Wedding Seating Plans

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The wedding seating plan can be a difficult part of the planning process for many couples. I hope that this blog and an earlier post, Wedding Top Table, will help make things a little easier for you.

Seating Etiquette

Traditionally, couples are sat next to one another on round tables and opposite each other on rectangular ones. It is also customary to alternate male and female guests. If you are going to have young children at your wedding then seating them with their parents makes sense (you can keep them occupied with mini puzzles and colouring books). Having older children at a table of their own is a nice touch and I’m sure they will appreciate it!

If you want guests to mingle and get to know each other then consider having respective friends of the bride and groom, aunties and uncles etc. sat together. Although, it is important that each person knows at least one person on their table in order to make them feel comfortable and for conversation to flow.

Top Table

Things can become complicated if you have divorced parents who do not want to be sat at the top table with each other. One way of getting around this is having them each host a table of their own. You can then either have the chief bridesmaid and best man on the top table or opt for a sweetheart table instead. If this is not an option then my Wedding Top Table blog and it’s various top table layouts will help.

Table Plans

Instead of having a table plan at the venue to show your guests which table they are sitting at, how about using escort cards? These are small cards that have the guest name and table number/name written on them. They are a lovely idea as you can tie them into your theme or colour scheme. Some of you may be wondering what the difference is between escort cards and place cards? Escort cards inform your guests of their table, place cards let guests know their assigned seat at the table. If you don’t want to do both then you could have guests find their table with their escort card but sit anywhere at that particular table. Their escort card can then double up as their place card so other guests and the caterers know who people are (in case of dietary requirements).

wedding seating plans
Martha Stewart Weddings – Photography by Bryan Gardner

I would recommend using a seating planner to help keep things organised and make wedding admin easier. TopTablePlanner is great and there are others out there as well.

Try not to finalise the seating plan too far in advance, there are bound to be some last minute changes for one reason or another. Finally, give a spare copy of seating plans to one of the ushers/best man and venue coordinator.

Table Names

If you want to opt for table names over numbers, here are some categories to help inspire you:

  • Flowers
  • Special places
  • Types of chocolate
  • Cocktails
  • Retro sweets
  • Countries/cities
  • Favourite film titles/characters/actors
  • Superheroes
  • Champagne brands
  • Underground stations/lines

It would be helpful to your guests if you put the tables names in alphabetical order. It will make it easier for them to find their tables, especially if there are a large number of guests to seat.