Your Reception Venue - from a florists' view
By Petal Pushers STL February 1, 2022
You've found the perfect place to celebrate your first day as a married couple. After a long search, or maybe after one look, you've fallen in love and cannot wait to kick back and party with your friends.
But wait. There's more to consider than just signing on the dotted line when it comes to your reception. Keep reading to see your space through the eyes of your florist - the one who will make your party come alive.
First things first: Choose a staff as well as a venue
When you commit to a venue, you're entering into a relationship with the venue itself and the staff that will help you. This is paramount. You want to put together the best wedding team possible.
You want to be sure that the people you've chosen to help you on your big day have your back and won't let you down. You need to know they're reliable, organized, knowledgeable, responsive and are just as invested in your wedding as you are. Because once you sign that contract, there are no do-overs.
Second: Think About Who Will be Making Your Floor Plan
About a month before the wedding, and maybe sooner if you have special requirements or a complicated vision, the venue staff will put together your Floor Plan. Many times, venues have in-house wedding coordinators who will take care of this. They'll use a computer program to diagram the number of tables you'll have, the size and shape, the configuration of the tables, and also include placement of the bar, dance floor, cake table, gift table, memorial table and any other specialty items you want in the room. The size and placement of your head table preference (a King's Table, Feast Table, or Sweetheart Table) should be noted on the Plan as well. Once we get your floor plan, we'll color code it according to table arrangement type and flow pattern so your room will look its best.
You really need to have clear communication with this person, and make sure she's on board with your vision. She should be able to give you good advice, but, at the same time, not overwhelm you with venue requirements and 'we always do it this way' ideas. It's YOUR day.
Third: Table Size Matters
A couple of things to think about here -
First, if you choose round tables, rounds come in 2 sizes - 8 person rounds and 10 person rounds. As far as floral centerpieces go, you need to be sure that the arrangement size and vessel works with the table size. For example, if you love tall, rectangle waterfall arrangements, these are big and lush. They may overpower an 8 person table. Or, if you're into floating candle trios, because they tend to be a little smaller in terms of mass, you may need to have them built on a dish to give them a little more oomph if you're putting them on 10 person rounds.
Or, if you choose long, feast tables, traditionally, these tables tend to be very narrow (a double wide King's Table is featured to the right. Imagine this table cut in half length-wise for your guest tables. It gets tight.) Usually, by the time a set staff gets a plate, silverware, stemware, napkin and bread plate on these, not to mention chargers if you decide to use them, they get pretty crowded. Narrow, small arrangements usually work best here, think groupings of pretty bud vases and candles or even laid greens with flowers tucked
fourth: tablecloths and table cracks
Yes, you read that right. Table cracks. You're probably already thinking about table linen colors, but don't forget size. For that lush, elegant look, you want to make sure your tablecloths come all the way to the floor, that all the table legs are covered. It's just more professional.
As well, if you'll have a Feast Table or King's Table, and if you cover it with a tablecloth rather than using a Farmhouse Table, ask if the venue can accommodate a double table setup. This gives you a lot more width and room (two 8-ft long tables side by side for the length that will seat your wedding party as shown to the left) than if you use a single table. However.... with the extra room comes the issue of the crack between the two tables. Where the two tablecloths meet, there is always a visible crack. We really like to keep these cracks covered, so we suggest a piece of green garland embellished with florals and accents, or lengths of cheese cloth (white or your wedding color) to cover where the tables join. Once this is in place, you can add in bridesmaid bouquet vases, pillar candles, or tall arrangements. This table is the main focus of the party, and you want it to be 'Take your Breath Away' gorgeous.
Fifth: Follow the Light
Try to visit your venue at dusk or during the evening. How bright is it? Are the lights in shades and tones that will compliment your color palate or make it look washed out? Which areas are brighter than others? These are all things you want to take into account, and all things that can be balanced with florals and candles. Airy, open arrangements let in more light and are visually warmer. Candles (if your venue allows them, if not, high quality battery operated ones are a viable option) not only light up a room, but bring warmth and romance to visually ho-hum spaces. Don't be afraid to go all out here - candles and airy florals are usually very cost-effective options and add tremendous ka-pow to your party.
So, when you're thinking about choosing your venue, or figuring out how to move forward after you've signed the contract, don't forget to take these points into consideration. Your wedding is special. You deserve to have a night you'll remember for the rest of your life. And it should be perfect. A little bit of planning and forethought can go a long way towards creating that perfect, romantic celebration that you and your guests will be talking about for years to come.