Top tables: ideas for keeping guests on the edge of their seats

With wedding guests having to stay seated (for now) thanks to Covid, here’s a few reception ideas for keeping yours occupied and entertained, right where they are, courtesy of Scotland’s brightest and best


If ever there was a time to invest in spectacular centrepieces, this is it. Blooms are always big news, but in these trying pandemic times, a bit of colour and texture, not to mention something to focus on, goes a whole lot further. Carve out, if you can, a little more room in the budget for table florals, and think lavish, think lovely, and above all, think low, so that guests can still actually see each other.


The key here is interest and comfort: think outside the box, and aim for softly lit, layered tablescapes that’ll get guests talking, yet afford them room to stretch out, socially distance, put their clutch bags down and pop their elbows on the table to lean in (not too close, mind) for a catch up. Chairs, too, might need to be reconsidered. The rustic, wooden numbers that work so well with your barnyard theme might have guests cursing your name by hour three of a numb bum, so prioritise padding and support where possible. And brides and grooms? Focus on creating the most romantic sweetheart table you can – it’s the perfect excuse to take time for yourselves.


Better channel your inner Lumière, because dinner is now the main event (not, let’s face it, that we needed any excuse to treat it as such). While we’re not quite expecting you to compel the cutlery to sing and dance, if you do have a few extra quid floating around from having to slash your numbers, prioritising catering for any additional spending is a sensible idea. Not only will this somewhat make up for the limits placed on guests’ experience and keep them busy, but also bear in mind that this might be their first proper meal out for a while. Make it count. Locally sourced ingredients, creative presentation and personalised cocktails are good places to start.


If you’d have asked us in 2019 which wedding element we thought was most in danger of becoming extinct, it would have, hands down, been favours. Increasingly, cash-strapped couples were opting to abandon them entirely, allocating more budget to the food, entertainment and photography, blaming the likelihood of their DIY tokens been left, forgotten, at the end of the night as the reason why.

Now, however, after over a year of this pandemic, favours are back with a bang. Whether it be to entertain (we’ve seen cute crosswords, mini jigsaws and quizzes being dished out), feed (everything from Himalayan rock salt, to hot sauce, to elevated chocolates have made mouth-watering appearances), beautify (mini lip balms are the one) or dress up (glow stick bracelets, anyone?) guests, the thinking is that everyone has pretty much moved heaven and earth to be there, so they deserve the appreciation – and for their time at their tables to be the most exciting it can be (who doesn’t like presents?!). If you want to go one step further, then a personal, hand written note is also a thoughtful touch, especially for older relatives.




We hear you: entertainment is a sore point. While you may not be able to have the full-on party you and your pals most certainly deserve, that doesn’t mean the night has to be as dull as dishwater. Far from it. Your guests can’t move – so why not get the entertainers to come to your guests? Magicians, singing waiters, caricaturists…there are plenty of acts out there who can weave their way around the tables, dazzling and delighting everyone in their path. Running a pub quiz or ‘Mr and Mrs’ game might be fun too.

You’re also allowed ‘focused’ entertainment (i.e. when guests aren’t chatting but watching and listening to your performer), so instead of cancelling that beleaguered band of yours, sit down with them and have a re-think. Can they help generate an atmosphere? Can they turn the night into a bit of a concert (how we’ve missed those!)? Instead of dance tracks that will just remind guests of what they’re missing, can they suggest songs that your nearest and dearest will just simply enjoy listening to? All is not lost.