Speak to any couple post-wedding planning and no doubt they’ll tell you that the biggest headache was surrounding the seating plan. Avoid musical chairs and ensure your guests are sitting pretty with our top tips on creating your wedding seating plan.
First things first… the case for a seating plan! While it might not seem entirely essential considering your wedding reception consists entirely of family and friends, the fact of the matter is that people like to know where they’re sitting. Avoid a cattle market style stampede that sees guests vying for seats thanks to a simple seating chart to ensure they aren’t left sitting next to strangers. Remember, fallouts and previous clashes in personality happen so a wedding seating plan will keep things amicable.
Preparation is key
Resist the urge to begin your table plan the night before over a glass of Prosecco! Ideally, when you have received all your RSVPs, get down to the task and check it off that list as soon as possible. The process often comes with dread so get stuck in and be prepared for some last minute changes.
Think it out
Staying as organised as possible will ensure the process is painless so know your numbers! Find out table sizes from your venue so you know exactly what you are working with. To get things started, begin with a spreadsheet and group guests according to their relationships to each other, such as cousins’ table, friends and partners etc.
It’s time to get a little Monica Geller with a chart! The easiest way to work out your table plan is with a good old fashioned sheet of paper with circles drawn on it. Get out the coloured post-it notes, write guests’ names on them and stick them where you please! This allows you to move guests until you have a chart you are happy with. Or, for the digital savvy, there are a wealth of seating chart apps available, such as Top Table Planner.
Traditionally, the top table seats the bride and groom and wedding party, in a long table across the top of the room. However, recent years have witnessed some couples breaking the mould, favoured particularly by those adopting a more relaxed approach. If you don’t want all eyes on you, mix it up, or, opt for a circular table like the rest of your guests – it’s your choice!
The dreaded singles table
Generally, guests who attend with a partner are always seated together. While you might be tempted to match-make guests, don’t force it upon them – they definitely won’t thank you for it! Finally, avoid awkwardness and damaging friendships by having a ‘singles table’.
Again, tradition sees parents seated at the top table with the bride and groom but this might not always be possible. Where parents have remarried, seat them at a table with their new spouse and/or the rest of the family. If relationships are good and the top table affords it, why not add the step-parent alongside?
Have fun with it!
Table plans are usually displayed beside the main door to your reception room so that guests can spot their table on the way in. Use place-names on each table so guests know exactly which seat is theirs. The table plan and place names allows you to get a little creative, incorporating your chosen wedding theme or a shared passion so have fun with it.
Don’t overthink it
It can be easy to spend hours focused on who is sitting where, leaving you cross-eyed in the process. Set aside time with your partner to give it a go and then come back to it a day or two later with a fresh mind to make any minor changes. And then, be happy with your decision and leave it alone! Finally, make sure to inform your venue of you plan and numbers.