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Turning Tables – Wedding seating plan tips

Turning Tables – Wedding seating plan tips

For some couples formulating a wedding seating plan can be akin to a UN peacekeeping mission as they traverse family politics and all the aggravations that go with them.

Granted you’ll have tables that pretty much sort themselves but there will always be a few thorny seatings: Relatives who don’t see eye-to-eye, in-laws who will take offence at being seated at the back or couples or individual guests who know very few guests at the wedding.

If your family is an unconventional one and involves step-parents even the top table can be difficult to arrange.

While it is your wedding day, you want it to run as smoothly as possible. If you put two feuding relatives on the same table, how likely are tempers to flare? If a parent asks you where they’ll be sitting, you’re under no obligation to tell them but will they throw a strop on the big day?

Wedding seating plan

Wedding seating plan

 Here are some tips to guide you through table planning:

• Prepare your table plan well in advance. But wait until you receive all your RSVPs as you may get frustrated when table arrangements change. Set your RSVP date at least a month before the wedding.

• Ask the wedding reception venue for a room layout, which includes table sizes and numbers of seats at each table.

• When preparing your table plan, use highlighters or post-its and print up a visual layout of the room so you can see where people will go.

• Then consider proximity to the top table – who do you want close your table? Also take into consideration the needs of those there – the aunt who is hard of hearing may need to sit up near the front.

• You have two choices: You can assign people to particular tables but leave the seating at each table flexible or you can assign guests to seats, which means you will need name cards on each table.

• If choosing to put big groups together, remember this could leave some stragglers. Try not to have any individuals or couples seated on their own with a large group they don’t know. Instead aim to spread out groups and make sure that every person or couple at a table knows at least one other person or couple at that table.

• If you’re having children at the wedding, one option is to set up a children’s table with activity pages and crayons. However, make sure the children are of an appropriate age to be sitting alone. If not, put them with their parents.

• If you want to provide an aerial view the tables, you must confirm with the venue that the layout will be exactly the same on the day.

• Online table planning tools such as toptableplanner.com can be a great help when it comes to visual layouts but there tends to be a charge associated with them.

• Your venue may design the table chart for you but if you’d prefer it to fit in with your wedding theme, then ask to provide it yourself.

• When designing the chart, consider tying it in with your wedding stationery design – using the same kind of font, colour theme or ribbons etc at the top of each table name. 

• You can also have it mounted on a frame to make it stand out – but make sure you’ll have somewhere to put it on the day.

• And make sure it is placed in a very visible location where guests can find it easily and find their seats comfortably.

Good luck!