Bridesmaid – Bridesmaid – Maid of Honor – Bride – Groom – Best Man – Groomsman – Groomsman

This is the traditional seating arrangement for the head wedding table. But , its your wedding reception and you have options. Do you even want a head table? There are alternative arrangements – such as including parents/godparents or clergy at the head wedding table. You may want to include partners of the bridal party, or you may want to avoid the top table altogether and have a romantic table for two.

Top Tips for Seating Other Wedding Tables

1. Seating tables with just one family group will let them relax, but won’t do much to encourage mingling. However, a table where no one knows anyone else might be a bit daunting for some people. Try and arrange a mix on each table – so everyone knows a few people. By thinking about guests’ ages and interests you can make sure each table is likely to get along and have fun.

2. Where to sit singles can also create a dilemma. On one hand you might want to try out a little matchmaking, but on the other, this could be rather uncomfortable and awkward for your guests (it might be very obvious too!). Certainly avoid a ‘singles’ table but generally do whatever you feel is best for your guests.

3. If you are using round tables, the general etiquette is to seat males and females alternately around the table. If you are using long tables, seat couples opposite one another and then alternate male/females along the table.

4. The tables closest to the Bride and Groom should be reserved for the closest friends and family.

5. Give each table a name or number. Table names could be themed – for example people, objects or places that are relevant to you as a couple. Names also remove the perceived hierarchy of tables. You should create a name card for each table (your wedding venue may do this for you) so guests can easily find their table.

6. If you are assigning guests to specific seats you should create name place cards. These could also show menu choices (if you are offering them) or indicate vegetarians. The wait staff will really appreciate this and it will allow them to give a more seamless service. You should also give a paper copy of your plan to the reception venue so they can see where people are seated.

Creating the Seating Chart

Start arranging your seating plan early. You can start doing this before all your RSVP’s have been received. You know that most of your close friends and family will most likely be attending, even if they haven’t formally replied yet.

To begin creating your arrangement, get a general idea from your reception venue how the tables will be arranged in the room. Determine whether you’ll be using round or long tables or a mixture of both, and work out how many people you can sit at each table.

Arranging the chart can take a long time and might involve numerous revisions. Web-based seating charts or even Excel spreadsheets make the task simpler. Leading up to the big day, this will not only save hours of your time, but will also reduce the stress, by simplifying last minute changes.

Contributed by Adam Leyton