Organising your wedding guests and table layout for your wedding breakfast is often regarded as the most stressful part of your wedding planning, although it doesn’t have to be!
Whilst allocated seating isn’t mandatory, it can often save a lot of time and hassle on your wedding day; allowing your guests to sit at their designated seat quickly so table service can begin!
Speaking to your wedding venue or wedding planner about seating options; whether circular, square of long bench seating is preferred, they will be able to advise on the quantity of guests allocated per table to keep the process as simple as possible.
1. First up, plan your head table
Not sure where to start? Planning your head table first will give you a good starting point. Some of our clients opt to have a sweetheart table. A sweetheart table is a table for two; for bride and groom. This is a lovely arrangement to keep it romantic and formal, but often the couple want to be having fun with friends and family.
A top table will often include the parents of the bride and the groom, maid of honour and best man, along with other close family. Siblings, aunties, uncles and grandparents can sometimes be included on this table too!
2. Think about your table shapes
From the hundreds of wedding seating charts we at Millie Stone have created over the years, circular seems to be the most popular. It gives your guests more leg room and it’s easy to see the rest of the guests on that table. A bench seating alternative is perfect for the informal setting, however it doesn’t allow you to see the rest of the guests sitting on your side.
A few little bits of advice we have learnt over the years:
- don’t have centrepieces blocking peoples’ eye line. Stunning urns and tall floral arrangements look amazing in pictures, but practically they get in the way of your guests’ conversations their view of the speeches.
- think about having all of your tables the same shape and with the same capacity. It makes it easier for you to plan and looks better on photos.
- don’t try and squeeze people onto a table that’s far too small. Having people cramped onto one small table makes your wedding breakfast experience less enjoyable
3. Break the rules!
A wedding is a fabulous excuse to have a party, catch up with old family and friends and let your hair down. If you’d prefer to sit with your bridesmaids and/or groomsmen, and have a separate table for family, do it! As long as your close family are relatively close, it keeps them in an area where conversation can still flow.
4. Locating special guests for speeches
Speeches can often be a highly anticipated moment of the wedding breakfast and locating the relevant guests who are going to be making a speech can make the wedding breakfast run smoothly.
Ensure that the bride and groom are placed close to the microphone/area where the speeches are going to happen. Traditionally, this could be the Father of the Bride, Best Man, Groom, Bride and even Maid of Honour.
5. Avoid having a singles table
Having a table for all the single people at your wedding is often an easy route to take when arranging tables, however this can make all the guests on said table quite awkward and embarrassed.
It’s often better to place your single guests with their group of friends, or if they do not have a group, consider offering them a plus one.
6. Lay it all out
Having a visible layout of your table plan; whether it is pieces of card, a helpful app or one piece of paper, this really helps work out where to sit everybody. Being able to move the guests around visually before setting your plan in stone really makes a difference.
Things to consider when placing guests is:
- who gets on with who (divorced parents are unfortunately very common and some are not amicable; definitely keep this in mind when planning!)
- Keep couples together. It’s nice for people to mingle, but if your guests find it hard to speak to new people, put them with their own groups of friends or at least one person they are close with to put them at ease.
- Keep the older guests together (and very young guests too!) That way they will have more in common and be able to keep the conversation rolling.
7. Have a children’s table
This point should be higher up the list, but it’s always recommended that any children over a certain age sit together. Consider having engaging activities on each place setting, such as colouring pencils or word searches for the older kids.
Remember to place this table within close proximity to the parents, because younger children might get anxious when separated from their parents.
Having the kids table will also allow the parents to have conversations and let their hair down!
8. Create a seating chart or consider escort cards
Once you have laid out all of your wonderful guests, now is the exciting part! Designing your table plan!
There’s plenty of templates online you can download and use, but for something a little easier, it’s sometimes nice to have a wedding stationer do all the hard work for you!
Ordering your table plan is best done within one month of your wedding in case of any last minute changes or issues. This allows a couple of weeks for design and print, and a couple of weeks leeway to get everything packed and ready to go!
At Millie Stone we have lots of options for table plans; A1 foamex board table plans are often very popular because they are simple, very sleek and sit on an easel perfectly. They can fit up to 200 guests and you can even get in touch with us to create a bespoke design to match the rest of your stationery.
If you are concerned that your table plan may change last minute, escort cards are sometimes the way to go. Escort cards direct your guests to their allocated seat without the need for a fixed table plan and can even be edited the day of your wedding! They are displayed in many ways; physical cards or envelopes with separate numbers within. There are so many options for escort cards, so they are a bespoke option we can help with.
Please get in touch with us for further information at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill in our contact form here.
Featured image by Annelim Photography
Mirrored Table Plan Images by Matt Willis Photography
Tropical Wedding Images by Andrea Whelan Photography
Circular Table Plan Card Photography by EKR Pictures