There is a lot to think about when planning out your Wedding seating arrangement. Thankfully the Wedding Parcel's Free Wedding Table Planner template is here to help! The checklist will make planning your layout a doddle!
Here at the Wedding Parcel, we have created wedding table plans for hundreds of happy couples. Hopefully some of the tips that we have picked up over the years will help with the planning of your special day:
Who sits where? Do I need a seating chart template? What is a seating arrangement? And will I need a wedding spreadsheet for this? This is definitely one of the most time consuming parts of wedding planning. For many brides this takes time because they just want everyone to mix well and have fun, on the other hand there are brides who need to keep certain guests away from others, in any case this part of wedding planning is where attention to detail is paramount!
When you have a fixed guest layout you will be able to download our table plan template, this is the perfect wedding checklist.
Don’t worry, I’m not telling you anything different from the millions of brides who have already passed this hurdle, I’m here to help, so let’s get started!
How to get started (the old fashioned way)
Using plain A4 pieces of paper, write down your wedding checklist, this is all of your guests names including “bride and groom”. This doesn’t have to be super neat, these pieces of paper are for your eyes only, cut out the names and set these pieces of paper aside.
Then cut out your tables, into circles, squares etc… however the tables will be laid out.
Find a large floor area, preferably carpet for comfort (this may take a while) oh and I should have insisted on this before…pop the kettle on!
Looking from above, start to lay out all of the tables exactly how they will be arranged at the wedding breakfast.
Take the individual guests names and start with the top table, lay each slip of paper around the table until you are happy with the layout. Then go from table to table (starting with your favourite guests) and place each slip of paper around the cut outs. Using the slips of paper in this way allows you to easily move people around. I’ll see you back here in a few days :D
Ahhh your back… how did it go? Once you are happy with the arrangements take a photo from above for safe keeping, you can always refer back to a photo!
The Top Table
If you are sticking with tradition then this is how you should arrange the top table:
However, with modern day relationships more and more couples are choosing to have a horseshoe top table, just for the two of them. This way they spend quality time together and nobody gets upset. You may be thinking “this is all well and good but I have a few problems that haven’t been addressed and I can’t decide on how to resolve them” once again don’t worry, here’s our quick fix guide to answering those awkward seating arrangement questions! But first, check out some of the wedding table plans we have designed here at The Wedding Parcel.
Depending on their age and if they can be trusted, I would recommend babies and toddlers be seated with parents. Children from about 4 upwards like to feel independent, so I would seat them at a table with other older children, have you ever noticed that at family get-togethers there are always older girls running round looking after the younger ones? They love it!
Have handmade entertainment packs on the tables, colouring books, stickers, buy a set of Christmas crackers (these always go down well with kids) bubbles, party poppers (age dependant) and a selection of little sweets. You basically need them to occupy themselves for as long as possible, the wedding breakfast and speeches can last a few hours and it’s not fair to expect children to sit a behave for this amount of time with nothing to do.
I’ve got one or two guests coming that aren’t fond of each other. What can I do?
Sit them right next to each other! ONLY JOKING! No-one wants to cause a scene on you big day, you will find that they are just as nervous about seeing each other as you are, place them across the room from one another, and definitely not on the same table!
What is more popular, table numbers or table names?
This again, is completely up to you. Using table numbers is the simplest way for guests to identify where they are sitting; the only negative about numbers is that the people on table 19 don’t feel as important as the people on table 2. The naming of tables often depends on the wedding table plan. If you have a Christmas theme wedding with a Christmas style table plan, it’s nice to use names like- Jingle Bells, Holly, Mistletoe etc… or Santa’s reindeer’s! For a rustic country themed wedding, names of flowers, trees or insects. In my opinion there is more fun to be had calling tables by names rather than numbers.
My fiancées step-brother is not everyone’s cup of tea. Where should I put him?
Go through your guest list and pick out someone who is similar to him, it’s only for an hour or two but sitting him with a likeminded person might make his dining experience a little nicer. This way he may still get to talk about the pedestrianisation of Norwich city centre.
My fiancé is very nervous about his speech, can we swap things around?
Absolutely! Traditionally the wedding breakfast is served and closely followed by the speeches. These days more and more couples are finding that they aren’t fully relaxing and enjoying their £50 per head meal due to the speeches. Change things round so that the speeches are made getting all nerves out of the way, then everyone can fully enjoy the wedding breakfast!
Can I use silly place card names?
It’s your wedding so go with your heart! If you have a pet name for a dear relative or friend then of course use it rather than just their name, it will make them smile when they sit down, be a possible ice breaker for other guests on the table (you can explain why your pet name is what it is) and weddings are supposed to be unique, so YES go with it! There is only one objection to using silly names and that is if the person in question is seated next to someone who just won’t understand the joke name or will understand and frown, best to keep it sensible here!
Should I get some help from friends/family?
Erm no! When you open up the doors into your wedding world, you are really opening up to criticism, comments, and opinions that, at this part of the process you really don’t need. If you are really struggling ask your partner for advice first (if they're anything like mine you can by-pass this part) and ask your closest friend, be it your mum, sister or bff. Always remember your asking for their opinion’s so don’t be upset or offended if you don’t like it.
Now you have your fixed guest list, input all of the details into our free table planner document. The seating arrangement process is now under way!
I hope this has helped answer a few of your questions, I would really be interested in seeing any pictures of your seating layouts, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org good luck!