Table seating plan hints for weddings and events


Do I actually need assigned seating?

Assigning seats or tables?

Seating preparations

Desk dimension, form and structure

RSVP etiquette

Assigning seats

Seating charts, escort playing cards, desk quantity playing cards and place playing cards

    Seating chart

    Escort playing cards

    Desk quantity playing cards

    Place playing cards

Desk names

Desk decorations

Particular wants

Wedding ceremony seating plans

Wedding ceremony prime desk

Assessing your seating plan

Seating plan software program

Do I actually need assigned seating?

Should not company select the place they sit? In any case we’re all adults! The truth is a YouGov survey performed in February 2006 reveals that an awesome 84% of marriage ceremony company desire assigned seating.

most well-liked being assigned to a particular seat 51%
most well-liked being assigned to a desk (can select any seat) 33%
free for all – no seats or tables assigned 13%
doesn’t apply, don’t/wouldn’t attend a marriage reception 3%

The outcomes have been significantly clear for company aged over 50, solely 8% of whom most well-liked unassigned seating.

Unassigned seating sounds nice in concept and it’s actually one much less chore for the organizer. Sadly it not often works out so effectively in observe.

the perils of unassigned seating
  • There could also be an unseemly rush for the great’ seats.
  • It can take quite a bit longer to get company seated. They could nonetheless be milling round whereas the meals is being served.
  • Your lovely decor might be spoilt by individuals leaving their coats on chairs to order them.
  • The previous few company find yourself strolling round in search of seats, a bit just like the unpopular child in school lunch.
  • {Couples} can get break up up. It isn’t unknown for company to finish up consuming outdoors the venue as a result of they could not get a seat collectively at a desk.
  • Aged relations could find yourself seated the place they can not see or hear something.
  • If individuals flip up uninvited (frequent in some cultures) they could take seats supposed in your invited company.

It will also be a reasonably depressing expertise for company:

“I hate going to a marriage the place it’s important to discover a desk the place all your mates and you may sit… or god forbid you’re the individuals who know the couple however nobody else… that’s so horrible… even in case you are assigned a desk you continue to should discover a place to sit down at it… yuck. That’s simply my opinion… are you able to inform I’ve been on this spot a time or two. I’ve numerous pals that I’ve recognized since I used to be in grade faculty, however we went to totally different faculties at all times, and by no means had the identical group of pals… at their weddings there I used to be on their own, and no assigned seats, you are feeling like you’re standing there and everyone seems to be looking at you as you attempt to discover what appears like a desk of amiable individuals, and you find yourself sitting on the desk with nice aunt lucy as a result of that’s all that’s left, and she or he tells you loopy tales that you simply by no means needed to know… yikes… assigned seating is completely the way in which to go! Simply from expertise.”

Kim on the dialogue board

The bigger the occasion, the larger the chance you’re taking with unassigned seating. In reality, organizers draw back from assigned seating largely due to the time concerned in assigning seats or tables. But it surely would not should be an enormous chore if you happen to use applicable seating project software program.

For those who nonetheless resolve to go for unassigned seating then you definitely needn’t learn any additional on this website. Simply be sure you have extra chairs than company and good luck!

Assigning seats or tables?

Visitors may be assigned to a desk (the place they will select any seat) or assigned to a particular seat. We do not have precise figures, however it appears that evidently assigning tables might be extra frequent within the USA and assigning seats is extra frequent in Europe. Each approaches are legitimate and whichever you select is a matter of private choice.

Seat project

  • you’ll be able to make sure that audio system and VIP company are seated in essentially the most applicable seats
  • makes it simpler for ready workers to ship meals to particular company
  • extra standard with company in keeping with a survey
  • is an efficient alternative for the organizer to do some matchmaking!

Desk project

  • is barely much less work for the organizer
  • doesn’t require place playing cards
  • company have some alternative who they sit subsequent to

Seating preparations

You would possibly need to put individuals subsequent to individuals they know, otherwise you would possibly need to break up them up a bit in order that they meet new individuals. However attempt to put every individual subsequent to at the least one individual they already know. Persons are extra prone to hit it off if they’re comparable ages or have comparable pursuits. It won’t be a good suggestion to place your ‘various life-style’ pal with the piercings and tattoos subsequent to your 80-year-old grandmother. Somewhat frequent sense goes a great distance.

Usually it’s best to attempt to put households collectively and work colleagues collectively. But when you realize individuals do not get on, attempt seating them individually. It’s value breaking with custom to have a stress free occasion.

Keep away from mixing age teams an excessive amount of. Younger youngsters must be seated with their mother and father. Older youngsters may be seated with their mother and father, or on a desk collectively.

Attempt to create balanced tables, with even numbers of men and women. It’s conventional to alternate male-female-male-female company in some cultures. Some enterprise dinners are seated male-male-female-female for selection.

If it’s a group of those who know one another effectively you possibly can attempt splitting up married {couples} for additional selection.

Attempt to keep away from placing company on the identical desk as ex-partners, except you’re certain that is OK. Keep in mind that each room has four corners!

Resist the temptation to have a ‘leftovers’ desk of all of the individuals who did not match on different tables. It’s most likely higher to distribute such company evenly.

Desk dimension, form and structure

You may want all of the tables to be similar dimension and form otherwise you would possibly need to differ them. Discover out what dimensions and shapes can be found.

The figures beneath offer you a tough concept of the venue dimension required, relying on the variety of company and the kind of seating. Observe that it would not permit for dance flooring and different unused house.

Really helpful house per visitor
Instance: a room that’s 10m x 10m = 100 sq m will maintain a most of roughly: 200 standing company, 140 company at rectangular tables, 100 company at round tables and 176 company seated in rows.

The picture beneath offers you a tough information for minimal desk spacing.

table layout

Really helpful minimal desk spacing

Be certain that the tables are positioned in order that serving workers have quick access. Do not place a desk blocking a door, particularly a hearth escape. You probably have a big venue for the variety of company you might need to put all of the tables in a single nook to keep away from the venue feeling empty.

A very good variety of seats for a round desk is ten. You probably have greater than this not all of the company on a desk will have the ability to see/converse to one another. You probably have lower than this you’ll have issues becoming all of the tables into the venue. The figures beneath offer you a tough concept of the variety of company you’ll be able to match on a round desk:

Really helpful round desk seating capacities
(based mostly on 1.9 ft and 1.6 ft circumference per visitor for splendid and most respectively, company in wheelchairs might have extra house)

RSVP etiquette

Definition of RSVP: An abbreviation of “répondez s’il vous plaît“, which is French for “please reply”.

Earlier than you’ll be able to prepare your seating plan you want to know what number of company are coming. You possibly can affirm numbers by sending out RSVPs. Sometimes RSVPs are despatched out at the least a month earlier than the occasion. Your RSVP ought to clarify:

  • the character and site, date and time of the occasion
  • who’s invited (are youngsters invited?)
  • a deadline for accepting (anticipating individuals to answer inside every week is just not unreasonable)
  • how they will settle for or decline (e.g. phone, letter or e-mail)
  • (non-obligatory) alternative of meal

RSVP playing cards usually embody an area for the visitor to fill-in and return.

It’s best to at all times embody a date by which individuals should reply, in any other case some individuals could resolve to depart it to the day earlier than the occasion. Chase up stragglers with a telephone name as soon as the reply deadline has expired.

If it is a crucial occasion and also you need to warn individuals to maintain the date free lengthy earlier than you ship out RSVPs, you’ll be able to ship ‘save the date’ playing cards.

Assigning seats

you’re having speeches or bulletins, attempt to place the individuals
giving them are seated the place they will not have their again to anybody.

to position pregnant, aged and disabled company and company with small
youngsters the place they’ve quick access to bathrooms and different amenities.
Do not seat them at tables which can be going to be eliminated to create space
after the meal.

company will usually have poorer listening to and eyesight. Do attempt to put
them the place they will see and listen to any speeches. Don’t put them subsequent to
loud music, they will not recognize it. Put youngsters’s tables within the
least beneficial areas, they’ve higher listening to and will not be too
within the speeches anyway.

Seating charts, escort playing cards, desk numbers and place playing cards

Visitors might want to know which desk they’re seated at so they do not should stroll round each desk to search out their place. That is normally achieved by displaying a seating chart or escort playing cards prominently on the entrance to the venue.

Desk quantity playing cards are positioned on tables to show the quantity or identify of the desk. You probably have a lot of tables you may additionally need to show a flooring plan to indicate the place the tables are.

Place playing cards are positioned at every setting to make sure company sit within the right seats.

You probably have assigned company to seats you will want:

  • seating chart + desk playing cards + place playing cards; or
  • escort playing cards + desk playing cards + place playing cards

You probably have assigned company to tables you will want:

  • seating chart + desk playing cards; or
  • escort playing cards + desk playing cards

These may be as easy or elaborate as you want. Extra necessary is that you’ve an excellent desk plan that seats the precise individuals collectively.

Seating chart

A seating chart reveals every visitor which desk they’re seated at. Whether or not you favor a seating chart or escort playing cards is a matter of private choice. Seating charts are simpler to show. They will also be signed by your company and framed to make a pleasant memento of the event.

The seating chart can both listing company by desk or alphabetically by identify. Itemizing by desk is extra frequent within the UK and reveals who else is on the identical desk. Itemizing by visitor identify is extra frequent within the USA and makes it a bit simpler to search out your desk, particularly at a big occasion.

Whether or not to show a plain and easy seating chart or a extremely ornamental/inventive one may be very a lot a matter of private choice. For those who select an inventive font in your seating chart (e.g. script or gothic), be certain it’s readable by all of your company.

Many accommodations could have an easel you should utilize to show your seating chart.

Escort playing cards

Escort playing cards present the identify/variety of the desk a visitor is seated at. An escort card is normally inside a small envelope with the visitor’s identify written on the surface. You can even use a clean enterprise card and write the identify on one facet and the desk quantity on the opposite. Escort playing cards are quite common within the USA. Whether or not you favor a seating chart or escort playing cards is a matter of private choice. Escort playing cards have the benefit that they are often modified as much as the final minute, whereas a seating chart could should be printed days or perhaps weeks upfront.

escort cards

PerfectTablePlan can print escort playing cards straight out of your visitor listing

Escort playing cards may be as inventive or as plain as you want. For those who select a calligraphy font in your seating chart or playing cards (e.g. script or gothic), be certain it’s readable by all of your company.

Escort playing cards are usually positioned on a desk, in alphabetical order, on the entrance to the venue.

Desk quantity playing cards

Desk quantity playing cards are positioned on tables to show the desk identify or quantity. They need to be massive sufficient to learn with out having to stroll proper as much as the desk.

Desk quantity playing cards are normally massive tent fold playing cards, or flat playing cards in a holder. Be certain that they don’t seem to be so tall that they stop company seeing one another over the desk.

You probably have determined to call your tables you’ll be able to theme the desk quantity playing cards appropriately.

You should use ‘hearts’ enjoying playing cards for cheap desk quantity markers, i.e. Ace of hearts for desk 1, two of hearts for desk 2 and so on.

table number cards

PerfectTablePlan can print desk quantity playing cards straight out of your visitor listing

Place playing cards

Place playing cards are positioned at every place setting to make sure company sit within the right seats. They’re solely required you probably have assigned company to seats (not tables). In case you are utilizing tent-fold playing cards, write the visitor’s identify on either side in order that different company on the desk may learn it.

Normally place card names might be within the format “Mr John Smith”, however you should utilize “John Smith” or “Mr J. Smith” relying on the extent of ritual you are feeling proud of. Utilizing simply the primary identify is clearly not beneficial if there may be multiple individual with the identical first identify. Visitor names will also be written on personalised favours or menus as an alternative of utilizing place playing cards.

Place playing cards may be purchased from marriage ceremony suppliers and a few stationery suppliers. You possibly can both write them by hand your self, make use of a calligrapher to do it for you or print them on the pc. In case you are printing them on the pc we advocate you purchase sheets of press out place playing cards, for instance ones accessible from Avery, DecaDry or Sigel.

For those who use an inventive or calligraphy font in your place playing cards (e.g. script or gothic), be certain it’s readable by all of your company.

Place playing cards could be a helpful method to talk to the catering workers which meals individuals have ordered. E.g. add a pink ribbon or dot to the place card for beef and a blue ribbon or dot for fish.

Desk names

In case you are feeling inventive you can provide tables names as an alternative of numbers. This is quite common for weddings. Numbered tables are much less work and simpler to search out if they’re laid out logically. Named tables add a bit extra ambiance and are helpful in case you are frightened about company being offended about not being seated on “desk 1”.

Doable desk naming themes embody:

  • flowers (e.g. roses)
  • gem stones
  • nations/cities
  • colors
  • actors/movies/TV applications
  • bands/songs
  • cocktails/whiskies/wines
  • sweets (=candies)
  • animals/birds/butterflies
  • sports activities groups
  • dances
  • Disney characters
  • a phrase or phrase in several languages (resembling ‘I really like you’)
  • well-known romantic {couples}
  • one thing applicable to the variety of tables, e.g. the names of the 7 seas or 7 dwarves for 7 tables
  • automobiles/motorbikes
  • one thing associated to your hobbies/pursuits

You can even brighten up numbers, for instance embody an image of the hosts at age 1 on desk 1, at age 2 on desk 2 and so on.

Desk decorations

In addition to cutlery, crockery and glasses, gadgets on the desk can embody:

It’s a good suggestion to put all of it out on an applicable dimension desk, earlier than the large day, to ensure it would not look cluttered. You might be able to mix desk playing cards, menus and/or favors into one merchandise to avoid wasting house and cash.

Be certain that any flowers, desk playing cards or different shows on the desk aren’t so massive that they stop company seeing one another.

In case you are placing individuals who do not know one another collectively, it might be a good suggestion to offer them with a quiz or another type of ‘ice breaker’.

Give every youngster a ‘goody bag’ to maintain them amused. This may incorporates balloons, pencils and paper, small toy and so on. It would not should be costly. Do not give them something that may trigger stains or everlasting marks! Bubble blowing kits may be enjoyable however you might find yourself with soapy tasting meals and a slippery dance flooring.

Disposable cameras could be a low-cost and enjoyable method to report an occasion. However be sure you depart clear directions that you really want company to complete the movie (you do not need 10 half-finished movies) and what you need them to do with the digital camera afterward. You may additionally have to remind individuals to make use of the flash indoors.

Particular wants

Ensure you discover out and notify the caterers of dietary preferences, e.g. vegetarian, kosher, halal, nut allergic reactions and gluten intolerance.

Order excessive chairs, or different applicable seats, for babies.

Inform the caterers of any company in wheelchairs who will not require seats.

Wedding ceremony seating plans

A typical marriage ceremony seating plan is to have the marriage celebration on a head desk (with seats down one facet) dealing with all the opposite company seated on round tables:

If it will not trigger friction attempt to seat members of the bride and groom’s households on tables collectively, it’s their greatest likelihood to get to know one another.

The marriage celebration desk must be positioned the place the bride and groom can see (and be seen by) as many company as attainable.

Keep in mind that as soon as the primary marriage ceremony meal (the ‘marriage ceremony breakfast’) commences the bride could have taken the identify of the groom. Guarantee that your seating chart, place playing cards and so on take account of this.

You probably have a lot of paid attendees you propose to feed, e.g. photographer, videographer and so on., you might need to assign them to a separate desk.

Remember to depart room for cake and present tables.

Observe that marriage ceremony etiquette varies between nations and cultures and you’ll have to tailor your marriage ceremony seating plan accordingly.

Wedding ceremony prime desk

The marriage celebration is normally seated at a protracted desk with seats down one facet. That is known as the ‘prime desk’ or ‘head desk’.

Who to placed on the highest desk could be a delicate challenge, particularly if the mother and father of the bride or groom have divorced and remarried. Ensure you resolve any such points lengthy earlier than the marriage day.

There are numerous alternative ways to prepare a marriage prime desk, however historically:

  • The groom sits to the precise of the bride.
  • Locations alternate male-female
  • Companions of the Greatest man and Chief bridesmaid sit at different tables.

A typical instance is proven beneath, however it’s best to do what feels best for you.

For a second marriage you might want to seat youngsters of the primary marriage on the highest desk.

If the mother and father of the bride or groom have divorced and remarried it most likely is not a good suggestion to place them and their new companions collectively on the highest desk. One resolution is to ask some household of the step-parent and put them collectively on a separate desk close to the highest desk.

In case you are frightened that somebody would possibly really feel disregarded as a result of they don’t seem to be on the highest desk, ask them to “host” one of many different tables. Make it clear who’s internet hosting every desk on the seating chart. It will assist them to really feel concerned.

If the mother and father of the bride and groom will not be within the marriage ceremony celebration they need to be seated on the desk nearest the highest desk.

It’s turning into trendy in some quarters to have the bride and groom at their very own desk (for instance David and Victoria Beckham). That is additionally known as a “sweetheart desk”. This may be helpful for bypassing points about who must be on the highest desk.

Some {couples} choose to not have a prime desk in any respect, however to have two free seats at every desk to allow them to mingle in the course of the meal. It is a good concept, nevertheless it does imply that two company at every desk might be seated subsequent to empty seats for a lot of the reception.

Assessing your seating plan

Do not be a slave to custom. Resolve what you need in your occasion and create your desk plan accordingly.

It’s most likely a good suggestion to indicate your desk plan to a couple key company to make sure that it’s OK and you have not forgotten something. Ensure you have sufficient time to take account of their ideas. Do not present everybody, except you need to make your life troublesome.

Seating plan software program

The standard method to planning seating preparations is to put in writing down company’ names on scraps of paper and transfer these round. However that is time consuming and error inclined. Chopping and pasting right into a spreadsheet is little higher. On condition that there are extra methods of seating 25 company in 25 seats than there are grains of sand in the entire world it’s little surprise that making a desk plan ‘by hand’ is such a headache.

planning seating the old-fashioned way

The old style method to seating plans.

The excellent news is that cheap seating plan software program is on the market within the type of PerfectTablePlan. PerfectTablePlan lets you:

  • routinely assign company to the precise seats with a single mouse click on
  • nice tune seating preparations with drag and drop
  • experiment with totally different desk sizes, shapes and layouts
  • observe RSVPs and meal decisions
  • print plans, charts, place playing cards and different stationery
  • deal with final minute modifications

And all this from solely $29.95/£19.95/€26.95!

PerfectTablePlan is on the market for Home windows and Macintosh. Why not obtain a free trial now?

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