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How to navigate the politics of wedding day seating plans

A well-oiled wedding needs careful logistical planning and often a little political consideration to run smoothly. And that usually starts with your seating arrangements. Which is why Alan Sabol, General Manager of Bruisyard Hall, has some tips for getting your table plan spot on.

Unless you’re planning on a super intimate wedding, your guests are at some point going to utter that line, “where am I sitting?” And as they look at your beautifully decorated seating diagram, they’ll never for one second imagine all the complex and considered thought that you’ve put into plotting their place in the grand scheme of things. And nor should they, and once you’ve sorted it, nor should you either. Because getting it done means you can start looking forward to enjoying your day with all of your favourite people.

Plan early

How early? As soon as those RSVP’s come in, that’s the time to start thinking about your seating plan. Think about the big issues first. Where to sit your opinionated uncle? How to place that ex, and their exes, to avoid any awkwardness that might detract from the event. Considering these broad strokes early on will give you chance to think about how you want to proceed. Getting it out of the way will allow you to put it out of your mind.

Figure out your tribes

Which guests know each other already? Work colleagues, uni friends, family, etc…grouping these circles together will help you place them around their tables. But let’s be honest, these groups aren’t necessarily going to correspond to the table sizes you have available, and there may be an overspill. So think about who might get on together from different groups, and mix them up. Whilst you’re at it, don’t be afraid to mix up generations. This can help older people unlock their inner party animal, and invest them into the bigger celebration. Having a mature person in the vicinity can also keep those younger guests’ wilder impulses in check too.

Think about the whole room

Sit your friends near the top table so they can laugh and clap at the speeches. Consider keeping the older relatives away from speakers and the band, allowing them a quieter spot at the back. This will also enable them to remain seated if some of the tables are moved later to create a dance floor.

The top table

Tradition has a layout for the top table, but let’s face it, not every family fits comfortably into that tradition. Nor should it need to. You can fit your best man, chief bridesmaids, bride and groom’s parents either side of you if you wish. That’s the traditional way.

However, what if your family politics don’t fit those traditions? A divorced set of parents who wish to attend with their new partners, for example? Rather than be cause for anxiety, disagreement and strife that can overshadow your big day, this can be an opportunity to mix things up a little.

You could allow each set of parents to host their own table, for example. Or perhaps, if you consider your friends as your real family, you can choose to place them around you on the top table. You could even add extra chairs to each table, which will allow you to circulate the room and mix with different groups as the event goes on. This is great for gregarious brides and grooms.

Just remember, it’s your big day, so you get to decide. And with a little early planning, it’s possible to navigate the complexities of the table plan, and move onto plotting the rest of your exciting wedding. I wish you the best of luck!

Wherever you sit on your table plans, we can offer you a wonderful place to fit all your loved ones in a multi-day wedding. Email info@bruisyardhall.com or call 01728 639 000.