Table Lighting to keep the Conversation Flowing
Sometimes its the simple things that have a large impact on the social minefield that is a wedding breakfast, which is why I bring up the humble candle and why it can save the day.
Here’s why: – The typical wedding breakfast is served to ten guests sitting at a round table, straight forward enough and there is lots of chatter and discussions of how the service went and the Birdies mothers choice of hat etc. There will come a time however when the conversation naturally flags a little, usually half way through the main course when you might want to talk to someone other than your immediate neighbour and look across the expanse of table cloth to the other side.
I have seen many times how the walls of a marquee or hotel dining room have sconce lights or cool up-lighters for dramatic effect, but there is little to nothing in the centre of the dining table, the result is that you are effectively trying from now on to chat to a silhouette, so try as you might the conversation wilts after a few minutes as some sort of visual feedback is vital. This of course is happening all around the room. I can predict how long the party atmosphere will last with just a quick glance around the room setup for dinner, it is really that dramatic.
Obviously consideration for the size, height and placement of flowers in the centre is important too, low and pretty or tall and thin for elegance, nothing to block views across the table.
The solution? A few simple tealight candles or similar in the centre of the table, this will illuminate the faces from the centre and allow comfortable conversation across the table, this has the welcoming effect of a much more social wedding breakfast, the conversation continues unabated right through to the moment the Best Man dreads, the calling for silence for the start of the speeches.
There is also another rather useful side effect of course, in that the now more animated conversations make for much better photographs that can now capture the atmosphere of the evening without resorting to flash or additional distracting lighting.
more animated conversations make for much better photographs that can now capture the atmosphere of the evening without resorting to flash or additional distracting lighting. - Douglas Fry, Wedding Photographer
Designing Your Table Decorations
This sounds unlikely, but is one of the key factors that can decide how long the conversation and party lasts during dinner. Why? Well there are several reasons…..
A typical venue has round tables with ten places, obviously when everyone sits down the conversation is animated and everything bounces along, however there will come a point quite naturally when everyone looks for a change of conversation partner, but can they? Your fellow guests are a relatively long way away; can you see over the central floral display easily? And more importantly is there enough light in the center that radiates outwards? Often the walls of a venue or marquee are lit with up lighters, so there is a high probability that your new partner will be a silhouette, and conversation always falters after a few minutes.
You definitely need to ensure that there are enough tea lights or pin lights from above reflecting light off the white tablecloth, so that everyone can see all the guests around the table easily. Surprisingly it’s not that often I see this, and after about an hour or so the hubbub in the room dies down, not something you will want on the big day.
Make sure decorations are low or higher than eye level, ensure too there is enough light during the evening on the tables. Do this and your guests will chat all evening 🙂
Make sure decorations are low or higher than eye level, ensure too there is enough light during the evening on the tables. Do this and your guests will chat all evening :) Douglas - Photographer
The boys met at Cote in Wimbledon for lunch and to review the organisational plans for the day.
Katie prepared for her big day at her parents home, aided by her Mum and bridesmaids of course. It was a busy household but we did manage to get a number of shots of the immediate family before setting off for the Emmanuel Church a short distance away.
There were nearly 200 guests to a get into the building and seated before the vintage car arrived with Katie and Jonathan (her Father). The beautiful service was punctuated with hymns and readings and culminated in the signing of the registers before the couple – Katie and James recessed happily back out as husband and wife.
The main attraction of the reception venue, which was the elegant Cannizaro House on Wimbledon Common, was the truly spectacular flower arrangements. Blossoming pink and white cherry trees on every table and an inverted flowerbed suspended from the ceilings, basically a living ceiling of colour. There was a drinks reception in the orangery and photos in the sunken garden before being called for supper, then fireworks after dinner.
The guests all dined well and danced into the night. Katie threw her bouquet back down the grand staircase before retiring upstairs.
The full website of photographs from the day is here – Full Website Cannizaro Wedding and our favourites here – Best wedding photographs Cannizaro Wimbeldon, finally the album layouts – Jorgensen Album Cannizaro Hotel London
Hi Sam, Please can you tell Douglas that we are delighted with the photos. We will definitely be ordering lots when we get back from honeymoon. I have accepted the friend request and would love you to tag me in the photos so they will go on my wall. Many, many thanks Katie, bride.
Dear Sam and Douglas, Wow! We have spent an hour and 40 minutes going through them just once - they are wonderful. We are so grateful. It is almost too much to take in at once. It will take us a long time to sift and consider the options. We might even need to meet as part of the ordering process, if that is possible. I am sure that the same thoughts are going through the minds of Katie and James as they sit beside the pool in Antigua and chat over every picture. We will come back to you in due course. With very best wishes, Jonathan, Father of the bride.