6 Guest Seating Plan Tips

6 Guest Seating Plan TipsPitfalls and solutions
In the best of circumstances, sorting out your seating plan is a logistical nightmare. In some instances, the Dunkirk evacuation of WWII might well have been easier to organise. Your wedding day should be the best day of your life – and not one beset by trouble and strife. But if your background is less than straightforward than that could be what’s in store. But never fear – Fabulous Functions UK is here with a look at 6 common planning pitfalls and possible solutions.

The structure of the family has changed beyond all recognition in the last two or three decades. It’s no longer all about the traditional nuclear family of husband and wife and 2.1 children. When both the bride and bridegroom’s parents enjoy a conventional marriage arrangement, there doesn’t tend to be any problems when it comes to deciding who sits at the top table at a wedding. However, things can get trickier when it comes to dealing with parents who are separated or divorced – if they have new partners in particular.

It’s all too common for families to forget just whose wedding it is and start making demands on who sits where and with whom. So, if you don’t want to run off on your own and get married on a desert island or simply take everyone down the pub after the ceremony what can you do to deal with table planning problems?

Guest Seating Plan Tips - tables and chairs set for a wedding or party

Planning Tips for Seating Guests

  1. ‘My parents are divorced so the traditional top table layout isn’t good for us.’

Suggested solutions:

If they’re really not amenable to you having one long-top table with everyone on it together – new partners and all – then do something different and have an American-style ‘sweetheart table’ just for the two of you.

Guest Seating Plan Tips - A sweetheart table for two solves many of the top table seating problems.
A sweetheart table allows the couple to enjoy their celebrations while having that all important moment of togetherness. - Guest Seating Plan Tips
American style sweetheart table for two – an alternative to the traditional top table.
  • Ask your parents to each host their own table while as a couple, you sit on a table with the groomsmen and the bridesmaids.
  • You and your spouse move around your tables with each course so that you sit with different people.
  • Seat the disagreeing parties on separate tables but close to the head table and with equally important relatives.
  • Have a buffet and let everyone sit where they want.
  1. ‘One of my friends is coming without a plus 1 and doesn’t know anyone. How should I seat her?’

Suggested solution:

If you can, place her on a table where there’s a couple of other single guests. But avoid creating a whole ‘singles’ table. It might feel a bit like a speed dating event if that happens. And think about who in your friendship group or family she might get along with and seat her with them.

  1. We’re having a separate children’s table. Where’s the best place to put it and should we have supervisory adults on it?

Suggested solution:

One tip for your guest seating plan is to put your children’s table close to the door, so troublesome young guests can be whipped out fast if they start misbehaving!

But try to avoid putting adults on it – it’s hardly going to be fun for them is it? Besides, younger children needing help eating should be on a table with their parents. Keep the children’s table for the seven-twelve age group.

Another of our tips for your guest seating plan is to try at all cost to prevent teenagers dying with embarrassment by seating them either on a separate table or with younger adult friends.

  1. You’ve got twelve university friends coming and your tables seat ten.

Suggested solution:

Don’t, whatever you do, separate two friends out from the fun. Instead split a large, close group (whether family or friends) in two and pair with another group they might have common ground with. Your cousins for example. Then the whole gang can reconvene on the dance floor.

  1. Your parents are paying for the wedding and want to invite a bunch of people you don’t know and have no clue where to seat!

Suggested solution:

Ask your parents to help! They invited them! – so let them sort that one out.

  1. You’ve already changed the seating plan more times than enough and you’re about to explode.

Suggested solution:


For moments like this, one of our top tips for your guest seating plan is this: take a deep breath and walk away and take a reality check: This is just one meal. When dinner is done and the speeches are made your guests will be on the dance floor, in the bar and circulating round tables and they’ll have a great time.

And so will you.

For more on this topic see this article on 12 tips for designing the ultimate wedding seating chart.

Hiring a venue stylist

Hiring a venue stylist such as ourselves will relieve your stress levels. We have a ton of experience and knowledge and lots of tips for your guest seating plan and so much more. We let you enjoy your wedding planning journey and ultimately your wedding day.

Serving your our clients is our focus. Find out a bit more about our services here.

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