It’s about a month or less until your wedding day and it’s time to do one of the most dreaded parts of wedding planning: the seat plan. It’s not that bad a task but it can get tedious and confusing. Where do you put the elderly since they must be seated comfortably? Where do you put your nieces and nephews so that they don’t end up distracting the other guests? There are so many questions and concerns related to guests seating arrangements–how do you manage to make everyone comfortable? Here are some points to note when you are arranging the seats for guests.
1. Family goes first.
You must arrange seats for family members according to how close you are to them and how senior they are. You must also always consider their comfort and ease above all other considerations. In Western-style weddings, the bride’s usually walks the bride down the aisle. Hence, it will be ideal to put him closer to the aisle so it is easier for him to get back to his seat afterwards. Some parents might have families from a second marriage. If this is the case, you can put the father and his new wife on the second head table at the second row, and you can put the mother and her current husband on first head table at the first row to avoid any awkward situations.
2. Seat grandparents where they can be comfortable.
For grandparents, put them at seats that are close to stage. Make sure that they can easily to move in and out as well where they are seated. Also, position them away from the place where waiters give out dishes and away from loud speakers.
3. Position males at the left; females at the right.
This rule is usually applied to relatives to separate bride’s and groom’s guests. If one side has more guests, or if one group inlcudes is your common friends, you can put them at any side to balance out the layout.
4. Avoid embarrassing or awkward situations.
Always consider the relationships between guests. If you know someone who not happy with another guest, you must separate them. You should also be aware of any recent relationship changes. For example, if you have friends who have recently broken up, put them in different tables.
If you are working in a big company and will be inviting many colleagues, separate the upper management from and other employees, so that everyone is comfortable. But if you only invited one or two bosses, then you can put all your colleagues together.
5. Group well-acquainted people together.
It will be best if you put well-acquainted people in the same table so they can easily chat with each other. If you have to combine different groups into one table, you can try to fill in the table with some common friends to help get everyone talking to one another.
6. Put people with similarities together.
Some relatives will come as a full family, kids and all. You can try to put those within the same age range in one table (kids together; grown-ups together). Or, you can put family members with similar backgrounds (new parents, similar industry) together. Even they don’t know each other, they can find a common topic to chat about quickly.
7. Friends will be happy to sit where you put them.
Friends’ seats are the easiest to arrange. Because they are your good friends, they probably won’t mind to siting anywhere place them. But of course, it will be best to put common friends together. You may also separate the gentlemen and ladies, if you feel they will have more common topics to talk about. You can also put friends further away from relatives, especially older relatives, as they tend to be too excited and loud.
8. Be flexible with the seating arrangement.
If some tables end up just half empty, be flexible and open to moving some guests there. When you arrange the seating plan, you can also mark guests who you think can be easily moved–these may be friendly people who get along easily with others. You can let your bridal party to keep an eye on the seating arrangements so they can help rearranging, if necessary.
9. Check the venue flexibility.
We know that not everyone from your expected guest list will show up. As different venues have different terms, please ask for the Terms and Conditions before you pay the deposit. Some venues might have overtime charges too, please clarify all the venue details so you don’t have to cut the party while guests ate having fun.
10. Don’t forget the crew!
Don’t forget reserve a few seats at some tables for the crew (providing food to them is important!). If you want to do this, make sure you take to the venue beforehand.