One of those tricky little bits of wedmin lots of couples tend to put off until the last minute - the seating plan! Your guests might be sat in those seats for at least a couple of hours, so it’s important to get those combinations right. Here are our top tips for putting together your seating plan…
First off, don’t leave it until the last minute! It always takes longer than you think to get it just right. Start a draft version once you put together your first guest list, and make edits as the RSVPs come in. You won’t regret making an early draft, but don’t print until the last minute in case anyone drops out.
Triple check with your venue and/or your hire company how many people you can comfortably fit onto your tables, and how many tables you can fit into your reception space. Round tables and trestle tables come in varying dimensions so don’t assume you have a standard size. Consider your meal options too - if you’re opting for family style sharing platters you’re going to need more elbow room on the tables, so if your table seats 8, consider dropping it to 6/7 to make sure there’s plenty of space for guests to help themselves!
Family and friend groups don’t always need to be seated together, it’s great to give guests who don’t often mix an opportunity to mingle and avoid cliquey tables. That said, don’t go crazy with mixing it up - think about which groups might blend well - for example, aunts and uncles might not necessarily gel very well with rowdy work colleagues. Consider mixing up the two sides of the families, and take into account your guests varying ages and interests.
Do not group your singles on one table! As fun as matchmaking might sound at your own wedding, it’s a little outdated and awkward. Mix in your singles with their family or friendship groups.
When you are placing individual seats, think about which direction people are facing and what they are near. It’s always a good idea to place any guests who may have limited mobility in seats which are nearer the exit or the bathrooms, to avoid them having to snake through tables to get anywhere. Seat elderly guests closeby and in the right direction to face the speeches to avoid them having to sit awkwardly or strain to listen.
Make it easy for your guests to find their tables - make it as obvious as possible which tables are where in relation to the entrance. If your wedding has more than perhaps 120 guests, consider printing two table plans to avoid a bottleneck on their way in.
Numbered tables often imply an order of importance, so consider getting some personality in there and come up with some meaningful table names instead.
Make it easy on yourself use a professional tool like Top Table Planner to get everything in place. Make quick changes, add meal requirements and share easily with those who need it like your wedding planner and your caterer. Alternatively, hand over your guest details to us and we can take care of all of that for you as part of our wedding planning service!
Top image: Seating plan by Pretty Little Cards - Photography by Red on Blonde Photography
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