Wedding season rolls on and one item that often needs the most attention, but is often the least appealing, is creating the seating plan.
I hear you groan as you either a) recall putting this together for your own wedding, and remember many a stand-off with your now husband/wife over who was sitting where and with whom or b) because you’ve been putting it off… and the date is creeping up on you!
Fear not friends! I’ve put together some ideas and tips below to alleviate some of your stress and to assist in putting together the ultimate wedding seating plan… (and afterwards you can reward yourselves with a vino or massage, but for now…it’s time to roll up those sleeves and get planning!)
Should I have allocated seating at my wedding?
According to a study listed on prweb.com, 84% of guests prefer allocated seating at a wedding reception. There are a number of reasons why this choice is beneficial and can help your day run smoother.
While it may be one more job for the organiser or the couple getting married to arrange, there are issues that could arise with ‘free seating’ over an organised plan:
Elderly guests may end up in a location where they can’t hear or see the festivities.
There could be a mad dash for the perceived ‘good seats’.
Couples could be separated in the rush for a seat at particular tables.
It may take longer to seat your guests, which could in turn affect the running order of proceedings and meal times.
Guests attending alone won’t feel so uncomfortable looking for a seat.
Some tips for allocating tables and seats:
Table allocation rather than seating allocations can also work well to eliminate stress. Allocate guests a table number and once at the table they can choose which ever seat they prefer – and whom they would prefer to sit next to.
While you may wish to mix guests up a little so that they mingle and meet new people, do consider seating each person next to or on a table with at least one other person that they know in order to create some banter. Similar ages and interests are also a great idea, as well as keeping the genders fairly even.
If there are guests in attendance who just don’t get along – ex-partners, Aunty Betty and Aunty Joan who haven’t spoken in years, or even the opposite parents of the happy couple… don’t feel that you need to seat them on the same table with the other friends or family in the group. Mix it up and save yourselves the stress!
Seating charts and Table numbers
A seating chart shows your guests which table they are sitting at, and who they have been seated with. While a lot of venue’s will offer to print this chart off for you and allow you to use their in-house table numbers, check with them for printing prices and hire fees.
If you are having a wedding of a particular theme or style, you may wish to print this in the same theme and style as the rest of your wedding stationary – invites, signage, etc.
The seating plan can even be kept post-wedding and framed as a memento of your special day, and a reminder of those loved ones were shared it with you.
Place cards are required if you have decided upon designated seats for each guests, and till ensure they sit in their own seat.
Guests names can also be written on personalised menu’s or bonbonniere instead of cards, adding a personal touch.
There are a number of ways of arranging your order of persons/seats. Here at The Pier Geelong we are happy to set up and place out name cards for guests when we’re setting your tables for your special day.
The following is the procedure our team use here on site, making the process super easy for all:
Separate the name cards by table and in seating order.
Cards are to be in an envelope in the order you would like them to be placed around the table.
We advise that you start with the guest who is to face the Bridal table and work in a clockwise direction.
Ensure the order of the cards in the envelope is identical to the table order list that is also provided.
This way, there are no mistakes during the layout and all seats are accounted for.
Name cards are particularly helpful for service staff when delivering meals to those with special dietary requirements.
There are plenty of handy web based tools and charts available online and via wedding sites that can assist you with piecing together your seating chart. However, do contact your venue/wedding planner and discuss what they can recommend to suit your wedding. After all, they have no doubt coordinated a few receptions in their time and will be a goldmine of ‘free’ knowledge to you!
As always though, this is just another aspect to piece together to create your special day – and the planning process (while stress may sneak in from time to time) is meant to be fun and an exciting journey for you and your partner to experience together.
Essentially, create the plan and organize the chart as you see it – and never mind Aunty Betty and Aunty Joan!
Until next time…. Happy planning! x