Having an organised 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 risk of a scramble to get the best seats! This would mean people squishing in beside people they know to have a scrammed table whilst other tables are half empty.
The wedding meal lasts for between 2-3 hours, a huge portion of your wedding day! Therefore we believe it’s important to suss out your seating plan well in advance. Two of the main options that brides and grooms opt for are:
- To assign guests to allocated seats
- To assign guests to tables but they can choose their own preferred seat
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Follow our top tips on how to create a successful seating and table plan…
- Start planning ASAP
Begin to organise your seating plan as soon as possible once you have confirmed your venue and guest list. Don’t wait for all the RSVP’s to come in before the big day and some may be late and this could be too much of a rush in the midst of getting everything ready for the wedding. Create a ‘draft’ with your partner that you are happy with, this way you have something in place that can be easily edited should some people unexpectedly RSVP yes or no.
2. The closest tables for your nearest and dearest
Whatever seating arrangement you choose, 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 will want to feel involved in the big day, make them feel special by creating VIP tables adjacent to the head table.
- Mix it up
Attempt to mix up the guests to avoid any groups or cliques forming. Integrate and mingle guests (to an extent!) by placing those people with similar interests and ages together. However it is important to strike a balance, don’t place guests on a table where they know no-one else; take groups of friends and bring them together on the same table.
Generally, guests who have a partner and or plus one are seated together. This means that many couples create a ‘singles table’ in order to set up their unsuspecting friends with a date! Match making can be fun, however for some people this would make their single guests feel awkward and isolated. Instead, integrate them with other guests that you think they’d get along great with.
- Table names
To make it easier for guests to find their allocated table, create table names or numbers. You can really get creative here, and name tables after things you and your hubby love, places you’ve travelled to together or match table names after your wedding theme. Although it is the most common to have table numbers, opting for names can remove the ‘perceived hierarchy’ of numbers.
- Place Cards
For ultimate precision and a smooth run of events, use clear name cards for your guests to find their seat quickly and easily. You can also use this to highlight guests eating preferences e.g. vegetarian so catering staff can see and serve the correct meal.
- Even numbers
Traditionally on round tables, males and females sit alternately around the table and couples are seated opposite each other for banquet/long style tables. This ensures a good mix of conversation rather than the lads getting a table of their own and ranting on about sport!
- Check your venue capacity
Confirm the capacity numbers and size of the banqueting room at your chosen wedding reception venue. Ask for their layout and come up with a clear and well-spaced out plan so that guests have plenty of room to manoeuvre their chairs in and out without hassle when getting up to dance in the evening!
- Guest accessibility & logistics
You many have elderly guests where you will have to consider accessibility into your table planning so they can get up and about with ease. You may also have a kids table, or families with little ones, in this case some couples place these guests in an area that is also easily accessed e.g. for kids to get to the bathroom or if they need some time out.
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