Having an organized seating and table plan at your wedding will help the reception to run smoothly. Although not always necessary for smaller weddings, any numbers over 40 and you run the danger of a rush to get the better tables!
This can mean people crushed together on full tables, besides people they know, while other tables are half empty.
The wedding meal lasts for between 2-3 hours, an enormous portion of your wedding day! Therefore we believe it’s important to check your seating plan well beforehand.
Two of the most options that brides and grooms choose are:
- To assign guests to allocated seats.
- To assign guests to tables, but they will choose their preferred seats.
Follow our top recommendations on the way to create a successful seating and table plan.
1. Start planning ASAP.
Begin to organize your seating plan as soon as possible once you’ve got confirmed your venue and guest list. Don’t wait for all the RSVPs to return in as a few could be late, and this might mean an unnecessary rush in the middle of getting everything ready for the wedding. Create a ‘draft’ with your partner as best as you can, this way you’ve got something which can be easily edited should some people unexpectedly RSVP later.
2. The closest tables for your nearest and dearest.
Whatever seating arrangement you select, make sure that the two or three tables closest to the bride and groom are reserved for your nearest and dearest family and friends. They’re going to want to feel involved within the big day, make them feel special by creating VIP tables adjacent to the top table.
3. Mix it up.
Try to mix the guests up to avoid any groups forming. Integrate and mingle guests (to an extent!) by placing those people with similar interests and ages together. However, it’s essential to get a balance, don’t place guests on a table where they know no-one else. Take groups of friends and move them together on the same table.
Generally, guests who have a partner or “plus one” are seated together. This implies that a lot of couples together in the same tables will create a ‘singles table’ to line up their unsuspecting friends with a date! Matchmaking is often fun; however, for some people, this can make their single guests feel awkward and isolated. Instead, integrate them with other guests that you think they’d get along great with.
5. Table names.
To make it easier for guests to find their allocated table, create table names or numbers. You can get creative here. Put names on tables after things you and your hubby love, places you’ve traveled to together, or match table names after your wedding theme. Although traditionally, people have typically used table numbers, choosing names instead can also remove the perceived ‘hierarchy’ of numbers.
6. Place Cards.
For ultimate precision and a smooth run of events, use clear name cards for your guests to seek out their seats quickly and easily. You’ll also use this to spotlight guests eating preferences, so catering staff can see and serve the right meal to your guests.
7. Even numbers.
Traditionally on round tables, males and females sit alternately round the table, and couples are seated opposite one another for banquet/long style tables. This ensures the right mix of conversation, instead of the lads getting a table of their own and ranting on about sports!
8. Check your venue capacity.
Confirm the capacity numbers and size of the banqueting room at your chosen reception venue. Make sure the layout is well-spaced, so the guests have room to move their chairs in and out without hassle when getting up to dance during the evening!
9. Guest accessibility & logistics.
You will have elderly guests attending your wedding, so you’ll need to consider accessibility to your table planning. Make sure they can rise and move around with ease. You’ll also even have a kids table or families with little ones. In this case, some couples place these guests in an adjacent table that’s also easily accessed.