Top tips to create your wedding table plan
From arranging your guest seating to choosing the style of your wedding table plan – it’s all in the detail! This is often a tricky aspect of wedding planning. However, getting your wedding table plan right will mean a coordinated and stylish start to your reception. Take note of our top tips to ensure your wedding table plan is spot on!
First steps towards a beautiful wedding table plan
Once you have confirmed your guest list, it’s a great first step to map out where people are going to sit. But before we get into the nitty gritty of how to organise who goes where, the following questions are a good place to start.
How many people can fit around a table?
This is usually dictated by the venue and the capacity of your reception or dining area. More commonly, this is around 8-16 people. However, remember to check with the venue to avoid last minute changes and seat alterations!
How much space do you have for the table plan?
If you have a long guest list and are at capacity for space, make sure you order a suitably sized seating chart. If you have no floor space but decide on an easel for your wedding table plan, it might not fit! Equally, if you have an ample entrance hall, you will probably need an A2 size table plan or larger. Often, your wedding stationer will be able to assist you with this and they can often provide a matching design to suit your on-the-day wedding stationery.
Are you making your own table plan?
If you would like to put together your own table plan by hand, think about how long this might take. The weekend before is too late! Choose a simplistic design and select a template layout to work from or things could end up very muddled. Usually, it’s much less stressful to request a wedding table plan with your wedding stationery order. That way, all you have to do is supply the guest names and table numbers. Much less hassle and your wedding table plan will compliment your wedding colours and stationery.
Styling your wedding seating plan
Style is just as important as practicality when it comes to designing your wedding table plan. Try not to overcomplicate how you would like it to look (especially if you have a large guest list!). Select a small palette of about three colours that go alongside your wedding colours. Then, use Pinterest boards and your wedding theme to inspire you!
Initially, it’s beneficial to build a mock-up of your wedding table plan so you can easily visualise how it will look. Use blu-tack so that guests can be moved around until you decide on your final seating plan. Another handy tip is to tick off guests from your master spreadsheet as you go so that nobody is missed off. For extra large guest lists, you could also use two seating charts. This enables guests to find their seats more easily on the day of the wedding.
Backing your seating chart
If making your seating plan yourself, you might like to source some interesting backing boards. This will add an individual stamp to your wedding table plan. Blackboards work well with minimalist decor whereas cork boards are large and look great covered in tissue paper with a ribbon border. Think about the style of your wedding venue and what would work well with your wedding theme. Mirrors are a quirky addition to more modern ceremonies and photo frames hanging from the ceiling add a rustic touch.
Easels are an elegant and simplistic way to hold up your seating charts. You could also use a wall-mounted seating plan or a table-top frame.
Simplicity is key
Remember, the main purpose of a wedding table plan is for guests to easily see where they are meant to be seated. Though style is important, always try to ensure your seating plans are legible and straightforward. This avoids any uncertainty at your wedding reception.
For each table, list guest names in alphabetical order (sorting your guest list in Excel is a must!). This way, guests can quickly find their surname and it will save any confusion on the day. Always remember to make table numbers for the tables. That way, there won’t be a bottleneck as your friends and family try to find their seats.
Another tip for styling your wedding table plan is to visually place each list of guests into the room layout. Guests will know where to go before they enter the dining room.
Last minute changes
As prepared as you might be, there will inevitably be some last minute cancellations, changes or additions to your guest list. Therefore, to avoid panicking close to your wedding ceremony, plan ahead and factor this into your table planning.
Try to leave a few gaps in case of additional guests. If you leave a whole table free for guest list changes, you may end up with just one or two people sitting there who don’t really know each other. Another idea is to order place names for the tables. That way, guests can be added or removed at your discretion and spare places can be filled quickly.
Arranging your guests
Probably the most difficult aspect of sorting out your wedding table plan is choosing where all your guests will sit. Aside from your top table, arrangements can be hard! Friends, family, acquaintances, colleagues, partners and children all need to be considered.
Keep calm and try to group your guest list according to families, friendship circles, work colleagues and those that may have met before. Arrange your seating chart with your individual guests in mind. Who are likely to get along and where would your friends feel most comfortable?
Start with placing these different groups into your seating chart and you will find that the main job is done. Now to fill the gaps! For any spare seats, put couples together and try not to split up close friends. For your guests, celebrating your wedding is also about catching up with old friends and socialising with other guests. Wedding breakfasts, dinners and receptions usually take up the most time on the wedding day. So try not to leave your guests stranded with nobody to talk to!
Always seat children with their parents and, if possible, on a table with another family. Parents can enjoy their time more if their children are occupied and will also appreciate having adults to speak to. An extra tip is to provide children with table entertainment such as disposable cameras, colouring books or a game. This will make the time pass more quickly for them before the wedding meal.
Finally, ensure everyone knows at least one other person on their table. Though you will try to group guests appropriately, there may be one or two who have to sit with people they haven’t met. Don’t let this play on your mind though – guests always expect this as part of all weddings and once the reception kicks off, nobody will think twice!