One of the biggest pain points in planning your wedding is the seating plan. You have to keep old rivals apart without making it obvious, keep both families happy, keep old university chums together… It’s hard work, so use these tips to make your logistical load easier.
Start planning at once
Once the invitations are out, start planning. You can take names off the list as and when people decline. Don’t print up your plan until the last moment, though, as things can often change. When you do print, go large so people can see from a distance rather than crowding around a sheet of A4.
Use table names, not numbers
If you have tricky families, numbers can spell (as it were) hierarchy.
Be ready to be flexible
Don’t get hung up on just one layout, as things evolve and change. If the wedding is a small affair, then you might not even need a firm, structured seating plan.
If you seat singles next to one another, they won’t like it. Period.
Remember the kids
Younger children need to be with their parents, but older children will love having their own table, complete with activity packs.
Cater for all ages
If you have older people at your wedding, make sure they have easy access to exits and bathrooms. You need to think about pregnant women, wheelchair users and anyone else who may need extra help.
Your top table
If having a top table is problematic, then just don’t do it.
If this won’t work well, then ditch the tradition.
Keep people in their groups as much as you can – colleagues, schoolfriends – so that they’re comfortable. If you just know that two strangers will get on like a house on fire, then seat them together. Otherwise, make sure everyone on each table knows at least one other person.
Do your tables
Usually, the tables closest to the top table are for close friends and family, so there’s no harm in sticking to this. You could ask for different-sized tables to make your plan easier, though.
Go with the flow
You know who’ll get on (and who won’t), so sometimes it’s best to use your instinct.