Arranging your wedding seating plan may not be the most exciting part of your wedding preparations – but it’s important. Get your wedding table plan right and everything is set up for a great day. Get it wrong and a few people are going to be rather upset!
Why a wedding seating plan is essential
Even if you want the occasion to be super informal you need to arrange a wedding seating plan – at the very least you absolutely must plan who sits where on your wedding top table.
Guests like to have the decision of where to sit made for them – it saves a lot of awkwardness on the day. A wedding seating plan and place cards also makes everyone feel special – it shows you’ve thought about them personally.
What if you are laying on a buffet, however? A seating plan is still advisable – you don’t want a melee of people juggling plates and glasses while half your guests can’t even get to the food!
The wedding top table
The newlyweds and the immediate wedding party sit at a top table. This is either a long table with the bride and groom in the middle or at a circular table. The happy couple should be facing the rest of the room.
The traditional wedding top table seating plan has the groom to the bride's right. The bride’s mother sits to the right of the groom and to her right is the groom’s father. Going the other way, the bride’s father sits to her left and the groom’s mother sits on his left. The chief bridesmaid is to the right of the groom’s father and the best man is to the left of the groom’s mother.
Where do close family sit?
If the wedding top table is big enough the close family can be seated with the main wedding party. Or you could have a table for close by relatives.
Tips for wedding guest table layouts
Is it better to groups friends together or to split them up? Use your judgement but the best idea is probably to mix a group of friends with a few fresh faces. It’s quite likely that a bunch of good mates and partners won’t fit on a single table so you’ll probably have to divide them into two and then add guests they aren’t familiar with.
People are most comfortable with those they know, so don’t ask an individual or couple to share a table where all the others are total strangers. Even the most outgoing will struggle in these circumstances, so at the very least try to place them next to an acquaintance or two. In the case of wedding guests who have never met any of the others try and pair them up with an individual or couple who share their interests or whose personalities are likely to be compatible.
Avoid creating a separate “singles” table as this might embarrass some guests. Watch the movie “Table 19” if you want a good laugh – but don’t make this mistake at your own wedding! Having said that, a “children’s” table is fine.
How to seat parents who have divorced
There are no easy answers here and it depends on whether mum and dad are on sufficiently good terms to sit near each other. This situation may be further complicated by the need to include their new partner.
If you find it impossible to organise a harmonious top table simply have a romantic ‘sweetheart top table’ just for the bride and groom alone. That way you are the centre of attention and everyone else can sit at separate tables with people they feel comfortable with.