As wedding caterers and event co-ordinators, we’ve done our fair share of table planning! The table plan is a key element of your wedding, making sure all your guests are seated in the perfect place to enjoy the meal. Here are a few of the top tips we’ve picked up along the way on how to create a wedding table plan.
Take a look at your wedding guest list
Start off by looking at your guestlist, so you have a good idea of exactly who has RSVP’d and who’s taking a plus one. Then have a think about how everyone knows each other, and any little groups you can create. For example school friends, university friends, work colleagues and family. Once you have an overview like this, you’ll be able to see approximately how many tables you’ll need and who might want to sit where.
Mix it up or keep it together?
Whether you want to mix up your guests or keep the groups together is completely up to you. It’s a good idea to do some mixing to allow guests to meet new people and mingle with each other. But at the same time, you want to make sure everyone feels comfortable and is able to catch up with friends they might not have seen in a while. We usually go for a balance somewhere in the middle - make sure each table has at least two or three people that know each other, and mix together a couple of smaller groups.
Make sure everyone gets on
If there are any old family feuds or divorced parents, make sure you don’t sit those parties next to each other! Even if this isn’t the case, do be aware of people who might not have much in common. There’s nothing worse than awkward silence over the dinner table. Instead, seat people who have similar interest together - even if they don’t know each other yet, they’ll have plenty to talk about.
Top table or no top table?
Having a top table is the tradition in most weddings, but increasingly couples are doing away with it. By only seating the bridal party and immediate family at the top table, that means that other guests (such as the partners of your bridesmaids) may have to sit on their own if they don’t know anyone else at the wedding. Instead, many couples are opting for a more casual top table, mingling with other guests.
Get rid of the singles' table
Having a singles, table at your wedding is a bit of an old cliche, and we don’t think there’s any need for it. Rather than sitting all your single guests at one table, mix them in with other tables so they can sit with friends or people with similar interests - it doesn’t matter if everyone else at the table is coupled up.
Create a seating plan
Once you’ve figured out all of the above, it’s time to actually create your seating plan! Having a seating plan might seem a bit formal, but even if you’re wedding is a bit more casual it’s a good idea to have one. This will avoid any mix ups, and makes sure no one feels left out or awkwardly trying to grab a seat on their own.
Don’t forget to create place cards for each guests, and have fun with naming your tables. We love the idea of naming them after places you’ve been together, or significant years throughout your life together so far.
If you need more help to plan the perfect wedding meal, take a look at our Weddings page to read more about our wedding catering and event planning services in Sussex, Surrey, Kent, Hampshire and South London: bearclawcatering.co.uk/weddings