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Tips on How To Tackle The Wedding Seating Plan

on April 11, 2015 with 1 and 0 in category Blog tagged as ,
Home > Blog > Blog > Tips on How To Tackle The Wedding Seating Plan

Ah the seating plan. Few things can cause such heartache and controversy in the lead up to a wedding. On first glance it may appear like an easy exercise, but quite quickly after you and your husband-to-be sit down and realise that Aunt Mary can’t sit next to Uncle John because they haven’t spoken in over a decade, you’ll know how pernickety the process can be. And where are you going to put your shy single friend who’s coming from work but doesn’t know anyone? And what about your cousin who likes to tell outlandish jokes, you can’t put him next to your granny as he might give her a heart attack! These are just some of the many intricacies of family politics that can cause problems with the seating plan.
But take a deep breath and relax, because with our years of wedding planning experience behind us, we know the secret top tips to help you tackle the seating plan like a pro. Email us if you’d like to chat about how we can help plan your big day.

Know your Venue

This is a crucial point and one you need to address from the very beginning. The venue size will need to fit the maximum number you’re hoping will attend. Table size and room layout is another massive detail you need to discuss with the venue. For example what is the maximum number of people they allow on tables? As down the line you may be left with a situation where you’ll need to put 12 on a table, but if the venue have a strict 10 person per table policy, it could be a disaster.
Similarly, do they have square tables or round or both? Can you hire in tables to suit your plan? What about a special kids table, etc. What is the last date they can know about your final numbers and are there penalties if someone cries off a couple of days before the wedding? Make sure you discuss these points in detail before you go ahead. Room layout is another really important point. You might not want the traditional long top table setup, so chat to your venue co-ordinator about the different ways the room can be set up. Having a clear idea of table size and set up will have a major impact on your seating plan.

Wait Until You Have All The RSVP’s

It can be tempting to start the seating plan early and indeed to some extent you’ll already know what groups should go together, but don’t start to make any firm seating plans until you have all the RSVP’s back. You’ll be surprised at those people who cannot make it for whatever reason, from having holidays booked to even other weddings on the same day as yours (this can be especially true during simmer time), so the best advice is to wait until all the RSVPs are back and then you’ll know what you have to play around with. To help, make sure the RSVP date is set at least a month before the wedding, that way you’ll have plenty of time to tinker with the plan.

Colour-Coded Post-Its!

This might sound a little over-organised, but trust us, this is a genius way to have an at-a-glance overview of who is sitting where. Chose colours for your different cohorts of guests, for example [see pic] pink for hers, green for his, yellow for work colleagues and orange for mutual friends. Then write your guests names on the appropriately coloured post-it and place on your seating plan board. The beauty of this system is that you can move people around easily and you’ll know who’s who at a glance. If you prefer doing it on your computer, there’s dozens of online programmes, such as MOPOSA which can assist in seating plan layout.

Accept Family Politics

The best advice when it comes to the seating plan, is try and accept that every family has some level of politics and there will be some relatives who just don’t want to sit with others. You want the day to run smoothly for all, so if possible try and accommodate those few people who are a little fussier about where they sit. Generally speaking though, most people have such a wonderful time, that when it comes to sitting down to the meal, they are happy to sit where they have been put and before long you’ll notice all the tables laughing and chatting.


While the seating plan is completely up to you and your partner, there are some handy general rules about who should sit where that might be useful. Generally speaking, the tables closest to the top table should be for your family and close friends, it radiates outwards in order of closeness to the bride and groom.
It’s also traditional to have the seats alternating between boy, girl, boy, girl, boy, girl and so on. Of course you don’t have to follow this rule but it does work very well on tables populated with couples. However, if you have a lot of single people on a table who may not necessarily know each other, you might want to keep them beside the people they do know, rather than be tempted to seat them boy, girl, boy, girl and so on.
It’s also perfectly acceptable to mix groups, as long as everyone on the table has someone there that they know.

Have a Backup Plan

Unfortunately you need to be prepared for the fact that someone may cry off a couple of days before you wedding, or indeed may not show up on the day. It’s hard to believe, but things like this do happen. There are dozens of reasons why someone might be forced to miss your wedding from children getting sick, babysitters falling through to things like 24 hour bugs etc. So it’s worth being mentally prepared as it can be upsetting. You’ll be worrying that your table plans are printed, seating arrangements have been made and it can seem like a nightmare to fix it at this late stage. But don’t panic. It’s really not the end of the world and having a good relationship with your wedding planner or venue really comes into its own in situations like this. They’ll have gone through this scenario plenty of times and they can easily make small changes to tables even on the day of the wedding. Phew! Leaving you to concentrate on the business of getting married and enjoying the day of your dreams!

1 Comment

  • Octavio Brighi
    on March 26, 2024

    Outstanding feature

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