Putting the wedding seating plan together is often one of the more difficult tasks that couples face.
All but the smallest of weddings will benefit from having a seating plan. It makes sure your guests get seated smoothly without having the chaos and awkwardness of choosing who to sit with.
Here are my top tips to ease those worries and make it simple to put your wedding seating plan together.
You will probably have a number of guests who you know will definitely be coming. So you can start by thinking about where they will sit as part of your wedding seating plan.
You don’t need to wait for all your RSVPs to come in to make a good start. And leaving it until the end to even think about it will put more pressure on you that you don’t need close to your wedding date.
You should also be able to work out the top table (if you’re having one) pretty early too.
Liaise with your venue
Make sure you know how many tables you can have, how many they sit and where the tables are situated within the room. Venues usually have a floor plan to share with you so you can visualise where your guests could be.
If you’re using a wedding planner this is one of the roles where their practical skills, experience – and impartiality – can really help.
Seek a good balance
Try to have a more or less even number of men and women on each table. Single sex tables can get quite loud once the drinks are flowing.
Think carefully as well about forcing people to mingle when you create your wedding seating plan. Sitting someone with a full table of strangers can be difficult for them. Whereas, if they at least know some of the other guests on their table, it’s not as awkward when they first take their seats.
If you genuinely can’t avoid this – maybe you have a friend from work who hasn’t met any of your other friends – then carefully consider who you sit them with. Make sure you put them with people who are friendly and will make an effort to include them in the conversation. Think about ages, interests and peoples’ backgrounds when you create your wedding seating plan. Try and join people together who you think could get on.
Allocate just the table?
Some couples are more relaxed with their wedding seating plan. They decide it may be enough to just allocate guests to a table. They can then decide who sits where. But this won’t always work.
If you have large tables it could take your guests some time to work it out. This takes time. So their meals could even be coming out before they’ve all found a seat!
In addition, if you have given your guests a menu choice, your venue will probably want to know exactly where each person is sitting. If you have guests with special dietary requirements this makes serving the right meal to them quick and easy.
I’ve also blogged about why guests need to respect the seating plan, which you can also read.
Pay extra attention to where you sit elderly, disabled or pregnant guests. They won’t want to go too far or struggle to get into their seats. Those with small children will appreciate extra space so they can keep a pram or pushchair nearby to access everything they might need. Make sure it’s easy for them to get in and out if they need to during the meal.
To top table or not top table?
Remember you don’t have to have a top table. Sweetheart tables are really popular, where the bride and groom sit on their own. I’ll be blogging about this very soon with even more ideas to inspire you to consider this option.
This can really help as well if your family situation would make the traditional top table difficult. Doing this means you can then sit your immediate family with larger family groups and avoid any awkwardness of separated couples being on the same table.
Start with the easy wedding seating plan choices
If you have a big family group who need to sit together, start here and build options around them. Or maybe you have sets of people who you would never dare to put at the same table? Start by seating them at opposite sides of the room and then build up from there.
The practical options
Your venue should provide you with a printable table layout. I would recommend printing this off in as large a format as you can. Do an initial draft in pencil so it’s easy to change.
Another option is to write everyone’s name on a separate post it note and then group them into tables. This is a really easy way to test out different combinations. But if you have a very high number of guests, it might become a bit too much.
You may need several versions of your seating plan before you are truly happy with it. While it’s great to get your plan done early, wait as late as possible to submit this to your venue. This will allow for any late replies, changes to attendance etc.
Displaying the plan
You will want a version of your seating plan to be displayed at the venue. People then know straight away where they are to be seated.
There are lots of really pretty ideas for creating your physical plan. I’ll cover some ideas in a future blog. But in the meantime Pinterest is a good option for inspiration.
Don’t forget you also need to have place cards on the tables as well as table names or numbers. This will help guests can find their seat once they’ve checked the seating plan!
Don't panic! Your wedding seating plan dramas solved via @plannedwithgill
I hope this helps you to get started on your wedding seating plan sooner rather than later…….
Remember I can help you with your planning. It’s never too late to ask for help. Well after the wedding is probably too late; but you know what I mean! Have a look at my planning services here and get in touch if you think I can help.
Seating plans in this post created by Your Days By Design with photography by Photography by Kathryn.
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