- 7 years ago
- Wedding: April 2011
Our reception space is our alma mater’s alumni house. Take a look at it here. It is charming and we’re excited to have it there because it will be a great setting for the alumni reunion we’re basically going to be having at the wedding since the majority of our friends coming went to the school.
I guess we didn’t think through the seating arrangements much when we booked the venue but now we see that seating for a sit-down reception is going to be tight or unusual.
The main reception room has a capacity of 140–that is, 14 60″ tables with 10 chairs max at each. Plus, there is a big, and yes gorgeous, piano in the room that does not move. The problems with that setting are:
- 10 people at each table. I’d like to avoid that.
- All of the tables would fill up the room.
- There would be no space for a dance floor unless the dance floor was laid down with tables on top of it to begin with.
- 140 seats may not even accomodate our guests that come (but it should!).
So, this situation is (1) stressing me out and (2) making me become creative.
We chose the venue also because even in its beautiful decoration, it lends to a casual, mingling atmosphere. There is a “library” to the side of the main reception room that actually has a dining table that seats 6 and seating for at least 6 with the couch and arm chairs. The parlor on the other side of the main reception room has a large dining table with arm chairs and a couch (though we see using the large table for the buffet setup). In the reception room itself, there are at least 6 beautiful arm chairs with little bistro tables between them. There is also a large room downstairs that fits over 20 people at couches and a large dining table but…again, it’s downstairs.
We are planning to have a sit-down reception but can’t envision that everyone will be able to sit in the one reception room. After racking my brain and visiting the site many times (MANY times) to picture setups, here is one that I feel comfortable with–and one that I thought of at 1AM last night!
- Guests arrive to the reception venue for a one-hour-ish cocktail hour.
- Guests receive their general seating area:
- in the reception room,
- at one of 5-7 tables outside on the terrace balcony,
- in the library.
- Wedding party may or may not take photos but will eventually come to the reception venue during the cocktail hour.
- Guests will be mingling throughout the alumni house grounds.
- Prompted by the program/emcee/DJ, guests will come to the main reception room.
- Wedding party will make entrance into reception room through those great double doors (sigh, I love that entrance way).
- Hoopla, hoopla…
- Guests are standing, sitting at 6-8 60″ tables, or sitting in arm chairs.
- Guests are given the option to have champagne or keep their drink for toasts (not sure of the toasts timing, though).
- Because I am a cake fiend (some may say) perhaps we could pull of a cake cutting here between the groom and me now. We are having a dessert bar so there will only be a small two-tier cake anyways and then when people want dessert afterwards, they can get it at the buffet.
- Prompted by the program/emcee/DJ, guests will get their dinner at the buffet and take their seats.
- Buffet catering staff will clear plates, etc.at the end of the dinner.
- Prompted by the program/emcee/DJ, guests will mingle and make their way back to the reception room for the first dances and then the party gets started.
OK. Whew. Thanks for reading all of that, bees. Now, with that set up, we could seat at least 120 comfortably. Pros to this set-up include having a real dance floor space. Cons to this set-up include how people will eat (Can we do this as sit-down? That’s what FH wants, not heavy appetizers and we’ve chosen Whole Foods as our caterer.) and that, yes, some people will be outside on the balcony and in the library away from the bride and groom (in the main reception room) but we’d all be relatively close to each other. Plus, the whole idea is to get the “community” things to occur during the end of the cocktail hour–toasts and cake cutting, for about 15-20 minutes. Also, I have this notion of people eating/mingling in peace and I kind of think of it as a “house party” that has people comfortable in their physical environment with friends/family. In this case, I’d plan to have FH and I then go to each table and meet with guests.
A note again on the other rooms in the house. There is a large living-room area in the house that is downstairs and is such a cool space but, of course, it is downstairs. We plan on using it for the bride and bridal party to get ready in, anyhow. There is also a room next to the library that has a couch and a 6-person dining table that we were thinking of using as a place for the kids to play/eat or a place for our vendors to keep there stuff/eat in.
What are your thoughts on my set-up, bees? Remember, you can take a look at the space a bit here: Take a look at it here.