Take A Seat

Bride & Groom - - CONTENTS -

Tak­ing the time to come up with a thought­ful seat­ing plan will en­sure your guests feel wel­come and com­fort­able at your wed­ding re­cep­tion. But it’s not al­ways a sim­ple task so here are some op­tions for cre­at­ing a seat­ing plan that works, and some cool dis­play ideas once you’ve nailed it…

For the ma­jor­ity of wed­dings, as­sign­ing your guests to ta­bles is the sim­plest way to or­gan­ise your re­cep­tion. It also elim­i­nates con­fu­sion when it’s time for the speeches or meal to be­gin.

Cre­at­ing a seat­ing plan can take a bit of time so try to be­gin as soon as your RSVPs are in (at least two weeks be­fore your big day). Be­gin by group­ing guests ac­cord­ing to how you know them, for ex­am­ple, fam­ily mem­bers and friends from dif­fer­ent as­pects of life (child­hood, school, work, etc.). In­clude a mix of fa­mil­iar and new faces at each ta­ble. In­tro­duce peo­ple with sim­i­lar in­ter­ests and back­grounds, and the peo­ple who know each other will kick-start the con­ver­sa­tion.

A tried and tested sys­tem is to write ev­ery­one’s names on post-it notes, draw an out­line of your ta­bles and move peo­ple around un­til you find an ar­range­ment you like. Some venues can pro­vide a floor plan, which may be help­ful in the process.

As­signed seat­ing is the clear­est, most sim­ple way to or­gan­ise your guests. It en­sures they are seated quickly, and that im­por­tant fam­ily mem­bers are lo­cated close to the head ta­ble. You’ll need a seat­ing chart on dis­play, and in­di­vid­ual place cards at the ta­ble – a great chance to get cre­ative! A slightly more re­laxed op­tion is to as­sign your guests to ta­bles, but let them choose their seats.

For more in­ti­mate wed­dings with, say, fewer than 50 guests, and for cock­tail re­cep­tions where guests are free to min­gle, you can choose to forgo a seat­ing plan. Just make sure there is plenty of seat­ing avail­able, es­pe­cially for el­derly guests.

Seat­ing VIPs

Tra­di­tion­ally, a head ta­ble is long and straight, set up fac­ing the other re­cep­tion ta­bles. The bride and groom are seated in the mid­dle, flanked by their par­ents and/or their wed­ding party. But you don’t have to do it this way. Maybe you’d like to have your wed­ding party sit at a round re­cep­tion ta­ble with their dates, and have the head ta­ble be a sweet­heart ta­ble for just the two of you!

Lo­cated clos­est to the head ta­ble, the ‘ta­ble of hon­our’ is where the par­ents of both the bride and groom, the wed­ding of­fi­ciant, and some­times grand­par­ents sit dur­ing the re­cep­tion. If there are sev­eral peo­ple you would like seated at this ta­ble of hon­our, you may have two ta­bles – one for the bride’s fam­ily and one for the groom’s. Di­vorced par­ents should be seated at dif­fer­ent ta­bles of hon­our with their part­ners and close fam­ily and friends.

If you have a lot of chil­dren at­tend­ing, you might want to have a kids’ ta­ble with crayons, pa­per and other games or toys to keep them busy. If your flow­er­girl and page­boy are the only chil­dren present, seat them with their par­ents.

Top tip – seat el­derly guests closer to the head ta­ble so they can hear eas­ily and fur­ther from the dance floor.

On dis­play

Your seat­ing plan can be in­cor­po­rated into your re­cep­tion dec­o­ra­tion. Go with your sta­tionery suite, or get cre­ative and choose a unique design that re­flects your wed­ding theme and over­all feel of your day. Up­cy­cled fur­ni­ture, such as old wooden doors, lad­ders or black­boards, makes a great base for a rus­tic-themed wed­ding. A beach theme could dis­play the plan on a surf­board. For a more glam­orous af­fair, use sil­ver frames or write on a gilded mir­ror. Fun al­ter­na­tives in­clude print­ing pho­tos of each guest, and hang­ing them from pegs or a tree.

There are end­less al­ter­na­tives to tra­di­tional place cards at the ta­ble. For ex­am­ple, write names on shells or peb­bles, add them to pot­ted plants, or com­bine them with your favours us­ing a sim­ple gift tag.

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