Top tips for table planning

Today I’m going to share with you my top tips for creating a table plan that works for you both and your guests.

Creating the table plan or seating plan is arguably one of the most difficult tasks when planning your special day. It can be pretty challenging, daunting and time consuming but it’s got to be done!

Guest List

Before even attempting to start, you need to have your finalised guest list in hand. I provide a comprehensive guest list planner when you sign up for my course which helps you keep your guest list up to date.

Once you have your list and final numbers, it’s time to start plotting.  I would start looking at placing guests once you have all of your RSVP’s back.

Speak to your venue

Double check how many tables fit in the room.  Are they round or long? How many guests can be seated on the tables? Are you having a long or round top table and where will this be located? Can they send you a layout plan of these tables. Using their plan you can start placing guests.

To Name or Number?

Your guests need something to identify what table they are sat on.  You could number your tables or go for unusual names that mean something to you both like places you have visited, films or music you like, flowers – the choice is yours.  You will need to make sure you get the names/numbers made up and put in frames or stands (the venue may have these so do make sure you ask).

Plotting your guests

Now this is the hard part! I would always suggest putting your guests in groups where they know each other.  This puts people at ease straightaway. This isn’t always possible though and if it isn’t think about age group and interest to ensure there is flowing conversation.

Think about family groups and friendship groups, who you’d like closest to the top table and who you might want furthest away!

Have your numbers/names ready and using your guest list start placing people onto tables.  If you are a more visual person who likes to do things the old fashioned way, I would get hold of a large piece of card/paper and print each guests names out of slips of paper.  This way you can swap and change guests if you need to during the process.

You might want to use a spreadsheet, like the one I created to go with my course.

When undertaking this task, there are a number of considerations to make:

  • Disabled or elderly guests – It’s always best to locate these guests near the exit to the toilets/bar etc so it is easier for them to navigate around the room.
  • Children – Sit them in between parents so they can share the task of feeding them. Do you need to organise highchairs or extra space for prams? You might want to provide the little ones with an activity pack to keep them busy!
  • Family set ups – Do you or your partner have families that are split or have family members that are no longer with us. Give this part some real though and talk to those involved as to what they would feel most comfortable doing.  Perhaps opt for a round top table instead of a long if you would rather not make it obvious that things might be awkward etc!
  • Close family members/bridal party – Think about what guests will need to be placed the closest to the top table.


Display plan

In order for your guests to find where they are sitting you should create a display plan. Lots of venues will provide an easel for you to use.  You may want to consider using a mirror, board, frame.  You could even use escort cards.


Venue plan

You’ll need to provide your venue/wedding planner/caterer with your “behind the scenes” table plan which will be the layout of the wedding breakfast room, where your guests are sitting, indicating any children, highchairs, dietary requirements or special requests.  If you have opted for a choice menu, it’s useful to breakdown the choices in a key for each table so the venue are not in any doubt.  You’ll need to organise place cards for your guests if you would like them to sit in specific locations.  Again, if you have opted for a choice menu, it’s handy if you put that guests choice on the back (you wouldn’t believe how many people forget what they ordered!).  All of these actions ensure that the venue can serve you seamlessly.

I provide a guest list planner for you to keep organised along with loads of information on how to keep your guests happy on your big day over at my online course for only £35.

Happy Planning!

Olivia x