When it comes to deciding who goes where on a seating plan, it can become an arduous task! Especially if you predict tension and awkwardness between certain groups of people for whatever reason. It’s a task that needs to be thought out well to encourage good conversation and create an uplifting atmosphere to your day – something you can’t just buy off a shelf.
Begin designing your seating plan using these simple steps and that arduous task will be done in no time.
1. Work Out The Floor Plan
First and foremost, you need to design how you are going to lay out your tables within the space provided. There are different options to consider but the most used style is ‘banquet’, with a top table for the bride and groom. You will also need to find out how many tables will fit and the maximum amount of people that can comfortably fit around each one.
2. Note Any Discrepancies In Your Guest List
It is quite common to have some people on your guest list that won’t see eye-to-eye. We are all emotional beings after all! It’s important to highlight those people who don’t get on and to keep them in the forefront of your mind when following the next steps. It’s dreadful to think you are pampering to their needs, but this type of planning will prevent unnecessary drama on your special day.
3. Mark Out The Top Table
Conventionally the top table includes the bride & groom, both sets of parents, the maid of honour and the best man. These days we see larger tables to cater for step-parents or even just the table for the two of you. Nothing is set in stone so do what makes you feel comfortable.
4. Group People Together
Have your guest list in front of you and separate out both sets of family and both sets of friends. If you share the same friendship group, then just put them all together for now.
Considering each guest’s age and interests, start compiling sub groups which reflect the similarities. For example, you might have friends who you work with, and friends you go to the gym with. In this instance, I would separate them like so. For your family, I would consider the dynamics between relations. Providing everyone gets on, I would suggest keeping the grandparents, aunties and uncles together in one group and cousins in another. At this stage you might find that tables are already forming. Easy peasy! It starts to get difficult when you have guests who don’t know anyone.
Top Tip: Don’t put all singles together and make sure there is an even split of men and women on each table.
5. Highlight the Anomalies
Where there are couples or individuals who don’t know anyone, think about them as people and who they might gel with. You wouldn’t put a rowdy extroverted couple with a group of quiet shy friends so think about their tendencies in a group setting. If space allows, see if you can incorporate the anomalies so they don’t feel like the odd one out.
6. Check Where You Have Spaces
You might find your sub groups are either too big or too small to fill a table. At this point you want to think about where any crossovers might lie. Your friends from one group, may already know your friends from another group. You will need to mix and match until the numbers work on each table. However, it’s always important to remember that you want your guests to have a good time. So keeping them with at least one of their closest friends is always a good choice.
7. Pre-Empt Awkwardness
It’s very difficult to keep everyone happy, so don’t overthink it. If you are worried about any awkwardness there are ways to help create ease on your wedding day.
For those individuals you highlighted to have discrepancies with certain people it might be worth having a conversation about your concerns with both parties ahead of the wedding day. Or if you don’t feel comfortable doing this, perhaps you could ask someone who they might listen to more readily.
For those who might feel uncomfortable because they don’t know each other, then make a conscious effort to invite them to gatherings where you know people from your guest list will be there.
There are so many things to consider when deciding your guest list. It can be overwhelming. If you are still struggling with your decisions, you can always change the style of seating to long tables and see if this works better for you.