How to create your wedding seating plan

03 Jul 2018

Where to start and what to do when considering and creating your wedding seating plan

Image: Jordan Arnold via Unsplash

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Your wedding seating plan can be a simple task but it can also be a headache waiting to happen. You have to consider relationships and who gets on with who, the theme of each table and the sizing and spacing of your wedding reception room. 

Using Bride's FREE Seating Planner tool to create your layout and make easy work of this tricky task. The simple drag and drop tool allows you to make changes swiftly and effectively, while the online Invite Tracker also syncs with the Seating Planner to show you which guests have confirmed their attendance. 

Before you sign up, take a look at this guide and find out exactly how to create your wedding seating plan. 

Where to start

You will have already decided on your guest list and amount of guests as per your venue's capacity, so the next step is to find out how your guests will be seated. Are the tables long or round and how many guests can be seated at each table? Don't forget about the all-important top table too, which typically accommodates the happy couple and their immediate family (parents, siblings and/or grandparents) or just both sets of parents and the best man and maid of honour. 

When you have your numbers, then you're ready to tackle the hard part of seating each guest.

Natalie Lovett, director at Love to Plan Ltd - a wedding planning and styling company based in Wiltshire, says: "Firstly, do allocate each guest a seat – free seating never works, guests don’t know what to do for the best... and you’ll end up with one spare seat on a table and a lone guest that’s out of place sitting there. Your guests will be seated for a couple of hours, maybe more, so to ensure a great atmosphere, lots of smiles and laughs around the room, spend time putting close family and friends together and like-minded strangers with something in common together too."

Consider the dynamic of each table, the personalities of each group of guests and existing and potential relationships. Traditionally, men and women are alternated around or along each table but this is up to you.

Anna Byass of Golden Pineapple Hospitality in the Cotswolds, comments: "I would always advise to not split up groups of friends/partners. It is nice for people to meet others and make new friends but it is even better for guests to feel comfortable during dinner to ensure there is a nice buzz and atmosphere with lots of chat and laughter rather than silence. You will only have your guests moving name cards around otherwise."

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Image: Photos By Lanty via Unsplash

Create a hard copy

Before you create your online seating plan, it may be worth creating a rough hard copy so that you can better visualise it and move names around as you go.

Gemma Starr of Little Star Events, who organises wedding fairs in Surrey and Hampshire, suggests the following: "My top tip for creating your seating plan is to cut up little squares of paper and write your guests' names on each one, then use CDs as the tables and position them as they would be in the room. Use the pieces of paper to move people about, decide where you would like to seat them and then when you are done, take a photo. This can be a really fun part of your wedding planning, so enjoy a bottle of wine with your partner and enjoy putting the tables together. This is a great way of making sure that you not only create the right tables but also to see who will be sitting behind each other and on the table next to each other... yet another aspect to consider."

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Image by Jennifer Sinclair Photography for a collaborative Snow White and the Seven Dwarves shoot with Little Star Events

Create an online version

Now you can start inputting your guests' table allocations in to your online seating plan. Use Bride's useful drag and drop tool to assemble your room layout and then start adding tags to each table and seat. Print off a copy so that you can have a neat version to hand as and when you need to refer to it.

Assign your table names or numbers

Once your seating plan is more or less finalised, you can start assigning table names or numbers. Depending on your style of wedding and theme, there are various options to add fun and personality to your tables. Take a look at these 50 imaginative table name ideas to get you started. 

Gemma Starr says: "When I got married, we had names of our favourite songs as our table names and then had those songs playing throughout the wedding breakfast."

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Image: Thomas William via Unsplash

Design your seating plan 

Usually about a month before your wedding, once all guests have RSVPd and you have locked your seating plan, then you can pass it on to your stationery provider to create your table plan or if you're working towards a DIY project then you can get stuck in. Now is also the time to start writing out your place cards or get them designed. 

A day or two before the wedding when you or the venue team begin to dress your wedding tables, you can set up your table plan. Use an easel or prop at eye-level height to clearly display the table plan and position it at the entrance to the reception room so guests can quickly and easily find their seat. Check out these eye-catching table plan designs for inspiration. 

It's time to get started... Sign up to a FREE account with Bride and start using the Seating Planner online tool today.  

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