The reception feast is the most important aspect of a modern Chinese wedding. Usually extravagant and opulent, receptions are a chance for the families (especially the groom’s family who, traditionally, pays for the feast) to show off their wealth and happiness about the new marriage.
Even with the guest list decided, there is still more work to do: the table and seating arrangements, which are key to making your guests feel welcomed and comfortable at the reception. Furthermore, the Chinese concept of “feng shui” is important to making sure the decorations and placements are balanced, ensuring a fantastic party.
Table Placement and Room Setting
Pay attention to the layout of your banquet room. Check for areas of the room that jut out, are “sharp” or take the form of a blade or knife, and partition them off. Make sure that the windows are not covered up and that no tables block the windows – this will allow for a free flow of ‘qi’ energy and ensure a festive atmosphere.
Tables in a Chinese wedding banquet are usually large and round and should be placed evenly and openly around the room. There should be enough tables and chairs to cater for every guest.
Seating Arrangements for Guests
Creating a seating arrangement is one of the more difficult tasks in the wedding planning process. Some guests might not RSVP until the last minute, so don’t finalize your seating arrangement until a few days before the wedding.
When deciding the seating arrangement, seat guests that know one another together. Husbands and wives should not be seated across from one another, and singles should be seated together. Try to match up guests of similar interests and age at the same tables.
Seating Arrangements for the Bridal Party
Typically, the bridal party, including bride, groom, parents, grandparents, best man and maid of honor, are seated at a ‘head table’ near the front of the reception hall. Some couples prefer to separate the bride’s and groom’s families into two tables to indicate who paid for the wedding, while others like to seat everyone together at one large table. Traditionally, the bride sits with the groom and his family at a right-hand table, while the bride’s family is seated at a left-hand table.