Your 2019 Wedding: Planning with the Professionals

Here's a fun fact: Getting married is rated in the top ten most stressful life events. We're here to change that. Read on for smooth-sailing 2019 wedding planning... 

Of all the stresses that come with wedding planning (if Hayford & Rhodes are in charge of your wedding flowers, we guarantee the bouquets won't be one of those stresses), the reception - who sits where? Will people feel short-changed if they're on the "peripheral table"? Is there enough wine? - is one of the most-cited anxiety moments when planning a wedding.  

Image: Holly Clarke | Venue: Banqueting House

Hayford & Rhodes' Managing Director Joanna Rhodes has a few tips to help diffuse the drama around table plans.

"Flowers are a great talking point to break the ice between people who are seated together but may not know each other at all. Although you want to make sure the table flowers don't dominate and make it hard to see someone opposite you: Peering through mountains of foliage or having to speak around a massive vase is not much fun for your guests.

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"Having a tablescape (a trend we've highlighted for 2019) gives a perfect flowing feeling and naturally draws the eye along the table and through the room. The style and colour can vary massively depending on the bride and groom’s preference and style of the venue/ room, but we've frequently used trailing jasmine to add highlights of white and delicate scent, and to connect designs together. Drawing single flower heads from the centre-piece and placing them directly onto the table and around place settings creates an organic, immersive feel.

"Using bold colours, such as 2019's Pantone Color of the Year Living Coral alongside optimistic yellow, can also work really well at drawing the eye through the room, particularly working alongside the caterers and other suppliers to complement each other."

We sought some expert guidance from Debrett's, the final word in social etiquette, and Bruce Russell from By Bruce Russell, international wedding and party planner, on reception planning. 

Image: Andrew Billington | Venue: The RSA 

Lucy Hume, Associate Director at Debrett's, offers her insight on how to navigate wedding table planning, from the most relaxed to the most formal:

"If you're hosting a small, informal reception, a formal seating plan isn't necessary, but try to ensure couples are split up when you invite people to sit down. Make a mental note of your chattier friends, and encourage them to sit next to others who are a bit quieter or who don't know any one else."

"If you've gone with a seating plan, ensure it's clearly displayed on the entrance to the dining area. Guests make a beeline for this to see who they're seated with, and may seek out someone they don't know to make an introduction before the meal. Try and plan the tables so that each guest already knows at least one person on their table."

"Ensure that any table displays don’t impede your guests’ conversations: An stunning floral display, wedding favours and even the menu are all talking points to get guests chatting. Limit the menus to one per table so that your guests interact with each other over menu selection."

Hayford & Rhodes create floral balayage for House of Fraser at Historic Royal Palaces Kensington Palace

Bruce Russell, international wedding and party planner, suggests pushing the boundaries to create that 'wow' factor: 

"The art of tablescape is taking centre-stage with weddings and floral design. Floral arches and statement pieces will always have their place, however the feeling each guests experiences when they are seated at a magically designed dinner table is one they won’t soon forget.  

"When planning weddings, working with floral designers who have the go-ahead from the bridal couple to push the boundaries a little helps us achieve a truly spectacular setting for a memorable occasion.”

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