Whilst a wedding top table presents couples with a tradtional table plan to follow, the reaminder of the wedding seating plan is not so obvious. This article takes a closer look at the wedding seating plan for guests and provides ideas and advice on how to create the perfect set-up.
The Wedding Seating Plan
Before setting to work on any wedding seating plan for guests there are three crucial factors that you must know in advance, and all three relate to the tables themselves:
What shape are the tables?
At first this may seem an aimless question, but this piece of information is very useful to know. The majority of venues will supply circular tables, but not all will follow this pattern and some may even present you with a number of wedding seating plan options.
Round tables are much softer in appearance and hence help to create a much warmer atmosphere and are the suggested preference when many guests are invited. For smaller groups, a squared boardroom style layout may be offered, and is perfectly acceptable. Round tables are offer each guest equal leg room, but others, particularly rectangular tables, probably won’t. If you are opting for non-round tables, remebering this fact should help to prevent crushing your three plus-size mates together at the end of a table!
How many guests does each table seat comfortably?
Following on from the point made above, this is a crucial question to know the answer to when devising your wedding seating plan. Too many wedding venues are happy to cram guests in leaving little room to move, let alone carve up a chicken breast. The critical word in all of this is comfortably, and the best way to judge this is in person.
Ask to see a room when it is set up and literally sit down and ask yourself ‘would I be happy with this much/little room?’ Wedding venues will often give you an even number of guests that can be seated at a table, typically 8, but have a quick think about whether it is more of a 7/8 table or an 8/9 table for example – there is a good chance that there may be an odd number of guests on at least one table at your wedding so bear this in mind.
What is the maximum number of tables for the room?
Some venues may quote a maximum capacity of 100, for example, but if each table will only comfortably seat 6 and the maximum number of tables is 10 then put simply, the numbers don’t add up. Make sure you ask these questions and do your homework when considering your wedding seating plan and don’t just trust what you’re initially told.
Allocating Guests to Your Seating Plan
Now that you are armed with the essential information on tables, it’s time to get stuck into grouping guests together and forming that all important wedding seating plan - but just how should you go about it? Essentially, there are four alternative strategies that you may wish to consider:
Option 1 - Seat Guests by Relationships
It hopefully goes without saying, that you should not split couples up (unless they specifically request it!) and it is always a good idea to put people on a table with others they know and get along with. You'll find that friends and relatives will instantly feel more relaxed with a familair face or two around so this strategy is always a good first port of call.
Option 2 - Seat Guests by Their Likes & Dislikes
Use your own knowledge of your guests, or speak to parents, to find out what hobbies and interests your guests have. A common interest in sport, TV, the environment and the arts can all help to connect your guests although you may wish to avoid pairing Spurs and Arsenal fans for example – as with the following two wedding seating plan strategies, research is key if you want to avoid any heated disagreements!
Option 3 - Seat Guests By Careers / Backgrounds
Again you may need to seek the advice your parents or others in the know, but if people share a common background or career they can often relate to each other and will be more prone to open up and feel confident. A wedding seating plan that pairs together guests who sign-on each week with others who are used to travelling business class may not be a good idea, but pairing a couple of teachers or accountants will always give some common ground to start proceedings.
Option 4 - Seat Guests by Behaviour
A wedding seating plan that groups guests together by behaviour can work. A table of guys and girls who are all a little raucous will ensure that the conversation won’t stop, whereas mixing loud and confident guests with shy, quieter ones can lead to frustration all round.
It is highly unlikely that whichever of the above options you go for that you will come up with the perfect wedding seating plan first time - indeed patience, and deploying at least a couple of the strategies, is likely to be the key to success. Stick with it, don't be afraid to revisit your wedding seating plan time and time again, utilise pen and paper or the wedding seating plan software within MyWeddingsday and ultimately you'll get there.
Related: There are hundreds of wedding articles on the site, each filled with superb ideas, advice and inspiration. Check out the links in the left hand column to read more. Alternatively, to search for a local wedding venue, product or service provider, try our Wedding Directory. With over 13,000 companies already listed, you're sure to find what you're looking for.