How to create your table plan
When you begin creating your wedding table plan, it’s important to remember that this needn’t be the most daunting aspect of your big day.
Although, who are we kidding – seating plans have the capability to make or break your wedding reception, so actually, you’re right. It’s a pretty big deal.
For most brides-to-be, organising seating arrangements can often carry huge amounts of worry and with every family or group of friends being so different, there’s ultimately no one-size-fits-all answer to getting it right.
Do you play it safe and sit guests together with other people they know, or mix it up for a great time and hope everybody becomes best friends?
If you think into it too much, you can fall into the trap of becoming overwhelmed, but if you think too little, you could overlook a problematic seating arrangement without realising.
It’s not easy for anyone but we’re going to lend you a helping hand, anyway.
First things first, whether you plan to sit everybody in groups they’re familiar with or mix it up a little – you need to begin grouping guests together. Take a look at your guest-list and have a think about who knows who. Begin grouping individuals.
You’ll more than likely have both sides of the immediate and distant family to think about, followed by groups of friends you’ve known throughout different stages of your life.
From old school friends, university mates and other couples to work colleagues or sports teammates, take into account who knows who to begin with and get ready to go from there.
Keeping Age and Interests in common
Now that you’ve divided your guest list into mutual groups, you need to begin thinking how conversation will flow. The aim is to avoid awkward silences by seating people together who have things in common. They don’t have to necessarily know each other – but if they have a mutual starting point, it should begin on the right foot.
For example, while you love your university buddies and your fiancé’s great aunt Edna, equally… Chances are, if you seat them together, they won’t have masses in common. The extent of their conversation will discuss how beautiful the bride looks and how nice the day has been so far. Great.
Instead, aim to sit people together who may have shared interests – like your old school friend who took a year out to travel and your work colleague who’s planning on doing the same.
Don’t single out
We know it might be pretty tempting but another tip of ours is to avoid trying to set people up at your wedding.
Yes, there might be a lot of singletons attending but no, they might not want to mingle together on the same table. If you place them all in one place – your intentions will come across as obvious from the on-set and that’ll just make things awkward.
If there are some singles you think will get along particularly well, seat them together, discretely.
Place them on the same table, but among others who aren’t single. Try to create an inclusive table where they can talk to everyone and then in the process, you’ll just have to hope they naturally gravitate towards each other. If they don’t, it is what it is – you tried.
Don’t forget partners
Amid all the chaos, don’t forget the partners of your guests. Always bear in mind that as well as wanting to sit next to each other for obvious reasons, another purpose will be to save spouses from embarrassment.
The likelihood is, one of the pair won’t know anybody else at the wedding and so separating them from their loved one would be a terrible decision. When you’re planning everybody’s seating, remember to question where you’ve placed other halves and if you’ve forgotten to place them next to each other – change it.
If you’ve got a top table full of bridesmaids who have boyfriends, this might not be possible. In this situation, ask what their other halves interests are and work with them to group, accordingly. Take a look at others with mutual interests as we suggested earlier and take care in seating them.
Traditionally, parents will take a seat on the top table at weddings but again, this is becoming less common and you should by no means feel the need to follow this ‘rule’.
We know how tricky it can be to please everybody and if your parents are separated or have new partners for example, the last thing you want is to be looking over your shoulder – checking nobody has fallen out during your day.
Feel free to keep your top table to you, your other half and your closest friends if you’d prefer. Ultimately, it’s sometimes easier to do this rather than attempt to keep everybody happy.
The other note worth mentioning however is to remain diplomatic.
Arrange your seating plan, ensuring the tables closest to you are for your family and close friends. Then, from here – radiate outwards in order of closeness to the bride and groom. Divide your family appropriately to save awkwardness but keep them happy by ensuring they’re all sat a similar distance away from you.