Time to play the name game

At a loss as to what to call the tables at your wedding? Allow some previous brides to be your inspiration as they reveal what monikers they chose…

“Our tables were named after tennis legends. My husband is a big fan of playing and watching tennis so this was his stamp on the day. We had little tennis racquet wine charms on the glasses at the wedding breakfast too and our table plan had the guests’ names printed on a tennis racquet.”
Stephanie McDowall married Alistair Sym on 9th September 2011

“We named each of our tables after different trees that tenuously represented the guests. We thought this was absolutely perfect for the location [Dunglass Estate] and matched the overall feel of the day. Coincidently, both of our mum’s favourite trees is the cherry blossom, so we named the top table ‘Cherry Blossom’ and had two of these trees at either side of the top table.”
Dawn Kelly married Dali Dahmane on 6th August 2011

Why not take your inspiration from the Golden Age of Hollywood and name your tables after classic movies such as It’s A Wonderful Life?

“We named our table after breeds of sheep as Gareth’s surname is Shepherd. That was my uncle’s fab idea.”
Sacha Carroll married Gareth Shepherd on 16th July 2011

“I love horses so we decided to call the tables after my favourite horse breeds. It was important to have a horse theme at the wedding as I was relocating to England with Richard’s recent posting in the Army and had to give up my horses for the move.”
Emma-Jane Draper married Richard Kerr on 6th August 2011

A butterfly holder and pink font give even football-themed tables a feminine touch
“We named our tables after Glasgow nightclubs because of where we met. We had Bonkers, Archaos, The Arches, The Tunnel, Bamboo, Garage and Shack! All the classics!”
Lyndsey Howard married Joe Teaz on 20th August 2011

“Rob and I love travelling. We’ve travelled to and experienced so many special places together, so we named our tables after our favourite locations. Each one told a story and was a good conversation starter for our guests: Serengeti, Mount Kilimanjaro, Inca Trail, Isle of Harris etc.”
Rachael Hamilton married Robert Barrie on 9th July 2011

“My husband is a huge football fan and because I had control over a lot of the other decisions, he got to name the tables. He chose to name them after famous football players.”
Joanne Hitchen married Barry Craig on 8th July 2012

Calling your tables after Monopoly properties is sure to be a talking point
“Our table names were all Scottish whiskies. We thought it would be nice to have a different whisky on each table, and it brought a Scottish element to the wedding.”
Elaine Doherty married Alan Balmer on 28th April 2012

“We named our tables after David Bowie songs. His music is very personal to Andrew and I. It was how we struck up conversation, talking about his music.”
Laura Vickers married Andrew Park on 10th September 2011

“We picked our favourite things from a trip to New York; Paul picked half and I picked half, so we had the top table as The Waldorf Astoria. Our other names included Serendipity 3, a little café we went to, and The Radio City Music Hall, where we went to see a show.”
Rebecca Barnett married Paul Moir on 9th July 2011

“Our table names were named after different shapes of jelly sweeties. There were the Moustaches, the Smiley Faces, the Y-Fronts, the Voetjes (Dutch for ‘little feet’). Every guest got a sweetie in the shape of their table name.”
Tanja De Belder married Ian Morrison on 17th September 2011

“We chose to use street names from our childhood and where our parents and grandparents grew up. We used pictures of us, our parents or our grandparents on the table names. As both our grandparents have passed away, we thought it would be a nice way to include them in the day.”
Leigh Stoddart married Damien Shearer on 22nd October 2011

“The tables were named after New Zealand vineyards and wines from the region Marlborough where we used to live. We managed to get vineyard specific wine for each table and then had a house wine also from Marlborough. We spent many happy hours cycling through the vineyards tasting the wine and we hoped that people would be able to share our experience by going between tables tasting the different wines on each.”
Claire McLean married Neil McPhee on 10th September 2011

“I named the tables in a 1920s style in keeping with the rest of the day, such as the Ladyhops and Razzle Dazzle. I put the bridesmaids and ushers at two different tables and called the bridesmaids table The Flappers and the ushers table The Sheiks. The top table was called Fred and Ginger.”
Julia Waclawski married Ross Niven on 24th March 2012

Left: a very pretty seating plan where the tables are named after types of tree
Right: Butterflies are an eternally popular wedding theme

“After a lot of deliberation we eventually named our tables after characters from the TV comedy Blackadder. As well as being a favourite TV series of ours, we knew that a lot of our friends and family like it as well and would appreciate the joke! Also, our venue dated from the 16th century so we thought the table names fitted well with the historical surroundings.”
Lisa Pirie married Simon Larner on 5th May 2012

“We both love to travel and went travelling together for a year soon after we met. Our tables were named after places in the world – places we have been to and places we want to go to. We displayed the seating plan on an old-fashioned map and pin board and used luggage tags to write our guests names on. To keep the theme, we ripped up pages from an atlas and made small paper aeroplanes out of them which we popped in the wine glasses on the tables.”
Joely Harper married Seán Manley on 8th September 2012

Be seated

Sophie McCorry Day of the new Secret Quintessentially Weddings Guide reveals how to handle seating plans and the odd spot of matchmaking

Grab a bottle of wine, your fiancé and a sheet of A1 paper – it’s seating chart time, otherwise known as the wedding day equivalent of a military operation!
A good rule of thumb is to group guests by interests and to take account of their relationships to each other. If you have any unfailingly witty guests, try and seat one per table. Laughter is the very best ice-breaker.
By all means dabble in playing cupid by seating single guests together, but only on the same table (and preferably opposite so they can make eyes at each other). Never sit them next to each other as: a) it takes some of the thrill of the chase away and b) it is too flagrant.
Adopt a stiff upper lip when it comes to family politics. They really shouldn’t air their issues on your big day anyhow, but do be kind: don’t seat any hostile relatives together unless you like a spot of fisticuffs – verbal or otherwise!
Don’t be afraid to mix up generations and be eclectic with your tables, but always seat at least two couples per table who know one another so no-one feels adrift.
Handle guests without a plus-one or date with care – we’ve all been there one time or another. Try and seat them on a mixed table of friendly faces.
Avoid your seating descending into a social experiment by clustering friendship groups together, but throw in a few ‘wildcards’ who you think will gel.
Beware of the dynamics of exes and new partners – seat at least four couples apart.
We love including a little card with each guest’s place setting that gives a little teaser about the person sat next to them (a lovely introduction if they don’t know them). It can be how you met them, an interesting fact about them or a question such as ‘Get Lauren to explain how she came to be on the top of a mountain-side in the Andes with just a goat and a bottle of Absolut Vodka for company’.
Extract taken from The Secret Quintessentially Weddings Guide, published by Quintessentially Publishing, £24.99. Text and illustrations by Sophie McCorry Day with a foreword from Anabel Fielding and Caroline Hurley. For more information visit www.quintessentiallyweddings.com