Perhaps the most memorable of all dining experiences, the first of your married life...
No other meal will hold a candle to it or have as much significance to you as a couple, as this meal. You want taste sensations; for your guests to weep (as they will, seeing you walk down the aisle) at the sight of your efforts; for it to set the precedent of weddings for years to come (a girl can dream!).
You owe it to the food, your partner, and your fans (sorry...guests) to create the perfect setting: we’re talking scrupulously dressed tables, meticulously placed centre pieces and politically thought out seating plans. Just call us dream-makers (hey, we can fantasise about creating the perfect wedding too!)
So here are our top tips on how to ramp up the wow-factor on your tables, Eclectic style!
TABLES AND SEATING
An unassuming place to start on adding glamour to your day but deciding the perfect table set-up can really pave the way for an atmospheric celebration. Your venue will be able to advise their norms, what works best in the space and how to get the most out of positioning of the room; here are a few ideas on how to add allure to the different seating options.
Nothing says grandeur like a long line of symmetrically placed tableware, the most inviting dining sequence, and the most useful when trying to impede those little family feuds (allowing you to seat your reasonable-but-grudge-bearing Uncle the greatest possible distance away from your apologetic-yet-naturally-clumsy Cousin who damaged his car at your not-getting-involved Aunt’s birthday… 12 years ago)
King Street Townhouse
Yes the banquet style is an all rounder, plus it’s a table decorators dream; allowing for diversity and decadence all in one arrangement. Think grand hurricane flower vases with petite tea-lights and subtle gem decorations scattered along. Or stunning silver candelabras placed every 3 spaces with beautiful green ivy woven through the bases down the length of the table, finished with delicate hand written place names at each setting. The length of the tables really refines the splendour and allows you to play around with decorations when honing in on your perfect style.
Great John Street hotel
The most sociable option for a dining experience, you can expect this traditional seating formation to create a real memorable buzz during the meal. Well, memorable until the wine starts pouring at least!
The round table is a great host to the impressive-one-of-a-kind-doesn’t-need-anything-else-in-its-shadow centrepiece. You can find some really great and sizeable options; we’ve seen some remarkable pieces, from ornate candelabras with ivory hand-carved candlesticks, to artificial and dried out beaded pearl strung trees that reach to the ceiling.
Of course you can also opt for less is more and select a more modest centrepiece, the most beautiful flower arrangements to match your bouquet or colour schemes, with some fairy-lights streamed through, finishing it off of course positioned on a mirrored placemat. The beauty is: anything goes on a round table set up, play around with different styles and find what better suits your day.
The top table
Now this is where it’s difficult to break with tradition. The top table is normally a long rectangular setting with guests seated on only one side while facing the rest of the room and the other tables. Together with your new life partner by your side and those closest to the pair of you, you watch over the rest of your guests as they celebrate the happiest couple. Onlookers see what a beautiful day they have been asked to be a part of and drink and be merry in your honour.
Eleven Didsbury park
When it comes to the top table it really is a case of choosing the best seat in the house and letting the rest come naturally. Of course, each venue will have their own suggestions as to where the top table should go or where it is usually set, and which spot offers the best backdrop.
You should consider somewhere picturesque that will add character to your wedding photos and be able to perfectly capture the best moments of your day. When looking at decorations for your own table, you can completely exaggerate on what has been selected for the other tables. Go for a more captivating centrepiece, for a brighter colour, or for 20 more tea-lights. Or, you could go completely rogue and be the only table with fairy lights flawlessly framing your top table tribe.
It’s your day; you make the rules and don’t let anybody forget it!
So you’ve picked a venue that either lets you be as creative as you like and basically paint a blank canvas to really express your signature wedding style. Or you’ve picked a venue that has its own character and only needs a few finishing touches to remind your guests exactly who they are celebrating.
We applaud the visionaries out there who can make a venue their own but at Eclectic we’re lucky enough that each of our hotels offer completely unique settings for the base of your theme. We get to see all kinds of innovative designs and additions, and as sharing is caring here are a few of our go-to ideas!
As the name suggests the most timeless of themes, and it offers a wide array of elegant possibilities, a vintage wedding theme could take you back to Prohibition 1920’s or Art Deco ‘30’s and ‘40’s – think pearls, pastel pinks and lots of lace!
Being a sophisticated Victorian school house yet somewhat of a chameleon, the charming and romantic setting of Great John Street pairs so nicely with whichever wedding theme you choose, but there is something about this property’s ambiance that blends so perfectly with intricate vintage touches.
Plus, the homely feel at this venue means you'll always find a spot for your decorations – there’s plenty of hand-carved console tables and impressive shelving for you to pop your props if you run out of table space.
Be sure to accessorise where possible, nothing says vintage like a mixture of bunting, birdcages and beautiful blooms, and it’s easy to get creative with a vintage theme because everything is so quaint and delicate, meaning you can find (or make!) some really memorable pieces.
For the floral centre-pieces why not try a cluster of glass jars with a mixture of rustic string and white lace as a ribbon around each rim, as a motif across the table you can then use the string and lace to tie up your guest favours with the same bows! Chair covers are not for everyone, especially as there are so many delicate seating options out there, but a crisp white chair cover can really add elegance to a vintage setting, so certainly give that some thought as it might just complete the look!
Luxury as a theme does depend somewhat on the chosen venue but our newest Eclectic property, the aptly named King Street Townhouse; the king of views; the king of weddings; the king of luxury, is the perfect pairing for those wishing for a wow-factor day.
We’ve already seen so many beautiful days held at this venue, the Italian renaissance building with subtle nods to its former life as a bank offers the perfect backdrop for those wanting to evince extravagance. Think whiter than white flower arrangements set in antique silver finished vases, surrounded by ambient flickers of candlelight in matching antique silver tea-light holders.
Or add vibrancy to the scheme by matching your bouquet with deep pink flower arrangements to be displayed on each table in long stemmed martini-glass vases complete with a scattering of tea-lights around the base. Whatever your colour scheme, when hiring the South Terrace space at this property be sure to strategically place your top table with the views in mind, whether you prefer having the town hall as the backdrop to your photos, or if you would rather gaze over the city skyline during your first meal as a married couple – remember to take advantage of the venues most unique feature and really add to the most memorable day of your life!
For those wanting to bind their day with intimacy and tranquillity, an urban chic motif will reaffirm everything you ever believed about the perfect wedding theme.
The charming and gentle touches available as parts of this composition are in abundance, from lustrous lanterns as a walk-way lighting the path into the dining room, to seasonal flower arrangements that really capture the setting of the venue.
You guessed it, we’ve got properties that can completely harmonise with this setting too – our South Manchester properties Eleven Didsbury Park and Didsbury House hotel neatly tucked away in the leafy suburbs of Didsbury, where the Eclectic journey started! These period properties with their fine Victorian finishes complete the look for any Urban Chic theme, they offer unique dining settings and with them being a short walk away from each other why not find ways to involve each venue to give guests a really exclusive experience.
The versatility of an urban chic theme can make deciding decorative pieces rather challenging as there are so many examples available. As an underlying rule our suggestion is to concentrate on blending everything together to offer a visually beautiful day, there are so many textures and colours at the Didsbury properties that will add to the style, so really consider what can seamlessly connect every part of your day.
FINISHING TOUCHES (courtesy of Great John Street...)
You’ll find yourself collecting a myriad of decorative pieces for the table, and there’ll no doubt be matching items that you didn’t really plan on getting, but you just can’t resist using. These are the bits however that also don’t have a place at the dining table (no matter how many people you try and seat at the bar!) so depend on the rest of the venue being utilised. Fear not compulsive buyer, we got this! Here’s our pre- approved list of irresistible romantic garnishes that bring extra character to your theme.
We’ve seen plenty of timeless classics but the one we see time and again that just perfectly conveys the purpose of the day is the free standing Love letters. Heck, we see them used so much at Great John street we couldn’t resist getting some for our couples to enjoy! They can be integrated to add magic at any point of the day, not only do they bring an element of fun – think of the selfie opportunities! But they are a great way to light up those dance floors! There’s no greater photo-prop than the 4ft light up letters to make an impression, and can often be tailored to the venue so they can fit in any corner!
Post that’s guaranteed to be filled with nice messages and not a request to part with money? Sign us up! This lovely added extra is a great alternative to the wedding guest book and can be dressed up to suit your theme and colour scheme. If your creative side isn’t quite up to the task of designing an authentic Royal Mail looking one check if your venue has anything to recommend, we are suckers for all things vintage at Great John street so hooked ourselves up with a lovely cream cast iron post box – one more thing to tick off your ever expanding shopping list!
Whether you have a sweet tooth yourself or a dozen little ones to occupy you can depend on the sweet station to appeal to guests of all ages. To ensure the ever increasing dietary requirements are catered for make sure you go for the biggest variety available; homemade truffles, chocolate dipped strawberries or classic tuck shop pick ‘n’ mix – anything goes, plus the more appealing it is the less eyes will be straying to the wedding cake!
Interactive drinks station
People come to us for ideas, on what works at the venue and what we’ve seen that is really different and memorable, and of course to best showcase the unique style of the venue. We’ve found ourselves wanting to offer something extra to our couples, something a little bit new, something different and fun – not only because that’s what people are there to do on a wedding day, celebrate the love of a great couple and have fun in their honour – because we want to make sure we do our part to guarantee a great time and to support the magic of the day! So to encompass all of that we have put together some really fabulous interactive drinks packages: we’ve got the wedding wheelbarrow as an outdoor feature for those wanting to grab a cheeky bottle of beer; we’ve got the more elegant pimp my Prosecco table, where you can play around with different flavours and create your own drinks; and then we’ve got the gin parlour, for those who simply can’t resist shenani-gins! Whatever your weapon your guests will always have a drink to toast the happy couple!
We could go on, but we’ll let you get back to planning!
How it all came together…