You could take a hands-off approach, where you don’t devise a seating plan at all, but allow your guests to decide where they want to sit. Although this helps you avoid the logistical headache of who sits where, it does mean there’s potential for chaos on the day. We recommend you only use this option if you’re having a small wedding, or have extremely laid-back guests who will be able to sashay to any seat without drama.
Alternatively, you could create a table plan so that, though various friends and family are grouped together, you don’t decide on an exact seat for each of them. Your table plan lists the names that are sitting on one particular table, but they get to choose who their neighbours are. The theory behind this is that it gives your guests a little bit of direction, but also some flexibility to stay close to their buddies. The recipe for a harmonious reception, right?
Queen of organisation
If you prefer to be in control, then you probably should go for a formalised seating plan, so you can determine where everyone is sitting. This means that on the day everyone can just focus on the celebrations without stressing about a seat. Name cards to let everyone know exactly where they’re sitting is the best way of handling this.
When should I decide on the seating plan?
In theory, as soon as your RSVPs are in you can get cracking on your table plan. Leaving it a little later though will allow you to make any final adjustments – especially if you’re having a printed table plan that you won’t be able to tweak.
Tell your guests where to go with a stylish table plan
Creating a random seating plan can be risky. Yes, it could encourage new friendships and interesting conversation, but it could also be a disaster. Just imagine the tuts from your elderly Uncle Fred as your friend re-arranges the table to get the right composition for her Instagram picture! If your families and friends are sociable and good at mixing, then go for it, but if you think it could cause awkwardness, it might be best to stick with keeping friends and family together.
How do I deal with guest requests about where they are sitting?
Whether there’s been a family fall-out, or your sister is begging to be sat next to that handsome usher, you need to be very careful about giving in to requests with demanding guests. If you can accommodate them and easily switch up the table plan then great, but don’t go bending over backwards just because someone has had a table tantrum.
What’s the best way to display my seating plan?
A traditional easel-style stand is a popular way to display seating plans and there’s a wide variety of designs around that will match your theme. You could also get creative by writing on a mirror, using an oversized photoframe, or even having your guests’ names hanging from a table plan ‘tree’. To make it even more straightforward, also think about including a list of names on each table, or even individual place cards.
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