Stressed BrideWe’ve often heard people complaining about how tiring, stressful and difficult creating a wedding seating plan is, and we know that it’s the one task likely to take longer than almost any other. Perhaps it’s because it looks at first glance as though it should be terribly easy to do. After all, you invite 100 guests, you grab 100 chairs and stick them round a few tables, scattering names of loved ones, friends, and even family members across the whole room. Couldn’t be easier, right?

Wrong. And so many people have said this that we decided to carry out a little research, Facebook style. After all, if there’s one place where people like to gather in order to have a good moan and share in the misery of planning a wedding, it’s Facebook.

Take A Seat… It’s The Seating Plan Survey Results

So, we took to Facebook, and after a mere twenty minutes of leaving comments on the latest hilarious cat memes, we posed the question,

“Arranging the reception seating plan is the most stressful part of planning a wedding.”
(See Facebook post)

Almost two hundred people responded, with a resounding 65% agreeing wholeheartedly, (130 people out of 198). Given the vast number of other potentially stressful aspects of wedding planning, this really does underline just how awful this element can be.

TopTablePlanner Facebook Survey

Interestingly we got quite a few comments posted too, including:

“I’ve heard plenty of stories of mums and dads falling out with the ‘happy’ couple over new partners, step children etc. nightmare!!”

“Took my daughter and I weeks to sort it, especially when family/ friends have had arguments in the past.”

“I’m hating the table plan stuff.”

Why Is Creating A Seating Plan So Stressful?

You’d think that a wedding would bring out the best in people, and that since everyone attending is a friend or family member they’d all get on and help support a spirit of harmony and peace.

Not so. Get the seating plan wrong and it could very well be a disaster that haunts you for years to come. Don’t you dare sit Aunt Belinda next to that frightful bore Uncle Gerald, always remember that Mildred can’t stand children and needs to be seated well away from anyone under four foot, and of course Grandpa Derek must be situated close to the loo.

Then there’s the whole ‘hierarchy’ issue. Everyone attending will consider themselves your closest friend or most loved family member, and will therefore expect one of the best tables. Number them at your peril.

Oh, and of course matchmaking tables are out, as are tables where people could potentially end up hurling the favours at each other before the second course.

Trying to sort out a suitable seating plan where everyone will be happy and have a good time is a little like playing Tetris with a dozen haddock whilst following the rules of chess. Blindfolded.

Wedding Tables

Top Tips On Creating A Top Seating Plan

Whether you call them ‘tips’, or ‘rules’, these are the things you really need to keep in mind when creating a successful seating plan for a wedding, or indeed any other event where guests need to be seated.

  • Don’t leave it until the last minute! Start working out your seating plan as soon as you can, perhaps even before your RSVPs have come back.
  • Start with the top table as this can often be the trickiest. If the traditional top table layout doesn’t work for you, don’t be afraid to try something different.
  • Keep groups together where you can – family, friends, colleagues.
  • Ask your venue if they can accommodate a few different sized tables. It’ll make arranging the seating a lot simpler!
  • Use table names rather than numbers as that eliminates any perceived hierarchy.

Another tip we’d add is ‘be flexible’. Even if you’ve had all of your replies back, and you know exactly who is and who isn’t able to come, inevitably this will change. We’ve even known people having to make changes to their seating plan the day before the wedding!

Don’t go to all the trouble of creating a complicated, detailed and beautiful seating plan too far ahead of the Big Day, so that if Auntie Mary and Uncle Dave divorce, you can place them on different tables, and if Cousin Margaret is now married, you might want to extend an additional invitation. Oh, and if your friend Alf ends up marrying a wombat and emigrating to the South Pole, you can remove him from the seating plan without causing too many problems.

How To Create A Seating Plan Without The Stress

We launched TopTablePlanner back in 2007 (gosh, six years ago!) when we realised just how frustrating creating a seating plan can be, with scraps of paper all over the place, and many changes required along the way. We realised that instead of bits of paper on the kitchen table, any one of which could be blown off or eaten by the dog, it would be a great deal simpler to create an online seating plan solution.

TopTablePlanner in action on a laptop and iPadWith TopTablePlanner you simply add in your guests (or even import them from a text file), add in your tables, and then re-arrange them on the screen until you’re happy.

Plans are saved online too which makes it easy to view and edit them from pretty much any computer, tablet or smartphone with an internet connection – perfect for quickly making changes whilst you’re at work or even when meeting to discuss plans with your venue.

When you’re done, simply print out the seating plan, along with name cards too if you wish, and wonder what all the fuss was about.

A fully functioning free trial is available right now, so try it today and stick your family and friends exactly where you want!

Try TopTablePlanner FREE today! »

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A little bit about Adam, founder of TopTablePlanner...

Adam has been working in the wedding industry since 2006. After discovering that arranging the seating is one of the hardest parts of planning a wedding, he launched TopTablePlanner in 2007. See his Google+ profile.