10 easy and stress free ways to organise your wedding seating plan.
Updated: Apr 15
Deciding where to seat all your guests can be a daunting part of the wedding planning process, and may feel like a big jigsaw puzzle. Many engaged couples find the seating arrangements to be difficult, especially those with larger weddings or that have family complications.
Here are some simple ways to get to grips with your guest list, and make planning your seating a breeze:
1. Send an RSVP card with your invitations, and include a 'kindly return by' date. This will reduce the amount of chasing you will need to do for a reply. To make it even easier for your guests, send them with a stamped envelope addressed to you.
If you are considering just asking guests to reply via text or email, this way can include more leg work on your part. Uncle Jim may forget to tell you that he has a special dietary requirement, so you will need to go back to him and check.
2. Track your guests replies with a guest list organiser or spreadsheet. You can then refer back to this to see who has not responded. Then when your venue asks for the number of vegetarian meals required, you will have this information ready.
3. Speak to your wedding venue and find out the style and shape of the tables, and if you can supply your own furniture if this is on your wish list. The standard tables are normally either round or rectangle trestle types.
4. Work out how many tables will fit in your venue space, and how many guests can be seated at each one. This will allow you to start planning your table decorations and table stationery. Map out where the top table will be placed, and how many will fit. You may decide to have a traditional top table with mums, dads, maid of honour and best man sat with you both in the centre. Or if you have family complications then you could have a sweet heart style top table with just the two of you.
5. Decide if you would like to seat families and friends together or mix everybody up. Start with your largest family group and see if they will all fit on one table. Do you have any space left to add a couple or single friend?
6. The layout of your tables and the shape may depend on the kind of food that is being served. A formal sit down meal will work with both styles of table, however a buffet or relaxed grazing table may suit the long trestle tables better.
7. If you are inviting children, you may find that having a special little table for them is a nice touch. They can keep themselves entertained and the older guests can relax and enjoy adult conversation. I would recommend this only for older children and teenagers, and keeping this flexible if possible. Placing families with children on a table with extra space is a good idea incase they want to stay together.
8. For a more flexible seating arrangement, you may choose to have escort cards instead of the large boards. The guests can sit themselves anywhere on a table number that you allocate to them. There are lots of ways to be creative with escort cards, from laying them out on a table to attaching them to guest welcome drinks. Ask your stationery designer for more ideas.
Escort cards are also great if you have family or friends that are unsure if they can come, due to work commitments for example. A large seating chart cannot be changed last minute, but you can add or remove the escort cards on your wedding day.
9. Don't forget your ceremony and how you would like your guests to be seated. If you are keeping it casual, then you may like to have a sign to inform everyone. You could also reserve seats for the VIP guests if needed, but again your wedding stationer can help with this.
10. And lastly, your table plan is a big part of your wedding decoration as it will be looked at by all of your guests. Make it a focal point by positioning it in the entrance, so it is the first thing your guests see. And don't forget to ask your venue if they have an easel if you are having a large seating board. There are different ways to display these, and you can also hire frames to hang them in.
I hope these tips help to put your mind at ease when planning your guest seating chart. I recommend that it is designed to coordinate with your wedding invitations, and match your menus and place cards.
Book a consultation with Lucy today to discuss your wedding stationery ideas here.