Creating a seating plan is often the height of stress for many couples. You must think about family relationships, friends who may or may not get along, age groups, elderly who can’t be seated near the loud speakers, Children who may be disruptive, and so on…
I suggest tackling the seating plan two weeks before your wedding. Any earlier you risk guests RSVP’ing at the last minute and having to re-do the entire plan, waiting any later will cause more stress as the wedding nears. Plus, you need to leave time for the printers to get the table plans printed.
There are no rules when it comes to seating your guests, however, etiquette suggests seating female, male, female, male, etc., and seating couples opposite of each other rather than next to one another. I rarely see a traditional top table as many parents are divorced and/or remarried, so the modern approach is for each set of parents to host their own table with the bride and groom doing the same.
Below are some of my top wedding planning tips for your seating plan:
~ Elderly guests should be seated further away from the band/DJ and any speakers
~ If children are attending, their table should be at the back of the room near the door so they have easy access to the restrooms and can be escorted out if there are disruptions
~ When you handover the seating plan to your wedding planner, put a star by the people that should be facing the head table. As a planner, I often receive seating plans that tell me the order in which guests should sit around the table, but I don’t know where on the table they should be positioned. To help me out, let me know who should have the best view of the new Mr. and Mrs.
~ Put a single guest who knows nobody on a table with a talkative friend of a similar age/interest
~ Seat work colleagues together
~ If you’re truly afraid of offending guests, consider offering “Zones”. Set up 3-5 zones and assign each guest to a zone where they choose their own table and own seat. It’s on a first come first serve so if they get the table in the corner they can’t bicker to their friends after the wedding!