How to Organize Your Reception Seating for Maximum Comfort and Enjoyment
The seating plan for a wedding can be one of the most stressful aspects of planning your big day. But with a little bit of organization and a few key tips, it doesn't have to be so daunting. Here is some expert advice to help you plan the perfect seating plan for your wedding.
Its one of the most politically challenging, as well as stressful, tasks you are going to face through this process.
Start planning your seating chart as soon as possible. Waiting until the last minute will only add unnecessary stress. Begin by making a list of all the guests you will be inviting. However, you will need consider your venue at this point. Not only their capacity but the configuration of tables available. Generally long trestle tables can fit more guests, however some venues only have round tables at their disposal. So check this first and whether you want to source trestle tables from somewhere like Synched Events. Make sure you have a good understanding of how many tables you can comfortably fit in the space, printing it or sketching it out is helpful for the next step (A0/A1 paper is the easiest for this).
Think about groupings and connections
I found it helpful to write everyone's name on a sticky notes (Tab Sticky's are the best kind of sticky notes) and start to think about connections that you could group people by. The first way is to look at by relationship, you could do this by writing family on one colour stick notes (say pink), Friendship groups on another colour and maybe work colleagues on another different colour. As you write them down stick them down the side of the paper. It will then be very easy to see the seating plan at a glance. Of course if you would rather, there are some awesome online table and seater planners.
This is the same process vogue uses to plan their large social events and gatherings.
Start with your top table. Deciding who is going to sit at the top table will help decide how you are going to group the remaining family and friends. Traditionally its 8 people, left to right:
- Maid of Honour/Person
- Groom/Partner 1's (P1's) Father
- Brides/Partner 2's (P2's) Mother
- Bride/P2's Father
- Groom/ P1's Mother
- Best Man/Person
So if you can visualise it, the couple in the middle, flanked by the Brides/Partner 2's Parents, then by the second set of parents.
Consider Age Groups
Whilst it's important to group guests by relationship, which will make your guests feel more comfortable and will encourage conversation. Also spend a moment thinking about which table to place groups on. If you have elderly grandparents, consider seating them in a place that's easy to get to if mobility is an issue. Younger guests may want to sit nearer to the dance floor close to the loud music. Some older guests may prefer to sit further away where it is easier to hold a conversation.
Think about interests & Hobbies
If you have guests with common interests or hobbies, consider seating them together. This will give them something to talk about and will help start conversation. If its not a hobby, it could be similar careers, personalities or places travelled. If you are pretty stuck and end up grouping people that have little in common together, consider ice breaker or games for the table that help fill the time waiting for food.
Make sure you leave some room for last-minute changes. There may be guests who can't attend, or new guests who are added to the list. Having some flexibility in your seating plan will make it easier to make adjustments. Don't worry if you have a single space left over, as soon as food is finished people tend to move about and chat.
Once you are pretty certain everything is final think about how you are going to communicate your master piece to your guests. Are you going to have place names on your tables, if so how are you going to present these. I have seen pictures instead of names, simple cards, beautiful calligraphy on perspex, favours with names on (bottles of olive oil and alcohol). Then its probably worth having an overall table plan as well. There are a huge number of ways to get creative doing this as well or ask your stationer if they can do something to match your invitations.
LEAVE ROOM FOR LAST MINUTE CHANGES
There is always going to be someone cancel last minute
In summary, planning a wedding seating plan can be stressful, but by following these tips, you can make the process easier and less daunting. Remember to start early, consider your venue, group guests by relationship, think about interests and hobbies, and leave room for last-minute changes. With a little bit of planning and organisation, you'll be able to create the perfect seating plan for your big day.
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I hope this helps you in planning your day and gives you a little more information as to how the photography works in amongst your day. Any questions please do get in touch!
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