I’m not what you would call ‘neat’. This is largely due to my weakness for hoarding: train tickets, cinema stubs, birthday cards – you name it, I’ve kept it. The clutter all got a bit overwhelming last summer, so I tried to Marie Kondo my room. Things were going well for about 30 minutes, until I was forced to actually confront the growing mountain of clothes on my floor rather than just keep adding to it. Suddenly weary, I stuffed most of them down the back of the wardrobe, to be dealt with the next time I felt like tidying up (which, weirdly enough, hasn’t happened yet).
Naturally, then, the idea of designing and managing a reception venue fills me with fear. As someone who used to think that feng shui was that cute pup from the doge meme, how could I ever be expected to take complete control of a function suite and make the very best use of a space I was no doubt paying an arm and a leg for? But then it occurred to me: in this instance, I would be able to call upon the professionals for help. My fears receded.
With this is mind, I decided to educate myself on the nitty-gritty of table settings and their configurations, so I approached a number of experts to ask for their advice. Enough space, they all agreed, is the key factor. “There needs to be room to move around,” says Bridget Sneddon of Through the Looking Glass Events. “For example, if you’re having a self-service buffet meal, there should be space for your guests to get to the food counter and back to their seat easily without bumping into anyone. If it’s table service, make sure there is clear access from the kitchen to each table. Will you be using this area for dancing later? If so, you might want to think about if the tables can fold away, if they can be lifted, or if they come apart in sections.”
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