So the wedding is booked the rsvp’s are back and its time to organise possibly the biggest dinner of your life….. Fear not!
I’ll take you through some easy steps to help your big day run as smoothly as possible!
Step 1 – Find out the layout of your venue and how many can sit at each table.
Speak with your venue and request the room layout. You may have banquet tables or a traditional top table/round tables or scrapping the top table altogether! Anything goes nowadays, but it is important to understand how many guests you can sit where! This may seen obvious, but I have a fair few couples that forgot to check, seated 12 guests per round table. Their plan was approved and sent only in advance (organised bride!), then only to find out from the venue that 10 is the maximum on a table! Nightmare… and very stressful for the couple who had to go back to the drawing board and redraft a new plan must nearer to the big day than they had wanted to.
Step 2 – Where are you sitting?
Let’s start with the most important couple of the day, you and your partner! Where you sitting? It’s fair to say this should be your decision, its your day and you should be 100% happy with who you want to sit next to. Of course your new husband/wife, but the other side? There are so many reasons why you may not be sitting next to your in-laws, as is tradition. Your parents may have split and if they aren’t on great terms maybe best not to have them on the top table at all, rather than choosing which one to have. Tread carefully here if this affects you, discuss with the parents well in advance of your intentions on this to save any last minute arguments (even worse on the day!). For example we invited just our maid of honour and best man to join us. Do what feels right for you and your families.
Step 3 – Rest of the Guests!
I found the easiest way to start was to write down all of your guest names and group them into where they fit in your lives. You may want to start with “Bride’s family”, “Groom’s family”, perhaps “joint friend’s”, “Work friends” etc. For our wedding I had my school friends and university friends, my husband had football friends and school friends. We kept those together as much as possible so everyone within these groups knew each other. Place these groups over 1 or more tables, depending how many guests you can fit on each table. Hopefully then you will have some ‘floaters’ (no offence!). These guests don’t strictly fall into one group and are normally happy to slot in with other groups, ideal to making up the numbers on half full tables.
Step 4 – Who goes Where?
So your guests have a table, woo! Now, what table within the room should they go on? Of course lets start from ‘Table 1’ (although you may call this something else) as named by your venue. This is traditionally the next most important table to the top table…AKA immediate family. Swiftly followed by any bridal party guests not on the top table. Then perhaps more family, then working your way through your friend groups. However you know your room layout and you may prefer certain groups to be nearer the top table than this, especially if you think they may help cheer the speeches along.
Step 5 – Key Guests and Tensions
Don’t forget; make sure your best man and father of the bride are in a great position to deliver their speeches to the room. If you have parents, family, or friends who have shall we say “history”, try and keep those people away from each other. No one wants the drama or tension they may create. Hopefully it will allow the room to have a nice atmosphere so everyone can enjoy their dinner.
Step 6 – Make it official
Double check all your hard work so far. Try writing out your table plan like a football formation! A diagram will help you visualise the room and make any tweaks you need to do. Once confirmed type this up! Excel is your best friend for this. Easy to use and you can lay the tables out how you want. Then email this to the venue so they can set the room up that way and to your table plan designer 😉 Then when your guests arrive they can follow table plan and find their places easily.
Step 7 – Relax!
After carefully laying out your plan, enjoy yourself. You’ve put in careful planning and laid the room out how you want. There may be last minute changes, but rest assured you can handle it!
Now order a stunning table plan to show case your hard work!