Creating the wedding table plan is the task that many brides-to-be find most daunting when organising their big day; families and friends are complicated and getting the social dynamic right at a wedding can be a bit of a minefield. Do you seat people together with other guests that they know, or mix it up and keep your fingers crossed that everyone gets along?
Have a read of our top tips for creating a table plan ad you’ll have guests mingling away like they’ve been BFFs for years.
First things first
If you’re drawing a total blank on how to get started on your table plan, start by looking at your guest list, and grouping guests together on how you know them, i.e. school friends, work friends, university friends and so on - you could even create a reunion vibe if some of them haven’t seen each other in years. Just make sure they haven’t been avoiding anyone on purpose.
Keep age and interests in mind
While you love your university pals and your great aunt Mabel equally, chances are, if you seat them together, they won’t have bundles in common, especially after they’ve exhausted talking about how beautiful you look, and how wonderful the day has been so far.
Avoid awkward silences by seating people together who have things in common. If your work bestie travelled South America last summer, seat her with your cousin who is heading to Brazil later in the year - even total strangers can bond over shared interests.
Avoid the singles’ table
Forget seating all your single guests on one table and hoping for the best; it can feel obvious to them and make for an uncomfortable situation.
If there are singles you particularly think what get along swimmingly, seat them together on friendly, inclusive tables where they can talk to everyone, and hopefully they’ll naturally gravitate towards each other - no awkward match-making here, thank you!
Do make a table plan
It can be tempting to bin off the idea of a seating plan altogether and let guests find their own seat, but we strongly advise against this. It can cause anxiety for guests - nobody wants to relive the high school horror of eating along in the canteen, or tentatively asking “is this seat taken?”
If assigning seats is stressing you out, just assign tables and let your guests choose where they sit upon their designated table.
If you ask us though, creating a seating plan and creating interesting name cards is all part of the wedding planning fun.
Don’t forget partners
If you’re seating your bridal party at the top table, make sure to take their partners into consideration, especially if they don’t know anyone else at the wedding.
It could be more sensible to do away with the top table and make sure your bridesmaids’ husbands or partners don’t feel left on a limb, seated with people they don’t know.
Parents traditionally sit at the top table at weddings, but don’t feel you have to follow this rule. It can be tricky if your parents are separated or have new partners, so feel free to keep your top table to just you and your new husband if you want, or for close friends. It’s your day, have it your way!
If your parents have insisted you invite their friends along to the wedding, get ma and pa involved in the table planning and have them choose where their friends sit. They’ll have a clearer idea if their pals will want to be in the thick of the action, or a little further away where they can sit and observe.
Consider the elderly
With this in mind, try and seat grandparents and other elderly guests a little further from all the noise - if they’re hard of hearing they’ll struggle to be able to listen to the conversations and could be left feeling isolated.
Lastly, if you know two of your guests don’t always get along, for the sake of everyone, avoid sitting them at the same table. We know, they should be able to put their differences aside for your special day, but it’s easier to seat them apart than to break up a spat. Trust us.
Now that your table plan is done and dusted, why not check out our ideas for unique wedding table names - we promise you'll feel inspired!