Wedding table plans - should you opt for open seating instead?

Organising your beloved family and friends so they enjoy themselves, don't restart a family feud or say the wrong thing to Granny can be a mighty task.  So is the table plan worth the headache?  Dare we let our wedding guests fend for themselves!  We've found a great blog from our venue dresser Ambience to help.

Looking after your guests and making sure they feel welcome and comfortable is all key to having a successful wedding day.

As part of this, you’ll be considering how you entertain and feed your guests. Are you having a formal sit-down dinner? A buffet? A festival-style wedding with street food? Or are you having an afternoon tea wedding?

Planning how you seat your guests depends to a large extent on how you plan the format of your wedding day. So here are some things to be thinking about to help you decide.

If you’ve having a traditional wedding in a large room, then this is probably the best option for you.

  • You can put guests together on tables in family groups, friendship groups, age groups and have a separate children’s table.
  • You can do some matchmaking by having a singles table!
  • At weddings, people often want to catch up with friends they haven’t seen for a while, and this is a good opportunity to let them do so.
  • You can keep people separated who might not get on!
  • You can put the oldies together so they can have a really good chin wag!
  • If you’re having a sit-down three-course meal, then it’s really essential to have a table plan and seating. You want guests to be seated before the waiting staff come in so that they can do their jobs properly and serve everyone wine and food.
  • We also like place names for people, rather than let people sit round a table at will. It’s your call, but you can have a lot of fun thinking about whom you would like to sit together (particularly if you’re having a singles table).

One thing to remember. If you’re clearing tables away for a dance floor, make sure you have a chill-out area for people to sit in, particularly the grannies (who may not be able to hear above the noise of the music). Make sure there is somewhere comfortable and peaceful to sit after dinner, where people can enjoy tea, coffee and wedding cake.

If this is what you’re opting for, then you don’t need a seating plan, although we’d probably recommend it. You may have chosen to have a sit-down starter before the main course, and people will want to relax over drinks and get to know/catch up with their neighbours.

In addition, you don’t want people losing their place to somebody else (who is late to the table) when they get up to get their food.

For all the reasons above, you may also want a seating plan so that you can group people together whom you know will get on and have a lot to talk about.

So – for a buffet-style wedding, it’s good to have a table plan.

Some couples like to have afternoon tea after the ceremony before dancing in the evening. We love afternoon tea weddings. After all, who doesn’t like delicious sandwiches, scones and cake? Tea-party weddings are become more and more popular, perhaps due to the influence of the Great British Bake Off!

If this is something you’re considering, then you don’t need to have a formal table plan. Just make sure your tables are laid out beautifully with vintage china and that the seating is comfortable. You could actually have a mixture of laid tables and groups of informal armchairs around a low table too. That’s something our stylists could talk to you about. Again, an afternoon tea wedding can be served by waiting staff, buffet style or even a mixture of both.

Don't panic if you're still in a blur - Nicola, our wedding co-ordinator, has many options to help with those 'tricky' wedding guests, so don't be afraid to ask!

Read the full article here.