Organising the seating plan for your wedding is probably one of the most tedious jobs you’ll end up doing in the lead up. It’s one of those tasks that no one really enjoys doing because it’s frustrating and time consuming. This job will take a lot of effort to get right so we’re here to help! Here are some tips for planning your ideal seating plan.
If you’re getting yourself all worked up about the seating plan because you want it to be perfect for you and your guests, then just stop. You’ll never be able to pull off the perfect seating plan. You’ll always end up forgetting that one person was snubbed by that other person 5 years ago and seat them at the same table. Unless you’ve got an elephant’s memory, you’ll forget this little grievances and misstep along the way. But don’t worry, because no one has the perfect seating plan. Trust us here.
From the get go tell yourself that it isn’t going to be perfect but you’re going to make it the best you can. That’s all you can do. If you make a mistake, who cares? Unless your family is hella fiery, chances are no one will make a scene and you’ll be fretting over nothing. So chill out and just place people where you think is best and where they’ll enjoy sitting. That’s all you can do. After all, guests get up and move around at weddings pretty much the whole time so they’ll only be stuck with their enemy for when they’re eating.
Set seats vs. set tables
Another way to keep things simple is to consider assigning people to tables rather than seats. If you have a lot of guests and you feel like planning where each indivdual is going to sit is going to be too much, then just assign people to a table and have them sit wherever they please. You won’t need to overthink and they will end up mingling with new people who they might really get along with.
Who’s going to be at your bridal table?
Traditionally, the bridal table consists of the bride, groom and bridal party. They tend to sit in a line facing their other guests, like a king a queen would have back in the day. If this isn’t your thing, then mix it up. It’s your wedding! You might prefer to sit with your parents and grandparents than with your bridal party or if you’ve already got children together, you may sit with them.
Another thing to consider is your bridal party. If they have their own partners who are also guests, let them sit with their partners if they want to. It’s hard to be in the bridal party and see your significant other looking awkward at a table with strangers because you dragged them to this wedding. Be kind and allow partners to sit together and you can sit with whoever you like as well.
There are no rules
Lots of couples are sticklers for tradition and want the long bridal table and for their seating plan to be meticulously planned, but if this just isn’t you then don’t force yourself into a mould you weren’t meant to fit into. This is your wedding and your seating plan can be whatever you want it to be. You don’t need to have a huge bridal table. You don’t need to have a singles table. You don’t need to stick children on a table together. Throw away all the ‘rules’ and ‘traditions’ you’ve heard and just seat people where you think is best.
And you know what? If you’re lost, ask your guests for a little help. Ask the parents if they would prefer to sit with their kids or escape them for a little while. Ask your single friends if they want to be with people they know or mingle with new people. Don’t be afraid to get help on this.
Plan the room
Depending on your venue, you’ll be able to choose what size tables and shapes to have for your reception. You may want smaller tables so the conversations can be more personal. You may want bigger tables to give your guests more opportunity to click with fellow guests. Consider what kind of vibe you’re looking for and make decisions based on that.
If you’ve got some senior guests coming along consider putting them near the coffee and tea station so they can comfortably get a warm beverage during the night. Consider seating rowdier guests further away from the bridal table so their noise doesn’t carry too much. Once you’ve picked your venue, just have a think about what is going to work for you and your guests.
Have a visual model
Using a whiteboard or something similar to plan your seating will be extremely helpful. Seeing the chart as opposed to just writing it down will allow you to visualise it more easily and determine whether any changes need to be made.
A nice way to plan your seating is to think a little differently. At most weddings, families are seated with families, friends from university with friends from university, the list goes on. You don’t need to do this. We’re not saying force everyone to sit with people they don’t know but you could consider placing a couple with another couple you think they’d get along with rather than with your other mutual friends. Carefully consider whether you want to break with tradition and do this. It may work beautifully.
As we’ve said, you don’t need to stick with the norm. A big one is placing couples together. Why force someone who is dating your maid-of-honour and knows no one else at your wedding to sit with strangers all night? The same goes for anyone you’ve got in your bridal party. Consider how this person feels and how you would feel in their shoes. Be considerate of people’s feelings. Don’t seat your divorced parents together if they’re not on good terms. Keep parents with their children if they’ve got separation anxiety. Just treat people like you would want to be treated if you were in their shoes.