The Wedding Seating Plan

For anything larger than a small, informal reception, a wedding seating plan is likely to make a significant difference to the success of your reception. A wedding seating plan will almost certainly help things run more smoothly.

Guests are saved from the mad panic of trying to find a seat on a table with their friends/family, and you can place people where they'll be happiest! The wedding meal may last for 2-3 hours and is a significant part of the day. If your guests are sitting with people they get along with, it will make a big difference to their enjoyment of the day.

The Wedding Top Table - Who Sits Where?

Traditional Wedding Top Table Layout

In the UK, the Bride and Groom would traditionally sit in the middle of the wedding top table flanked by the Bride's parents, then the Groom's parents and finally by the Best Man and Chief Bridesmaid.

Don't feel you need to stick with tradition though as there are plenty of alternative top table layouts you can use, including the US-style head table.

Some layouts can be particularly useful when parents have split up and are possibly with a new partner. In many cases it is helpful to abandon the restrictions which tend to come with top table plans. Perhaps a romantic 'sweetheart' table for two, or even sitting with friends, rather than family might be a solution? After all, it's your wedding!

Seating Planning Software

TopTablePlanner - Wedding Seating Plan Software

Using a simple-to-use computer-based seating planner such as TopTablePlanner you'll be able to make major changes with a few clicks, and minor changes in much less time than it would take to draw it all out again by hand.

Sharing it with your venue is quick and simple too, by either emailing or printing out. When it comes to wedding seating plans, thank goodness for the 21st century!

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Did you know that in a recent online poll, 95% of people said that as a guest they'd prefer to have a wedding seating plan?

6 Tips for Successful Seating Plans

Tables setup for a wedding reception

Want more tips? See our top 30 tips for arranging your seating plan page.

If you remember only one thing...
Do what you think would make you and your guests most comfortable.

Creating the Wedding Seating Plan

Couple using TopTablePlanner to arrange their wedding table plan

Use TopTablePlanner to arrange your wedding table plan.

When should you start your wedding seating plan? The answer is - as soon as possible! Certainly don't wait for all of your RSVPs to come in or you'll end up having a huge rush to try to organise the whole seating plan at the last moment. You'll know about your close friends and family, so start working out a seating plan as soon as possible.

It's always a good idea to visit the venue and ask them about the availability of tables, whether there are long tables, round, or both. The venue may be able to offer advice on the best way to fit tables into the room. Knowing what's available, and having a general idea about possible seating plans will allow you to start thinking about your own plan.

If you intend to draw a plan out on paper - make sure you have a huge pad, plenty of pencils and a lot of time! There will almost certainly be numerous revisions - some major, some minor. If you decide to use sticky bits of paper, this can become very fiddly. Save time, spare yourself a headache and reduce waste paper - use a more dynamic solution such as Excel, or an online wedding seating planner such as TopTablePlanner.

Seating Plan Design Inspiration

Periodic Table themed wedding seating planProminently displayed at your reception venue, your seating plan is likely to get a lot of attention from your guests. Use design ideas from your colour scheme or theme if you have one and perhaps try and match the look of your other wedding stationery. You could take inspiration from your interests and hobbies, or from your time together as a couple.

If you really want a seating plan that'll get all your guests talking, how about using one of these ideas? There are plenty more ideas on our blog and Pinterest board too.

If you fancy something a little bit different, how about a Periodic Table themed seating plan!

Perfect for a couple with a science connection, each 'element' indicates an individual guest with colour coding used to show which table they are sitting at. This example has codes to show meal choice and table number too.

London Underground wedding seating plan

One of my personal favourites is a London Underground themed seating plan. Each line is used to indicate a particular table, with stations becoming guest names.

The London Tube map certainly has an iconic design, but there’s no reason why you couldn't base your plan on your own local transport system.

If you've visited some interesting places together, a world map themed seating plan would be perfect! It's really easy to make yourself too! Simply frame a map of the world and pin a luggage label to it for each table, each one being named after place you have visited.

World map themed seating plan

For a really 'wow' seating plan, an ice sculpture is going to take some beating! It's likely to be a talking point for some years to come. The seating plan is frozen inside special slow melting ice which should remain looking stunning for around 6 to 8 hours.

This seating plan, made with real mini bunting is absolutely adorable! Ideal for a vintage or rustic theme. You could choose the colour of bunting to fit perfectly with your theme or the venue.

Bunting table plan cards

Printable frame style seating plan

A frame design seating plan makes a visually impressive feature at your wedding, whilst being easy to make. With each frame being a different design, the eclectic frames would work really well with a glamourous venue or a vintage theme.

Article written by Adam. See his profile.

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