Ahh, the wedding seating plan. The question of where to put your relatives and friends, whom to put on the same table, and how to organize your entire guest list in a way that everyone gets along harmoniously, and enjoys your big day. Sounds like quite a tall order, right? Well, if you’ve got some trouble with your seat plan, you’ve come to the right place. Here are some tips that will hopefully solve all your wedding seating plan problems!
Before you begin on your seating plan, you have to decide or at least know what kind of tables will be set up in your reception. Will they be round, rectangle, square, oval? Knowing your table shape and size will help you determine how many guests can sit per table.
You’ll naturally want to sit guests who know each other together, and an easy way to keep tabs on that is to categorize your guests into groups. You can use a pen and paper or a document on your laptop, but segregate your guests into family groups and friend groups. You can even be more specific with your groupings, like college friends, work mates, etc.
Many couples actually often forget to seat themselves. Whether you’re getting your own couple’s table or not, settle the question of where you’re going to sit first. You can choose to sit with your wedding party, your parents, your sponsors, or even a group of friends. It’s your wedding day after all, so sit where you want to sit.
I invited 14 college friends, but my table can only sit 10. What do I do? Well, you can split them into two and mix them with other people. You don’t necessarily have to have one table dedicated to a specific group. It might actually be a good idea to have your friends mingle with some relatives or maybe your fiancé’s groups of friends. A little bit of socializing never hurt anyone!
Yes, it is tempting to play matchmaker for your single friends, but if your single friends all find out that they’re on a singles table, things might just get a bit awkward. I recommend mixing and matching couples and singles, and looking for some common ground other than ones civil status. Maybe your friend and cousin share the same interests? Maybe your tita and work mate visited the same country? These could be great conversation builders that can keep people talking.
If you know that there is some tension between some guests, then it might be best to keep them apart. Try as much as possible to keep a scene from happening by being aware of whatever history or tension your guests will have with other guests you invited, and manage your seat plan accordingly.
One thing I find helpful is having a kids’ table. For one, the kids themselves might find more enjoyment staying with peers their age instead of a table full of adults, and two, it also gives the adults a chance to engage in conversation without the young ones trying to butt in every now and then.
When choosing what table to put your guests in, I would suggest keeping your floor plan in mind. Where are the bathrooms? Maybe your lolo or lola might need to be in a table that has easy access to the toilets. Where are the speakers located? If anyone is bringing an infant, you might want to make sure that he or she isn’t seated near a speaker.
Sometimes, it’s nice to see everything mapped out. You can grab a pen and notepad and draw a sample seating plan, and mark which guest sits at what table. Or if you prefer to go digital, you can make a spreadsheet or a presentation, and do the same. The purpose for this is to better visualize the seating plan, and to double check if you’ve assigned a table or seat to everyone.
If you don’t know where to put a certain tito or haven’t a clue where to place your dad’s friend, then don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your parents would probably be a good bet, seeing that they’ll know most of your relatives and probably a good number of your friends.
Here’s another tip you can consider! Instead of assigning individual seats, you can just assign your guests a table, and let them take care of the rest. It’s less effort on your end, and doesn’t really force people to sit in a specific place. You can allow them the freedom to choose (both their seat and seat mates!), without stressing yourselves out.