If you are due to get married and the time is approaching to chart out where everyone sits then this is exactly the information you need to hear right now! The average seating plan is twenty to thirty times tougher than you think it’s going to be – so follow our advice and avoid the planning pitfalls that lead to seating hell.
The Seating Plan: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
You might not think that seating your conjoined families will be hard… but that’s before your guests stop in the doorway to protest over where they are seated! Traditionally the Bridal Party sits at the top table, with the closest friends and family members on the closest tables, with the more extended farther out…but if you have a particularly argumentative family things can get complex.
Let’s Start With the Invitations
Those RSVP’s give a good indication of actual numbers while simultaneous allowing you to start the seating arrangements. The key to working it all out ASAP is to get the invitations sent as soon as you start planning.
When we send invitations a long time in advance we have to expect a certain number of cancellations. However, it means we can get that all important seating plan organised early. Try adding some Save The Date tokens to your invitations to help your guests remember. We found a nice list of ideas on Hitched for you to browse.
Chase those RSVP’s!
Make it clear that you need to know numbers by a certain date to start planning. When that date comes and goes you have permission to start chasing people with phone calls. Your venue will have a set number beyond which they cannot accommodate any more people. Do not exceed this! It is far better to have a few empty seats than to have some people standing!
Think About Accessibility!
If you have any elderly or disabled guests do you want them to have to fight their way to the bathroom? You need to make sure everyone has equal access and this is always a good starting point for seating people. For example, Aunt Sally with the cane probably shouldn’t be left without her daughter to attend her in case she wanders off…You get the idea.
You Have to Mix!
Unfortunately it simply doesn’t do to have a family divide down the centre of your wedding meal so you have to mix up the seating. Family groups are fine but they prevent mingling – and a wedding is about two families becoming one. Let the siblings get to know one another at the same table, group people based on their love of outdoor sports or their universal hatred of the colour red… you never know what friendships you might spark.
…And Take Your Time…
The best thing you can do overall to improve your chances of seating plan success is to take your time… and this means giving yourself plenty of time. Get those invites sent and don”t let anyone pressure you. Your wedding: your rules. Of course, a professional wedding planner is always a safe bet for success.
And if anyone asks why they didn’t get an invite just tell them you had to keep it small. Close family only.