picture of a horseshoe table setupIt’s just six days till our wedding, guests start arriving tomorrow and Scott and I are figuring out lots of last-minute details. Like where people will sit at the reception, and how to set up the tables. To me, the traditional Norwegian horseshoe set up is my idea of a wedding, but in the US that’s strange; they use lots of round tables instead. The reception site we’re using obviously prefers the round tables. Maybe they’re easier for the waitstaff? Or maybe it’s just less work for them to set up round tables as that’s what they already have in the room. The guy we were meeting at actually told us that the horseshoe arrangement has gone out of fashion. Hardly anyone uses that anymore, he told us. Well, last week there was a couple who wanted the horseshoe for their wedding dinner, but they were in their sixties, he announced.

Of course I tried going to the Norwegian wedding discussion board to ask whether this could be true. I mean, did horseshoe tables really go out of fashion? Unfortunately, the wedding site with the most activity is dittbryllup.no, a wedding magazine website that has the most appalling forum software in existence. In fact, it’s now so broken that nobody has successfully posted a note since May 14th. I don’t think these people can realise what an asset they have: hundreds of brides and grooms post to this forum every week, it’s the best community in Norway for weddings, and people spend lots of money on weddings. And they put absolutely no effort into making sure the community actually has a platform that works, and allowing the community to connect with the potential vendors that the community actually wants to find. Dittbryllup.no must be a strikingly clueless company.

There aren’t really any other active Norwegian wedding forums. There’s Kvinneguiden, that has some wedding talk. And a few brides set up a new forum at bryllup.diskusjonsforum.no – you can set up forums for free at diskusjonsforum.no. Nobody’s really there yet, though. There are active Swedish and Danish forums, that lots of Norwegians use, but not all traditions are the same and the vendors are all different. The US forums are mostly useless because traditions are very different and vendors mostly irrelevant.

So I’ll try my blog instead: are horseshoe tables really out of date in Norwegian weddings? Are they more work for the people serving than small tables? (The small round tables would each fit 5-6 people.) Are they less social, less fun?

18 thoughts on “tables, seating, and wedding websites

  1. Leif Harboe

    It is so much nicer to speak with people around a round table. You get closer in every sense. Happy wedding!!

  2. Gro

    I have never been to a not-horseshoe-table wedding, and jan arild says the same, so this
    change must have happen quite recently. I like horseshoe.

  3. Jill

    My neighbour said the same, Gro, though she also said she’d been to a konfirmasjon a few weeks ago with small tables and that it had been very unsocial – people had only spoken with people at the same table and she’d felt disconnected from everyone else. And yet Leif Harboe here, and lots of other people say the opposite… I dunno what we’ll do – I tried setting up the seating chart for horseshoe last night and I have to say it’s really hard…

  4. scott

    My guess it that whatever the arrangement, the people at the table are the most important component in this equation. If you want the horseshoe, let’s do the horseshoe.

  5. scott

    My guess is that whatever the arrangement, the people at the table are the most important component in this equation. If you want the horseshoe, let’s do the horseshoe.

  6. Gro

    Yes, hard, I belive you. But this horseshoing must be a all around
    Norway – tradition, I’ve been to weddings in the very north and the
    very south and they all do horseshoing. Sweet, I’ve never thought
    about it before:)

  7. Francois Lachance

    Scott and Jill,

    The number of people invited to the reception may be a factor in your decision. A horseshoe provides nice clear sightlines to whatever speech making activity may be involved in the celebrations. Round tables distract from centralized fesitivities since some folks will have their backs to the main table. I would venture a numerical indicator: a hundred or less is nicely covered by a horseshoe; two hundred or more and the room is best served by the relay of round tables.

  8. torill

    There’s something very “familiar” about having everybody around the same table. In all gatherings of friends and family we always try to be around the same table, to be at another table is to be excluded. But I guess one question is: is there another room to sit, mingle and circulate in, or is the horseshoe the only option? Is that the spot you’ll return to, or will it be cleared, moved aside and other tables – or the same – spread in the room for the chatting, dancing, cakes, what ever?

  9. Linn

    Organising seating arrangements is such a hellish nightmare! I feel your pain!

    All the weddings I’ve been to have been in horseshoe formation and it certainly does have an inclusive effect on the party. I’ve been to Christmas parties with round tables and it made me feel kinda left out from the rest of the party.

    I agree with Francois, though – if you’re having a large party it might be for the best with round tables. But I definitely feel a horseshoe formation is more convenient for such prestigious occasions – keeps the party focused on why they’re there. But then again – I’m a traditional type of gal, I’m not really in tune with all the latest fashions.

    I can’t believe that we don’t have more wedding forums! I’m really suprised – that’s just so odd!

    Good luck!

  10. Kjerstin

    All the weddings I’ve been to, have used horse-shoe-variations, and I always felt uncomfortable with them. Generally the space is too confined (nowhere to put your purse, no chance to move your chair) and there are only, at best, three people to talk to: The two on either side, and the one right across from you – unless the table is too wide. If the hosts set you up with an untalkative stranger, then you’re done for. It all feels overly stiff and formal, and if you have to go to the ladies’ room during the 3-hour dinner, everybody will scowl at you because of the noise you’re making in the effort to ease your chair out enough to stand up. Right now I feel all the things I hate about weddings, could be solved with a round table set up 🙂

    On the other hand, a lot of people like their weddings to be stiff and formal. And I don’t have any round-table experiences to compare with, maybe those have lots of inherent problems too…

  11. Kjerstin

    All the weddings I’ve been to, have used horse-shoe-variations, and I always felt uncomfortable with them. Generally the space is too confined (nowhere to put your purse, no chance to move your chair) and there are only, at best, three people to talk to: The two on either side, and the one right across from you – unless the table is too wide. If the hosts set you up with an untalkative stranger, then you’re done for. It all feels overly stiff and formal, and if you have to go to the ladies’ room during the 3-hour dinner, everybody will scowl at you because of the noise you’re making in the effort to ease your chair out enough to stand up. Right now I feel all the things I hate about weddings, could be solved with a round table set up 🙂

    On the other hand, a lot of people like their weddings to be stiff and formal. And I don’t have any round-table experiences to compare with, maybe those have lots of inherent problems too…

    Hm. Not very helpful, I guess. Good luck, anyway!

  12. Kjerstin

    Sorry about the double posting – a bit spastic with my mouse arm there…

  13. katla

    My sister had a horse-shoe arrangement at her wedding, after the formal part was over, we changed seats and talked to relatives we hadn’t seen in a while. We could all se eachother during dinner, even if we could not speak to eachother. the god thing about this is that the couple is at the end of every table and that puts the focus on them and the speakers who also sat in that area. And as a guest i would like to be able to see the celebrated ones. Thats why i’m there. It shuld be noted that a nontalkative stranger was never a problem, becouse during the meal there were enterteinment, speaks, and songs and such so it wasn’t boring. Besides it is a rare occation you get to have a long table(langbord) that is the sign of great occations!

    Oh and congratulation!

  14. andy

    What it comes down to is… it is your wedding- whatever you and Scott wants is what matters. When I got married my so to be sister in law said to me remember that the wedding is just the day, but the marriage is forever. The day is about you and Scott and what makes you comfortable. Fashion ect should not matter and your guest will love whatever you do.

  15. Kristine J¯rgensen

    I can’t say that I have any expertise regarding weddings, but I would say it depends on what kind of wedding you’re aiming at. I believe a lot of smaller, round tables would be less formal than the horse shoe?

    However, I wouldn’t really care what that snobbish guy you were talking to believes is fashion or not…

  16. Jill

    So actually, we met Karin when we were buying champagne for the wedding yesterday and she smiled, telling us what fun the discussion about horseshoe tables was on my blog. I hadn’t checked the comments since the day before (not because I don’t love you all because of course I do, but it’s been busy, man, really busy!) and so I came and checked out the comments, of course, and yes, you guys are brilliant. It’s clear that most people (including my sister, mother, neighbour, good friend and my maid of honour) think that horseshoes define weddings, and I feel that way too, so horseshoe it will be. Informal, well, we can do that some other time.

  17. Gro

    I liked the educational bit of this discussion, and now I gonna use it in fiction: “she
    was a horseshoe-girl” – may be an interesting way to characterize someone. See you tomorrow!

  18. Gro

    I liked the educational bit of this discussion, and now I gonna use it in fiction: “she
    was a typical horseshoe-girl” – may be an interesting way to characterize someone. See you tomorrow!

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