Hello friends!

Happy almost weekend! Can you believe this weather?! It is so beautiful. We are off to Fairhope, AL for a beautiful destination wedding this weekend–we can’t wait to enjoy a little R&R at The Grand Hotel.

Today I wanted to share about the how to’s for a formal sit down dinner reception. Typically in the South we tend to have less formal dinners at our reception. They are usually buffet style, more relaxed with seating but not assigned. I am seeing more southern brides want the full dining experience before we get into party mode. Personally, I love that a sit down dinner lets us create the tablescape that most brides see & want. If you choose to go this route, there are a few things to keep in mind!

First & Foremost, your guest list. Remember that managing your guest list will be critical. You will need an exact head count and meal choices. This may involve calling friends and family if they did not send in their RSVP card. Without an accurate head count and RSVPs, it will be quite difficult for you to create your seating chart, and escort cards.

Menu. There are a variety of options here. You can offer menu options which your guests can choose on their response card or you can just have a standard set menu and everyone receives the same dish. If you have your guests choose their entree, that information will need to be put on a seating chart for your chef as well as a key or code on your escort cards so the servers know what dish to serve that guest.

Seating Chart. This is where you have to decide what Aunt to put where, what crazy friend needs to be away from your grandmother, and keep the kids in a place where they can have fun too. We recommend you number your tables by evens on the left and odds on the right. Start at the back of your reception area with the lowest and work your way down. This will help people find their tables easiest. If you have menu specifications or dietary restrictions of some guests, provide your chef a copy of your seating chart as well. Also provide your wedding planner with an alphabetized guest list as well as a by table number list. This helps tremendously in ensuring no one is missing.

Escort Cards. Each guest will have their name on what is called an escort card. This indicates what table they will be seated at. There are many fun and unique ways to display your escort cards so it becomes part of the decor and charm of your reception. Be sure to work with your designer so all your paper items are branded together for a cohesive look.

Let them eat! Now that you have worked out your RSVPs, menu choices, seating chart and escort cards, it is time for the reception! Here are some of our favorite escort cards, menus & table numbers from some of fave Birmingham Brides.

Escort Cards

Photo Credit Arden Photography

Photo Credit Kelly Berry Photography

Eric and Jamie Photography


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