Top Tips For the Dreaded Seating Plan
It’s the cause of many a sleepless night, a couple of heated family arguments and possibly even a few tears…. the dreaded table plan. It’s a bit like a game of musical chairs as you move your guests around in imaginary circles, shaking your head as you realize that grandma can’t sit anywhere near Bob from work as he tells inappropriate jokes after a drink or two…and that Amanda and Steve used to date and she still won’t speak to him or his new girlfriend, who she refers to as ‘that woman’…and so it goes on!
I’m afraid this will always be one of the toughest parts of wedding planning but the tips below just might help to make it a little less painful.
- DO start early. It will take more time than you think to get right so a week before is probably not the best idea. If you are having a printed version on display try not to send it to print until as late as possible – as there will always be last minute changes
- DON’T feel that you have to stick to traditional round tables of 8 or 10. Having long rectangular tables or even a giant horseshoe style can help everyone to feel important. This works perfectly in a tipi
- DO consider table names. Numbers make people think there is an order of importance so naming tables after important places or events can work much better. Of course as caterers we will still number them for ease of getting the plates out (two vegetarian mains for table Africa doesn’t work as smoothly as table 2)
- DO invest in Post It notes. Write all guests names on a post it and move them around a drawing of your seating plan, so much quicker and less scribbling out then if you write them on directly. Alternatively download software such as Tablerrr or Top Table Planner to keep it all online, in one place.
- DON’T struggle to keep all friendship groups together, it might get a bit cliquey and harder to split equally over tables so mixing it up can be lots of fun. Try to put a couple of people who know each other on the same table just to help get conversation going.
- DO sit young children with their parents. If you have a lot of older children they might like to sit together on a children’s table. Consider the location of small children and babies – a table that is near to the door is easier for parents to take any mischief makers outside – especially during the speeches.
- DON’T split up couples if you can help it – most guests will prefer to sit with their partner. Especially if one of the couple doesn’t know anyone else.
- DON’T try to play cupid with single guests that you just have to set up – they will see through it immediately and won’t thank you for it, if they really are perfect for each other I’m sure that their eyes will meet across the dance floor or at the bar.
- DO make is clear to your caterer where special diets are seated. Colour coding their copy of the seating plan and even putting a colored dot on place cards to highlight any different meals will help the waiting staff immensely – believe me!!
- DON’T feel that you have to stick to tradition for your top table. Especially if you have step-parents, multiple bridesmaids or important family members who you would love to sit on the top table.
Hopefully that helps. But remember if all else fails once your awesome wedding food is on the table, your guests will be too busy eating and making yummy noises to think about where they are sitting.