With a good wedding seating plan, your reception will run smoothly and your guests won’t have the mad rush of grabbing seats next to their family and friends. For a great atmosphere, seat guests with other guests that they know. This is a celebration, not a networking event, so don’t feel that you should be engineering new friendships through a clever seating plan. Guests will mingle and meet each other during the drinks reception, regardless of the seating plan. Place people where they will be happiest and where they will most enjoy their day.
The best tip for forming a wedding seating plan is to start as early as possible. There is no point waiting for the guests to all RSVP or you will be in a last-minute panic as the wedding approaches. Visit your venue and discuss the table options. Do they only have round tables? Are long tables available? If you have long tables, put couples opposite each other, and if you go with round tables, place couples next to each other.
If you have a lot of single people, then distribute them amongst the tables – do not put them all on one table! You can do a little bit of matchmaking if you fancy it, but don’t make it look too forced. Remember also to put tables full of your closest friends near to the top table, as they are likely to be the most engaged in the speeches. Older grandparents may also want to be sat close by, so that they can hear and see proceedings easily.
Traditionally the bride and groom are in the centre at the top table. They are then flanked by the bride’s parents, which are then flanked by the groom’s parents. Finally, the best man and head bridesmaid bookend the top table. This is the traditional plan, but there are other options if you’d like to mix things up a bit. If parents have divorced and remarried, then consider moving the maid of honour and best man to the closest table instead, and having all parents and step-parents on the top table. Alternately, get rid of the top table entirely, and opt for a sweetheart table of just the two of you, which is popular in the US.
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