Is a seating plan necessary?

Or…do you care who sits where?

It’s true that by ditching the hassle of creating a seating plan your Wedmin will be greatly reduced and stress levels will definitely be lower.  The pressure of deciding who has to sit next to great aunt Mildred with her hairy chin and dubious odour, or uncle Dave with his wondering hands and bad jokes is no longer yours.

Creating a seating plan appears to cause many brides a huge headache. In any one wedding you’ve likely got all manner of divorced couples and ex’s, dodgy friendships and questionable relatives, and deciding who sits where in order to keep the peace and not have your wedding disrupted (or remembered for all the wrong reasons) can be a bit like planning a war strategy.  But in the end YOU know your friends and family best, you know who will get on and who won’t and you can make or break your guests’ experience at your wedding.

So why would you relinquish that power and not consider having a seating plan?

We asked a bunch of brides if they did a seating plan; if so how stressful was it, if not … how’d it go?  Around 80% of brides admitted to doing a seating plan and to it causing way too many headaches in the planning stages of their wedding.  Fraught with choosing who sits where, who might feel left out in the cold and making sure ex’s were on the other side of the room, they then had to contend with ‘requests’.  One bride remembers “I had done a perfect plan, I had considered my brother-in-law’s very shy girlfriend and popped her on a table with people I knew had similar interests.  Then he asked me to put her on the table with his auntie so they could get to know each other better.  I growled, but complied.  But I was worried as I knew she might struggle with anyone else on that table. After checking out the table plan, she decided not to stay for the wedding breakfast and I was left with a hole. Not chuffed!”.

Another said she was practically divorced before she was married, such were the arguments caused between her and her fiancé as they worked on the seating plan.  He wanted a table of just boys, she said it would be too rowdy, he said it was his wedding too and he knew his mates, she said words no lady should say and eventually (after MUCH discussion) they compromised – he got his table of boys, but it was relegated to the back of the room, furthest from the bar.

No table plan does mean you run the risk of holes – gaps in the table where a bunch of people who know each other have set up camp and no-one else feels like they can join in, or there’s odd numbers of people and one seat remaining.  If these are not issues for you then absolutely don’t bother with a plan, but if you’re a bit of a control freak who likes to see gaps filled and people getting to know other people, well then this is not for you.

I was recently invited to a wedding and heard there would not be a seating plan. I immediately started to worry about finding a seat, who I might end up with, what if I wasn’t on the ‘cool’ table. Or worse…what if my husband and I had to separate because there were only single chairs left?  What a relief it was when I heard that someone had mentioned these sames concerns to the bride and they decided on a table plan.  Their reason for initially not wanting one?  They wanted it to be relaxed and for people to sit where they wanted.  It was only when the concerns were raised that they realised actually, it wouldn’t be relaxed for the guests at all.

Reasons not to have a table plan?  Well there are a few:

  • You’re doing Bowl Food / finger buffet / food that doesn’t require your guests sitting down
  • It’s a Micro Wedding – no need to dictate who sits where
  • You’re going for a less formal feel, having a mix of table sizes and styles
  • Your wedding reception is outside – a formal table layout just won’t feel right

Definitely not doing one? Consider these tips:

  • Introduce people to each other – when not forced we are likely to stick with the group we know
  • Make sure ‘singles’ are looked after, or allow them to bring a plus-1
  • Provide more seats than you need – having exact bum-to-seat numbers could cause issues

For me, table plans are the fun bit. As mentioned earlier – I know my friends and family well and I knew I could create fun tables where people I love could meet other people I love and make new friendships along the way.  Was it stressful? Not really, but then I only had 60 people. Doing it for 300 guests might have caused a little hair loss…. ♥


Thanks to the wonderful Chief Chalker for the awesome header image.  Check out her stuff – adds something special to your day ♥

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