockets on the ol’ singer for instant pouches of fun.
My favourite though are the confetti bags which double up as an order of service and favour too! Seriously what more do you want? There’s glittery confetti, and a sweet drawstring sack that you get to take home to fill with candy or use as a travelling make-up bag.
This adventurous creativity is also poking its head through in modern day guestbooks too. The balloon thumbprint poster makes me smile not only because of its sunshiny cheeriness but because each guest has had a hand in making this work of art.
And what about having individual teeny tiny envelopes for each guest to insert some precious words of advice into to be opened by you on a special anniversary or why not scatter coasters around your venue that guests can scrawl on whilst they drink.
Talk about killing two birds with one stone.
So have I managed to persuade those of you who weren’t so enamoured with paper pretties over to the dark side?
Do you now want to brand anything and everything stationery-related for your big day?
I know I do.
But then I would, wouldn’t I.
All my love
Lolly (the crazy confetti fanatic)xxx
It’s the bane of all our lives right? The dreaded seating plan…
Before I start, I should admit, I don’t think I can wave my fairy blogmother wand and magic your issues away, BUT, I hope there might be an idea or two tucked away in here that will help you navigate the issue with perhaps one less family argument or sleepless night over who sits where. Because we have better things to worry about right?!
And as you guys really are the geniuses (Genii?!) around here… please do add in your thoughts, suggestions and solutions, or even just your biggest dilemmas to see if we can get a great big Rock My Wedding community problem solved!
So… on with the show.
First things first. The top table.
I had a traditional top table. It was an elongated oval shape and went like this…
Pete’s Dad :: My Mum :: Pete :: Me :: Mums Partner Phil :: Pete’s mum
(Some people also seat the Best Man and Maid of Honour on the top table in which case they would be next to the Grooms Mother and father respectively.)
That is exactly as it should be traditionally… and I think we all know how we here at RMW feel about traditional. If it’s you (or as in my case, your mum would be broken hearted if you didn’t do it like this,) then fire away. But if not, then there are plenty of alternatives.
Divorced families seem to have paved the way for new traditions and one of the best alternatives I think is to have each parent host their own table, leaving you free to enjoy dinner with your best men and women. It might not be the solution you hoped for, with everyone getting along for the sake of your big day, but for the peace and quiet, it might just be worth it. Plus you get the bonus of spending dinner with your favourite people!
The more extreme solution? The Sweetheart table. Snub no-one and get something every bride and groom wants – a little quiet time with their beloved on W-day.
Pick’n’Mix or Divine Intervention?
I was really torn organising my own seating plan… do you place your friends together and ignore the whole point of a wedding being bringing 2 families together? Or mix everyone up to begin the melding of 2 families and sometimes friendship groups too?
Having been the couple that can talk to nearly anyone and therefore being on the receiving end of quite a few ‘difficult’ tables at weddings I have attended over the years, I was determined to place everyone with people they knew and liked. I love going to a wedding, as much for the bl*%dy good catch up you get with friends you haven’t seen in ages, as for the couple themselves. So we arranged our tables as follows… (broadly speaking!)
The Bridesmaids/Best Man and their partners. Basically, this table was our very best friends and we put them slap bang in front of us to provide regular stop off’s there throughout the day.
The Cousins (Pete’s side)
My Family friends growing up and extended family (two tables worth)
The only baby in attendance was our 6 week old niece and so we put Pete’s sister and husband with her Aunts and Uncles… the older generation of the cousins table!
More Family friends – one of the only combined tables of both sides of our family.
My Uni Girl friends and their respectives
My Work Friends
Pete’s Uni/Work friends
I hope that doesn’t seem irrelevant but hopefully it gives an idea of the way people fall nicely into groups if that’s what you want.
The Difficult Truth
I think nearly everyone has to invite people to their wedding that they would prefer not to have done. Rather than think of it as defeat, I think of it as compromise. For all our talk of doing it your way, the truth is, a wedding is as much for the people around you as for you in some ways. The people your parents want to reminise about the day with… to have seen their daughter look radiant with them, they all need seating somewhere and are usually less difficult than the other difficult guest… the loose canon!
Every wedding has one, the female friend who sobs into her chardonnay without fail at the end of a brilliant night, the toilet humoured cousin or work colleague, the slightly leery uncle bound to stare at someone’s boobs (if he doesn’t make a grab for them!) the person who will heckle the speeches… the list goes on and more than likely they’re amongst your best friends. After all, the behaviour and banter you enjoy on a night out, might not be quite what you had in mind for your wedding breakfast within ear shot of your great aunt Mildred.
We had a whole table of them, totally gross (read hilarious but not at your wedding) boys who literally can’t get through a sentence without uttering something completely unspeakable in polite society. So they were plumped together to entertain each other and (fingers crossed) no-one else!
Of course, it could have gone horribly wrong with them all egging each other on, but I had faith!
Round peg, Square hole?
Are round tables not for you? Really want to mix everyone up or perhaps even let people sit exactly where they want? How about long tables… and they needn’t be rustic.
I so wish I had done this… sadly my venue just didn’t allow for it, but it’s becoming more and more common and I love seeing it on these very pages 🙂
Last Minute Let Down
Someone will always cancel at the last minute. It’s a cruel rule of fate that leaves every bride totally frazzled. Whether through sickness, disaster or thoughtlessness there is bound to be a person who can’t make it and due to the circumstance (or lets face it, complete and utter idiocy) only lets you know at the 12th hour.
*Read more in our post about Escort Cards here.
The easiest way of surviving such a mishap, is to leave the table plan to the day, (or two nights) before. Then there’s no re-printing/gluing and sticking, no frantic re-arrangement and no stressed out bride. Have it all sorted, ready to go and then if all goes according to plan, just press print. If not, retype a couple of names and away you go. Even easier… use escort cards, then you can do them ahead of time and any last minute amendments only need one or two cards re-doing.
Share Your Solutions
So now it’s time to spill the beans… Tell us which parts of the planning you identify with here, your problems, nightmares and made in heaven solutions. Lets unleash the power of the RMW community and magic them all away… Rock My Wedding Fairy blogmother stylee 😉