Wedding Reception Forum

Numbering tables at reception

I'm having 8 tables at my wedding reception. I was planning to number the tables based on proximity. The table my groom and I will sit at (with our parents) is in the middle and would be number 3 or 4. Does it matter if the head table is not numbered as #1? I am sure I am reading too much into this, but, wedding planning drives you to question reallllly obscure things :)

Re: Numbering tables at reception

  • climbingsingleclimbingsingle NYC 'burbs member
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    It doesn't matter. 
    runsonveggiesPrettyGirlLost
  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
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    Yup you are reading too much into this :)  Number your tables according to what would be easiest for your guests to follow and find.  It doesn't matter if the head table is #1 or #20.  The number is just a way for your guests to find their table.  Nothing more, nothing less.

  • We had 19 tables, and we were at table 9 I think...we also wanted to be in the middle. We DID have some crazy aunts that I"m sure would have been all pissy about being a higher-numbered table, and by doing it this way it alleviated that as well. You can't say "what, am I not important? I'm at table 18!" when the bride's at table 9, and the parents are at tables 2 and 14, for example. 
  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs member
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    True story. I attended a family wedding. As several of us went to collect our escort cards, my SIL excitedly said, "Hey, we"re at table number 1. Woohoo!" After only a moment or two, I realized an error had been made, and her card should have read Table 10, not 1. She actually felt a little sad. Until then, I had never associated table numbers with any type of importance or status. We laugh about it all the time now.
    runsonveggies
  • Thank you, ladies, for helping me realize this is a total non-issue!
  • You could always name the tables to avoid the number issue completely. Go with the theme of the wedding or something meaningful to you and your fiance. 
    runsonveggies
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
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    KelseyC87 said:

    You could always name the tables to avoid the number issue completely. Go with the theme of the wedding or something meaningful to you and your fiance. 

    This actually makes it harder for guests to find their seats if there isn't a map or chart indicating which tables are where, because they have to walk around looking for their tables. Also, this is me, but cutesy table naming themes come off as a little too insider to me, because while the names might have special meaning for you, they won't to anyone else, and people not in the know might question why they were put at Such-and-such table. Sequentially numbered tables at least aren't supposed to have any particular special significance.
    PrettyGirlLost
  • ajisailoveajisailove member
    10 Comments
    edited January 2015

    I actually didn't know about how people perceive their table numbers to mean something to them, I'm only worrying about seating arrangements since there'll be language barriers at our wedding. Like everyone else said, don't worry too much about it, but I totally understand where you're coming from worrying over little details :) 


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  • I think it does (or at least could) matter. When I've been to weddings with buffets, the tables get called up in numerical order.therefore it's best to have bride & groom go first to allow time for table visits at least, and you could cut your cake and do a first dance while people are still eating so they don't have to wait for you as much. We did our table first, then the groomsmen (they still had a role to play and we didn't want to make people wait for them to finish eating), then we went by age, so the table with a 3 year old went before an all adults table because adults can be more patient than someone with a small young tummy
  • ViczaesarViczaesar Central Coast, CA member
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    00kim00 said:
    I think it does (or at least could) matter. When I've been to weddings with buffets, the tables get called up in numerical order.therefore it's best to have bride & groom go first to allow time for table visits at least, and you could cut your cake and do a first dance while people are still eating so they don't have to wait for you as much. We did our table first, then the groomsmen (they still had a role to play and we didn't want to make people wait for them to finish eating), then we went by age, so the table with a 3 year old went before an all adults table because adults can be more patient than someone with a small young tummy
    Out of curiosity, what role did the groomsmen have to play at your reception, @00kim00?



  • Doesn't matter.  But I felt the same way.  So I ended up numbering them in a clockwise circle starting in front of stage.  It still made sense since this tables were in logical order.  1, 2, 3, 4, etc as your eye went around room.
    PrettyGirlLost
  • Jen4948 said:
    You could always name the tables to avoid the number issue completely. Go with the theme of the wedding or something meaningful to you and your fiance. 
    This actually makes it harder for guests to find their seats if there isn't a map or chart indicating which tables are where, because they have to walk around looking for their tables. Also, this is me, but cutesy table naming themes come off as a little too insider to me, because while the names might have special meaning for you, they won't to anyone else, and people not in the know might question why they were put at Such-and-such table. Sequentially numbered tables at least aren't supposed to have any particular special significance.
    One wedding I was at had meaningful locations to the couple as each table name. And on the back of the card indicating the table name was a one-sentence explanation as to why it was important. After dinner it was fun to walk around the room to read all the other table names and reasons. (Note: this couple traveled extensively together at the start of their relationship, so this really made sense). It was things like....
    Philadelphia (Where we first met!)
    Texas (Where we had our first kiss!)
    Taiwan (Where we fell in love)
    Japan (Where we said I love you for the first time)
    Tennessee (Where we've visited every summer since we've met)
    runsonveggies
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
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    MandyMost said:


    Jen4948 said:

    KelseyC87 said:

    You could always name the tables to avoid the number issue completely. Go with the theme of the wedding or something meaningful to you and your fiance. 

    This actually makes it harder for guests to find their seats if there isn't a map or chart indicating which tables are where, because they have to walk around looking for their tables. Also, this is me, but cutesy table naming themes come off as a little too insider to me, because while the names might have special meaning for you, they won't to anyone else, and people not in the know might question why they were put at Such-and-such table. Sequentially numbered tables at least aren't supposed to have any particular special significance.

    One wedding I was at had meaningful locations to the couple as each table name. And on the back of the card indicating the table name was a one-sentence explanation as to why it was important. After dinner it was fun to walk around the room to read all the other table names and reasons. (Note: this couple traveled extensively together at the start of their relationship, so this really made sense). It was things like....
    Philadelphia (Where we first met!)
    Texas (Where we had our first kiss!)
    Taiwan (Where we fell in love)
    Japan (Where we said I love you for the first time)
    Tennessee (Where we've visited every summer since we've met)


    I wouldn't have had fun trying to figure out where "Texas" was placed or why I was seated there. This may have been meaningful to the couple, but I doubt many other people thought it was "fun" to figure out an "inside" table naming scheme.
    atlastmrsgslothiegalPrettyGirlLostesstee33
  • we are doing a photo of us at each age with a number in the middle, they will be in a picture frame. Was thinking of starting them in a spiral design....because our sweetheart table will be in the middle of the patio
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  • wrigleyvillewrigleyville Chicago member
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    The only way the picture/names schemes work well is to have numbers as well.

    For example, when my friends got married, they had a ton of guests coming from out of town. They wanted to highlight some of the fun and cool sights in the city, so they had a "Sears Tower" table, "Wrigley Field", "Marshall Fields", "Water Tower", "Art Institute", etc. The tables also had a number in the frame.

    The escort cards had the landmark on it along with the table number.

    image

    KelseyC87PrettyGirlLostesstee33
  • @Viczaesar: My husband is Malaysian. Traditional wedding celebrations in his culture include 2 men/boys performing a martial arts demonstration, called a silat, for the bride, groom, and guests. His two groomsmen did this at our reception
  • ViczaesarViczaesar Central Coast, CA member
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    Very interesting, @00kim00, thanks for sharing!



  • wrigleyvillewrigleyville Chicago member
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    00kim00 said:
    @Viczaesar: My husband is Malaysian. Traditional wedding celebrations in his culture include 2 men/boys performing a martial arts demonstration, called a silat, for the bride, groom, and guests. His two groomsmen did this at our reception
    That would be awesome. :)
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Ninth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    00kim00 said:

    @Viczaesar: My husband is Malaysian. Traditional wedding celebrations in his culture include 2 men/boys performing a martial arts demonstration, called a silat, for the bride, groom, and guests. His two groomsmen did this at our reception

    Sounds cool!
  • What if you number the tables with "important" important numbers.  8, the date of our first date; 2008, the year of our first date; 39, the age I'll be when we're married; 3, the number of times we've been outside the country together, etc.  But then still arrange the tables in a meaningful order, i.e. 3 then 8 then 39 then 2008.  I mean, it's the best of both worlds Cutesy AND Practical.
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
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    adk19 said:

    What if you number the tables with "important" important numbers.  8, the date of our first date; 2008, the year of our first date; 39, the age I'll be when we're married; 3, the number of times we've been outside the country together, etc.  But then still arrange the tables in a meaningful order, i.e. 3 then 8 then 39 then 2008.  I mean, it's the best of both worlds Cutesy AND Practical.

    That could still confuse guests who are going table to table in numerical order looking for their seats.

    When it comes to communication with guests, skip the cutesy and just be practical. Don't waste their time with things that are meaningful to you but not to them.
    PrettyGirlLost
  • Jen4948 said:
    What if you number the tables with "important" important numbers.  8, the date of our first date; 2008, the year of our first date; 39, the age I'll be when we're married; 3, the number of times we've been outside the country together, etc.  But then still arrange the tables in a meaningful order, i.e. 3 then 8 then 39 then 2008.  I mean, it's the best of both worlds Cutesy AND Practical.
    That could still confuse guests who are going table to table in numerical order looking for their seats. When it comes to communication with guests, skip the cutesy and just be practical. Don't waste their time with things that are meaningful to you but not to them.
    Agreed. I love when people are creative with table names and personalizing them, but they should really include a number as well. 
    PrettyGirlLost
  • Do people really have that much trouble finding their table if they're not numbered sequentially? Honestly, even when the tables are numbered sequentially, it's not like they're in a straight line, you still have to figure out where the numbers are. You do this by using your eyes and finding the number...

    1  2   3  
    4  5   6
    7  8   8

    I mean, i that set up, table 4 is between table 1 and 7 if you look at it that way. You still have to walk around and find you table.

    How big are these weddings that you guys are wondering around like you're starving in the desert trying to find your table? Is it that hard to stand in a spot and scan the tables to find yours? I've been to 2 weddings now, that I recall, that had no numbers at all on the tables just place names, and I don't remember having any issue finding my table. Both weddings were about 120 people. 

    The only wedding where I DID have trouble finding my table was when the tables had no sign at all, and just had a different item on each table. It was a vintage theme. One table had an old telephone, one had some books, one had a phonograph, etc. The escort cards looked like old time sheet check-in cards, so they were pretty busy (i.e. not just a name and a table ID). There was a picture at the top of the escort card that matched an item on a table. It took everyone quite some time to figure that out. 
  • Does the head table or sweetheart table have to be numbered?
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
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    MandyMost said:

    Do people really have that much trouble finding their table if they're not numbered sequentially? Honestly, even when the tables are numbered sequentially, it's not like they're in a straight line, you still have to figure out where the numbers are. You do this by using your eyes and finding the number...


    1  2   3  
    4  5   6
    7  8   8

    I mean, i that set up, table 4 is between table 1 and 7 if you look at it that way. You still have to walk around and find you table.

    How big are these weddings that you guys are wondering around like you're starving in the desert trying to find your table? Is it that hard to stand in a spot and scan the tables to find yours? I've been to 2 weddings now, that I recall, that had no numbers at all on the tables just place names, and I don't remember having any issue finding my table. Both weddings were about 120 people. 

    The only wedding where I DID have trouble finding my table was when the tables had no sign at all, and just had a different item on each table. It was a vintage theme. One table had an old telephone, one had some books, one had a phonograph, etc. The escort cards looked like old time sheet check-in cards, so they were pretty busy (i.e. not just a name and a table ID). There was a picture at the top of the escort card that matched an item on a table. It took everyone quite some time to figure that out. 
    It doesn't matter how big or small the wedding is.

    The point of wedding etiquette is to see that everyone's needs are met as soon as possible when they become apparent with a minimal wait time-including the need to find their seats readily without having to wander around looking for them.

    A "cute" naming scheme, where the tables are named according to something that has meaning only for the couple, especially if there is no map or chart of where the tables are and who is sitting where, does not meet this need. It only meets the needs of the couple to stroke their egos. The guests are not going to give a damn where the couple fell in love or whatever. They only want to get their food and sit down-without having to play some stupid guessing game.
  • Jen4948 said:
    Do people really have that much trouble finding their table if they're not numbered sequentially? Honestly, even when the tables are numbered sequentially, it's not like they're in a straight line, you still have to figure out where the numbers are. You do this by using your eyes and finding the number...

    1  2   3  
    4  5   6
    7  8   8

    I mean, i that set up, table 4 is between table 1 and 7 if you look at it that way. You still have to walk around and find you table.

    How big are these weddings that you guys are wondering around like you're starving in the desert trying to find your table? Is it that hard to stand in a spot and scan the tables to find yours? I've been to 2 weddings now, that I recall, that had no numbers at all on the tables just place names, and I don't remember having any issue finding my table. Both weddings were about 120 people. 

    The only wedding where I DID have trouble finding my table was when the tables had no sign at all, and just had a different item on each table. It was a vintage theme. One table had an old telephone, one had some books, one had a phonograph, etc. The escort cards looked like old time sheet check-in cards, so they were pretty busy (i.e. not just a name and a table ID). There was a picture at the top of the escort card that matched an item on a table. It took everyone quite some time to figure that out. 
    It doesn't matter how big or small the wedding is. The point of wedding etiquette is to see that everyone's needs are met as soon as possible when they become apparent with a minimal wait time-including the need to find their seats readily without having to wander around looking for them. A "cute" naming scheme, where the tables are named according to something that has meaning only for the couple, especially if there is no map or chart of where the tables are and who is sitting where, does not meet this need. It only meets the needs of the couple to stroke their egos. The guests are not going to give a damn where the couple fell in love or whatever. They only want to get their food and sit down-without having to play some stupid guessing game.
    Agree to disagree, I guess. Are you also against buffets, because some guests have to wait for their food? Etiquette means does mean that you're seeing to your guests, but it's within reason. I don't view named tables noticeably more inconvenient than numbered tables, unless you're having a huge wedding. You apparently do. Everyone has their pet peeves, or aspects of society that they find difficult to navigate...it doesn't mean it's against etiquette to do it. 
  • PrettyGirlLostPrettyGirlLost A Land Filled with Unicorns and Cat Hair member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    Honestly, as a guest 1 2 3 4 5 is preferable to me over images or things that are meaningful to you, the couple. I'm just trying to find my seat so I can sit down and have dinner!

    If you are going to go the image route, I'd do as PPs suggested and have the images in conjunction with actual numbers.

    "Love is the one thing we're capable of perceiving that transcends time and space."


    Viczaesar
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Ninth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    MandyMost said:


    Jen4948 said:

    MandyMost said:

    Do people really have that much trouble finding their table if they're not numbered sequentially? Honestly, even when the tables are numbered sequentially, it's not like they're in a straight line, you still have to figure out where the numbers are. You do this by using your eyes and finding the number...


    1  2   3  
    4  5   6
    7  8   8

    I mean, i that set up, table 4 is between table 1 and 7 if you look at it that way. You still have to walk around and find you table.

    How big are these weddings that you guys are wondering around like you're starving in the desert trying to find your table? Is it that hard to stand in a spot and scan the tables to find yours? I've been to 2 weddings now, that I recall, that had no numbers at all on the tables just place names, and I don't remember having any issue finding my table. Both weddings were about 120 people. 

    The only wedding where I DID have trouble finding my table was when the tables had no sign at all, and just had a different item on each table. It was a vintage theme. One table had an old telephone, one had some books, one had a phonograph, etc. The escort cards looked like old time sheet check-in cards, so they were pretty busy (i.e. not just a name and a table ID). There was a picture at the top of the escort card that matched an item on a table. It took everyone quite some time to figure that out. 
    It doesn't matter how big or small the wedding is.

    The point of wedding etiquette is to see that everyone's needs are met as soon as possible when they become apparent with a minimal wait time-including the need to find their seats readily without having to wander around looking for them.

    A "cute" naming scheme, where the tables are named according to something that has meaning only for the couple, especially if there is no map or chart of where the tables are and who is sitting where, does not meet this need. It only meets the needs of the couple to stroke their egos. The guests are not going to give a damn where the couple fell in love or whatever. They only want to get their food and sit down-without having to play some stupid guessing game.

    Agree to disagree, I guess. Are you also against buffets, because some guests have to wait for their food? Etiquette means does mean that you're seeing to your guests, but it's within reason. I don't view named tables noticeably more inconvenient than numbered tables, unless you're having a huge wedding. You apparently do. Everyone has their pet peeves, or aspects of society that they find difficult to navigate...it doesn't mean it's against etiquette to do it. 

    Cut out the bullshit comparisons, will you?

    No, I'm not against buffets. What the fuck does that have to do with anything?

    What I'm against is, regardless of whether the meal is plated, stationed, buffet, or whatever, is having to wander around a bunch of tables trying to figure out where the couple wants me to sit because they decided to implement a cutesy table-naming scheme that has no meaning to anyone but themselves, rather than a straightforward system. It's not taking care of guests' needs, just the couple stroking their egos at the expense of their guests who just want to sit down and eat.
  • People will find the table with their number on it. You could put a card that says:  Head Table.
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