Organizing your wedding is complicated. There are so many things that need to be arranged it can be easy to forget one or two items, such as the wedding seating plan.
But, this is one of the most important elements. A well-designed wedding seating plan will provide harmony across the room and allow you to enjoy your wedding day.
Of course, getting the seating right is not an easy process, you need to consider which guests get along with each other, which ones are open to making new friends/acquaintances, and which just want to be left alone.
It’s your wedding, but if you want your wedding day to go smoothly you’re going to have to think about everyone else when creating the wedding seating plan!
Fortunately, we’re here to help!
Create The Perfect Wedding Seating Plan
The shapes of your tables may be controlled by the venue, simply because of the room size or availability. However, even square or rectangular tables can be pushed together to make bigger squares or unusual shapes.
The first thing you need to do is calculate the number of wedding guests. Then you can work out how many tables will fit in the space provided; this will give you the number of people at each of the tables.
If you’ve got more seating spaces than wedding guests then you’ve got room to maneuver regarding table numbers or positions.
It’s worth noting that round tables are the traditional choice for weddings and give the most leg room. However, rectangular tables are generally better for your wedding guests to be able to talk to each other.
It seems inevitable at a wedding that you’ll end up with a number of wedding guests which you don’t know that well. Tradition dictates an array of relatives is invited.
Your choice is to ignore tradition or to make sure that your friends are closest to the top table.
In the modern world, the top table can be exceptionally complicated as there are parents, their new wives/husbands, and a number of other important family members.
This is why many people choose to limit the wedding top table to the bride and groom. You can then have one table on each side of this. Place your parents and significant family members at one of these tables and your closest friends at the other; they will all appreciate the significance on your wedding day.
Don’t forget, this part of the wedding seating plan can be tricky if you have divorced parents that don’t get along; you may need to split parents and friends between your top two tables!
There is little doubt that your wedding seating plan will initially revolve around your parents and their friends that are invited to your wedding.
You may not know which of these get along or not. It’s a good idea to get your parents to help you with the wedding seating plan by letting you know which of their friends can be put together and which can’t.
It doesn’t mean your parents get to choose where their friends sit, you just know which to sit together! It is your wedding after all.
Rating Your Friends
In order to create the perfect wedding seating plan, it’s a good idea to categorize your friends into groups based on how you know them. You’ll probably end up with school friends, work friends for you and your partner, plus some joint friends.
This won’t dictate the seating arrangements but you’ll start to get a feel for who gets along and the different age groups coming. This will help you to arrange the seating accordingly.
The traditional approach to a wedding seating plan is to mix each table; include approximately half a table of one group and half of a different. The idea is to help guests mingle and make the wedding a social affair.
Of course, just because this is a wedding tradition doesn’t mean you have to adopt this seating arrangement for your tables!
Don’t Do Single Tables
The last thing your single friend wants on your wedding day is to be reminded that they are single! Creating tables where people are forced to sit next to prospective dates is going to create an uncomfortable or embarrassing atmosphere.
That’s not something you want on your wedding day. Instead, sit your single friends with their other friends. Once they’ve had a few drinks and are ready to dance you can always introduce them to other wedding guests…..
Work The Space
Wedding tradition dictates a top table overlooking all the other tables. But, your wedding seating plan can look however you want it to.
Consider the space you have and where the best views are, this is where the top table should sit and as many of the others should get a similar view. In fact, as much as possible your wedding seating plan should allow all guests to see each other. Of course, this is unlikely to be possible but you’ll be able to get close to this arrangement.
Don’t forget that the best plan will allow the seating to stay in place through the evening. With this in mind, you should give the seating closest to the dance floor to those most likely to dance; that doesn’t necessarily mean the youngest people at your wedding!
Use Your Computer
Now that you have a basic seating plan in mind, you can use your computer to start visualizing the seating plan.
There are plenty of apps that will help you to create your wedding chart, most of them have drag n’ drop tools, allowing you to position your tables and then move them around the room.
This is a great way to envision what the room will look like on your wedding day. In fact, you should be able to switch tables and try an array of different seating options; helping you to find the perfect one.
The great advantage of using computer software is that you can move people around without having to delete and re-write names, the software makes organizing tables easy!
If your wedding is at a popular venue you may even find a template of your venue; allowing you to get all the dimensions and visualizations perfect!
Take your time with this section and, when you’ve created your wedding seating chart, print it. You may even be able to go to the venue and have a practice run at positioning the tables.
You’ll find that most wedding venues are happy for you to do this, providing you speak to them about the best time to practice your seating.
Create the Physical Seating Plan
The computer is great fun and a lot of help but it’s doubtful that you’ll want the electronic printout as your wedding seating chart.
You can use the printed wedding seating plan to create your own diagram that your guests will see when they arrive at your wedding.
There are no limits regarding the size or materials you use for this, it should match your wedding theme.
However, it is worth noting that bigger is better. Wedding guests tend to arrive en masse, having a large plan, or even two charts will help your wedding guests to find their seats easily.
Be Prepared For Changes
No matter how well you plan the seating arrangements there will be some last minute changes. For this reason, it is best to be able to change the names on your wedding seating plan with the minimal of fuss.
This will allow you to move, remove, or even add guests right up to the last minute. Of course, wedding guests should give you plenty of notice regarding their attendance, but there is always one!
Easy To Find Name Cards
The name card is an important part of your wedding ceremony. It’s not just a guide to seating arrangements. It should integrate with the theme of your wedding and help the wedding guests to find their seats.
To achieve this you need to devise name cards that have highly visible names, while still being discreet and ornate; That’s a harder process than you may think!
You may find that your seating plan needs to have the tables coded and an alphabetical list of names. That should make it easy for any wedding guest to locate their spot and slide straight on in.
An Alternative: Assign The Table Not the Place
If you’re struggling to decide where everyone should sit then you can try allocating people to a table. This will save you having to work out individual seating but you can still ensure your wedding guests are grouped in the way you want.
This is a good idea if you have a small wedding or you are planning a wedding buffet, it will ensure everyone has a seat. However, if you choose this option you may want to find seats for any elderly guests first, to ensure they can enjoy your wedding too.
Getting the table plan right can take time and patience. However, once you’ve got it sorted you’ll be able to relax and focus on what really matters; celebrating your special day with your family and friends.
Also, check out these 12 unique wedding guest book ideas.
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Marketing Manager at Poptop – UK Leading Events Planning Concierge Service