1 – Start planning
Do not wait for all your RSVP’s to come in, start organising your seating plan as soon as possible as you do not want it to be a rush before the big day. You can always alter it nearer the time as late RSVP’s come in.
2 – Speak to your venue
Double-check the capacity of your venue including the size and shape of the tables. Be careful not to sit everyone too close as you do not want your guests pushing their chairs back and bashing into each other.
3 – Even numbers
Try to have an even number of men and women on each table so there is a good mix of conversation. Same-sex tables can become rowdy once the alcohol starts flowing.
4 – Mix it up
Try not to seat your guests in all family groups as they lose the chance to mingle. But also do not seat guests together who do not know each other at all as it could be awkward. Try to find a balance (maybe think about their ages and interests so they have a talking point). Guests with a partner should always be seated together. Never have a table dedicated to the ‘singles’, put them with guests who they will get along with but do not force a ‘match make’, which may seem fun but could cause awkwardness.
5 – Who needs access?
Think about where elderly guests, pregnant guests or children are seated as they may need wheelchair access or to get to the bathroom quickly.
6 – Seat yourselves
Do not forget to include yourselves in the seating plan. You can go with a traditional top table arrangement, mix it up, or the two of you can sit on own. If you have small children you may want to sit them next to someone who can keep an eye on them for you so you can relax and enjoy the meal fully.
7 – Finding their seats
Make sure your tables are clearly numbered or named. Why not name them after something personal to you (e.g. places you have been, songs you like etc). Use clear place cards or personalised favours so your guests can find their seats easily and quickly.
8 – Above all…..Don’t over think it!
If you spend hours staring at your seating plan, adding people in and taking people out, you will stress yourself out. Set aside just one evening to do it with your partner then come back to it the next day with a fresh mind to make minor changes then hand it over to your wedding stationer THEN LEAVE IT ALONE. Be prepared for drop-outs and cancellations even after you have finalised it but for your own sanity leave it as it is. Any replacement guests or late additions will cope finding their seat. Your wedding stationer will also have a cut-off point for production.