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arranging the wedding seating plan

Arranging the wedding seating plan can seem like a minefield but it does not need to be. Read on for tips about how to seat guests effortlessly and ensure you get the style of top table that is right for you.

Related articles: table decorations - wedding favours - catering options

arranging the wedding seating plan

wedding reception: Should wedding guests pick their own seat?

This trendy idea can seem like a relaxed option. However, in reality, this can make guests feel more worried about having to make this choice themselves. Well-known guests will fill up tables quickly, save chairs and those who know fewer people will instantly feel unpopular and isolated. Where possible, avoid choosing this option and instead follow the below guidance.

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arranging the wedding seating plan

Arranging wedding guest seating

People that dislike each other or those that do not get along should be seated at different tables. It may be just one meal, but it should nevertheless be an enjoyable one for all. For everyone else, try to portion out that a few people know each other on each table or, where possible, allow a table to consist entirely of one friendship group. Avoid the singles table; guests will quickly figure this out and feel rather embarrassed. This is a day of celebration for all, and there is no need to force people outside their comfort zones.

To ease seating arrangements, do not be worried about having unequally weighted tables, no one will notice, and this will enable you to allocate seats more easily.

Related articles: tracking guest seating - guest transport - child-friendly weddings

arranging the wedding seating plan
How to get your guests talking with each other

A lot of couples get concerned that their guests may not have a good time or that conversations at the tables may be limited.

If this is a concern you share, then try one of the below tried and tested methods to get the chat going:

  • Putting a short trivia quiz on each table can get a group of relative strangers laughing in no time at all.

  • Giving a table a quick quiz on the bride/groom can be a fun conversation starter.

  • Make sure that centrepieces do not block cross-table conversations.

  • In between courses have a walk around and chat with tables, the conversations you start will continue long after you have left.
  • Play upbeat background music; this will encourage guests to feel that discussions will not break the silence and will keep people in the party spirit.

  • Naming tables and grouping people by a common theme or hobby can help to allow guests to build commonality quickly.

  • Related articles: wedding favours - reception decorations - confetti

    arranging the wedding seating plan
    Is it best to have a round or rectangular top table?

    The shape of the top table is ultimately the bride and groom's choice, but do check what your venue will accommodate first.

    Remember this is your day and whatever will mean that you get the most enjoyment out of your wedding breakfast is the only consideration to base your decision on. It is traditional to have a straight top table, but there are plenty of examples to challenge the critics. From my own experience, a circle table made our families feel free to talk to each other.

    Who should sit at the top table?

    Traditionally, the guests sitting at the top table would include the newly wedding couple, both sets of parents, best man and maid of honour.

    The rest of the bridal party would then be sat on a second table very close by. However, your big day only needs to be as traditional as you want it to be. Where possible try to include both parents and then beyond this create a table of guests who you will enjoy spending additional time with.

    Related articles: tracking guest seating - guest transport - wedding favours

    arranging the wedding seating plan

    Creating a wedding seating chart

    Before creating your wedding plan board, it is worthwhile checking with your wedding venue about where these usually are placed, in case they have equipment that can be loaned or can advise on a certain size to opt for.

    Popular wedding guest seating plan board styles:
  • Handwritten lists pegged to string and hung along a backboard.

  • Printed table lists backed on foam boards.

  • Multi-photo frames with each frame containing a different table

  • Table lists on luggage tags pinned on a world map

  • Related articles:child-friendly weddings - wedding favours - table decorations

    arranging the wedding seating plan
    How to create low-cost place cards

    As with anything containing the word ‘wedding', there are an enormous amount of businesses that either market themselves as trendy or niche and charge an exuberate amount for what can be made quickly and relatively cheaply.

    Below is a simple method to make low-cost place cards:

    1. Business cards folded in half lengthwise make an ideal place card size/shape and business cards in any design can be ordered blank online very cheaply. Make sure to remove all text and have a single side print with your wedding theme or colour (in a light colour).

    2. Add names with a permanent black Calligraphy marker (these can be bought for under £2 in any Stationery shop). Or print names from your printer onto address labels and stick these on the business cards.

    Blank name cards can also be purchased in any low -cost card store or stationers, and these are often in packs of up to 50 at a time.

    Next steps: wedding favours your guest will love - wedding table decorations

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