How To Seat Your Wedding Guests
Working out how to seat your guests at your wedding can be really challenging. How many tables will you have? How many people per table? Where will the bridal party sit? Where will guests have the most fun? It can be a logistical nightmare, and that’s before you even factor in existing conflicts! The follow checklist provides a logical process for working through your seating arrangement to ensure everything runs smoothly and all guests have an enjoyable time at your wedding.
- Begin Planning Early
Avoid unnecessary stress by not leaving your seating planning to the last minute. Start by talking to your venue to get an idea of the room layout and what they provide in the way of chairs and tables. You will need to know how many people their tables seat in order to determine how many tables you will need. The venue should also be able to provide recommendations around layout as it is likely they have held many weddings in the space you have hired. Let them guide you in regard to numbers of tables and appropriate spacing.
- Consider Layout
Once you understand how many tables you will need, consider the physical placement of various elements on the floor plan. For instance, are you having a DJ or band? How much space do they need and where is the most suitable place in the room for them to be? Is there a designated dance floor? Consider the food you are serving. Do you need to make room for a buffet? Where is it best to make walkways for the wait staff? Are you having a gift/photo/dessert table? Identify everything that will need space in the room and find a layout that will work for your big day.
- Decide On Bridal Table
Traditionally the bridal party have sat together, but what if your bridal party doesn’t get on that well? Or they are all from different friendship groups and would simply have more fun sitting with others? It’s completely up to you whether or not you want to designate a table to the bridal party members, but it’s worth making the decision early on in the process so you can seat them near you and your partner.
- Choose Table For Parents
Another tradition is having all parents (and sometimes even grandparents) sitting together at a table. In modern times, this is completely up to you. If the groom’s parents don’t get along with the bride’s parents, or one set of parents is divorced, there is no need to seat them all together. You want your guests to enjoy themselves so think about what will be the most comfortable for them; also, if you can avoid a family blow up on your wedding day that will be a big plus!
- Decide Whether Or Not To Have Seated Dining
Having a buffet? You might not need a formal seating plan and opt to allow guests to collect their food and mingle where they choose instead. If you plan on having a small wedding or serving tapa-style food, formal seating might not be appropriate either. For larger, more formal weddings, a seating plan is recommended to ensure all guests can enjoy the festivities without stressing about finding a seat.
- Identify Conflicts
Are there two cousins that don’t get along? A group of friends that have had a falling out? Identify any conflicts that might make your reception uncomfortable and ensure that these people are not seated at the same table. Ideally, there will be some distance between their tables to ensure they aren’t too close for the situation to become awkward and uncomfortable.
- Identify Natural Groupings
Consider the natural groupings of your guests: family, sporting club members, university friends. If there are particular friend groups, try to seat them together so everyone can catch up and enjoy your reception.
- Fill In The Gaps
Once you have allocated family and friend groups, as well as ensuring people who do not get along are seated as far apart as possible, began filling in the gaps. This is where you might have friends that don’t belong to a specific group and therefore appear as a bit of an outlier. Think about the people they would be most likely to get along with and add them to that table – they might even make new friends! Also, If you have a lot of children on your guest list, consider adding a children’s table.