How to make a stress-free seating plan

KJ Mills of The Wedding Planner in Helensburgh gives us her top tips for fool-proof, stress-free seating arrangements

Plan in advance

When dealing with your seating plan give yourself as much time as possible. Start at least six months prior to the wedding and don’t leave it until the last minute. As the big day approaches, there will be so many other things to work on and getting the difficult parts out the way early means you can enjoy the more enjoyable tasks. If it’s too difficult to do a full seating plan that far out, start with the bare bones of one, and this will make it easier for you to switch and change things about if required.

Understand guest relationships

Everyone has family politics or separate friendship groups, so make sure you know the dynamics of your guests’ relationships and sit them accordingly. Your big day is all about you, but it is equally important that your guests are comfortable. If the guests are happy then you’ll be happy!

Top table

When possible, I recommend that couples sit at the top table with immediate family members alongside the bride and groom. This way guests can see the newlyweds and visit the head table to congratulate the couple rather than waiting for them to make rounds. Not only is this ideal for guests, but it is also a crafty way to seat divorced parents comfortably at the same table – just sit one either side of the couple and that stress factor is eliminated.

Have a seating chart board and place cards at the venue

Once you’ve finalised your seating plan, mount it on a board and have it available for guests to view on the day. This way your friends and family can easily find their way to their seats and if you decide to use place cards, there will be no confusion about who’s sitting where. It’s also a great way to get creative and make a beautiful display for the venue.

Explain the agenda of the day to guests

Don’t be afraid to explain all the details and key information for the day to your guests. Whether that be what time the toasts will begin, when there will be food served, or where the toilets are. Guests are like sheep: they need to be herded and don’t want to be out of line. Nobody wants to be the person who goes to the toilet just before the speeches start, so in order to avoid these awkward moments simply have your wedding planner or your master of ceremonies explain it at the start of the reception.

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