Organising your wedding table plan can be one of the most difficult parts of your planning process. Here I am going to share some tis on how to organise your wedding table plan, as well as give you an insight into what traditions dictate.
The top table is usually a long table that faces the guest tables and seats the wedding party. There are different ways you can organise your top table. Here are a few ideas...
A traditional wedding top table seating plan (from left to right):
Chief bridesmaid, groom's father, bride's mother, groom, bride, bride's father, groom's mother, best man.
Groom's mother, Bride's father, chief bridesmaid, groom, bride, best man, bride's mother, bride's father.
Traditional layouts do not suit all couples, especially if the bride or groom's parents are divorced/re-married or if they have children. In this case you may want to consider the following options...
A larger top table accommodating step-parents as well
A larger top table accommodating children as well
A small table just for the bride and groom
A table for the bride, groom, chief bridesmaid and best man
A table for the bride, groom and children
Before you start deciding on who sits where you may want to discuss with your wedding venue the table/room options available for the amount of guests attending. They will be able to tell you the maximum amount of guests allowed per table and the maximum amount of tables allowed overall - this will give you a firm foundation to work on.
Now you know how many tables and seats per table you can have you need to start dividing your guests up to suit. Try making 3 separate lists; the bride's family and friends, the groom's family and friends and shared friends who can be split either way. Next, divide your guests up, sitting the people who are closest to you nearest the top table with the people less close to you furthest away.
Arrange your guests male/female wherever possible
Consider who will get on well together - a wedding breakfast can often take two hours or longer so you want people to feel comfortable
Keep families together wherever possible
Make sure seats are easily accessible for elderly guests and guests in wheelchairs
Place families with young babies/children around the edge of the room allowing plenty of space for a highchair and/or pram. It will also allow children to move around between courses without disturbing other guests
A table plan should be organised as near to the wedding day as possible, allowing for any last minute changes should a guest drop out. If you are having a wedding table plan made or printed then check the turnaround times with your wedding stationer and allow for this - you may even want to consider having your table plan delivered direct to your venue if you're tight on time.
Don't forget you can use The Wedding Community's free table planner tool to organise your seating plan.
Article by Lisa Forde of The Card Gallery
Image of Water colour Roses Table Plan courtesy of The Card Gallery
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