Tackling the seating plan


Tackling the Seating Plan

With so many comedies surrounding this simple task in the wedding planning journey (Friends, we’re looking at you!), we take a look at where to start and how to tackle the seating plan with as little stress as possible.

Planning your wedding should be fun and exciting from start to finish and organising your seating plan is no exception. Doing this as a couple is key – don’t be worried by the prospect of a huge guest list or put off by people’s relationships with each other. The task is much more manageable, and fun, when you tackle it together.

Once you’ve sent out your invitations and decided on your guest list according to the capacity of your wedding venue, the first thing to do is find out from your venue what the table setup will be like. Will they have round tables, rectangular tables or long banqueting tables? The Tythe Barn offer gorgeous rectangular tables that are so versatile - they can be left as single tables, two can be joined together to make a 'square' or they can be set up as long banqueting tables that look stunning in the main barn!  Will they be set up in a U-shape or dotted around the venue? How many tables can you have? Where will the head table be or where will you be seated? Consider also where your speeches will be given, as that may have some impact on where you sit certain guests that may be hard of hearing. Some wedding venues, such as The Tythe Barn, are lucky enough to be able to offer a variety of seating arrangements to suit their couples. Head over to our Pinterest page to see some of the creative ways couples have designed their Wedding Breakfast.

When your RSVP’s have all been returned, you can spend an evening over a bottle of wine organising where everyone will be sat. Try to avoid offering ‘free seating’. It often ends up with a lone chair on a table or guests sat with people they don’t know – easily avoidable by taking the time to consider your guests. Plus, if you have a menu that your guests have been able to choose from in your initial invites, it makes it much easier for the catering team, as you can send them a copy of your seating plan in advance, further ensuring the smooth running of your Wedding Breakfast.

It always works best to visualise the seating plan. Print out an outline of your tables in the positions they will be in at the wedding venue (or lay some books or CDs out on the floor) and write the names of your guests on little slips of paper so they can be easily moved around. 

Always seat yourselves first. If you have a head table, traditionally the couple’s parents, maid of honour and best man will join you up there, but it’s a personal decision. You may choose to have a smaller head table just for the two of you to enjoy a romantic Wedding Breakfast together.

Try to seat close-family members or friends with people that they know. If you have a few guests coming who don’t know anybody else, try to consider their personalities and sit them with like-minded people so they have something in common. The idea is to create a buzzing atmosphere which always works best if guests are sat with their friends. Remember to think about who’s sat behind them or on the table next to them as well!  At The Tythe Barn there is a fantastic menu choice called the 'Self Carve' which gives the wedding couple the chance to choose a particular guest on each table to be the 'carver' and they in turn carve to the guests on their table.  This is a hugely popular option as it is a great ice-breaker for guests and a lot of fun with the carvers being secretly taken off to the Cowshed, dressed up in chef's hats and aprons and then marched back out to the wedding party in the main barn accompanied by dramatic music or similar...they are in the hands of the couple's own creative and theatrical prowess!

Now you’ve finalised their positions, create a hard copy of your final table plan so you can easily see it if you need to. It’s also a good idea to get a few photocopies or pop it on the computer as a digital version. Some suppliers, such as the florist or photographer, may like to see how the tables will be set up before the day so they can plan in advance, and the wedding venue will often require a copy as well, simply to help with the initial setup and the smooth running of your wedding day.

Now the main bit is complete, and you know how many tables you’ll need, you can decide on the decoration and themes. Will you be having a simple run of greenery accompanied by some candles, or perhaps a beautiful floral centrepiece as the focus? Would you like to stick to a colour scheme throughout or will you be adding a theme or name to each table instead? Don’t forget to also think about place cards – there are so many ideas out there to create some beautiful wedding tables. The Tythe Barn have their own In-House Stationery range including Place Cards and can be found on the website here Take a look at what we’ve found /weddings/stationery but they also have some great ideas here.

The next part is deciding how to display your seating plan. This can be sent off to an expert stationery designer, or it’s a great opportunity for any DIY couples who fancy getting creative. We’ve seen mirrors and rustic wooden frames with seating plans inside, cactuses surrounded by lollipop sticks with guest’s names on, even Christmas themed stockings to represent the tables. It’s an easy way of incorporating your colour scheme or wedding theme again. Decide as well whether you’ll be propping it up on an easel (The Tythe Barn have various options for you to use), table, or even some rustic crates so guests can easily see it when they get to your venue.


How simple is that? There’s no need to worry about tackling the seating plan really – just remember, it’s much more fun and manageable when you do it together!