How to create the perfect wedding seating plan – leaving room for a stress-free Wedding Breakfast.

Updated: Jul 3, 2020

Wedding seating plans are infamously difficult. There’s always a grumpy uncle or an estranged relative that just has to be invited… then you’ve got mum and dad that may not be together (even more difficult if she or he left the other for someone else… who may be invited to the wedding…eep) – very soon it becomes less about celebrating your big day and more trying to avoid WW3! … BUT! It doesn’t have to be like that.

I am from a ‘blended’ family, as is my partner Jamie. We get married in August - if you’re a regular Wild reader you will know all about this because after a 2 year engagement already… I can now almost say I get married THIS year… and I am living for it!

The fact is, both of our respective parents would rather be anywhere else than next to fellow bearers of children 1 and 2 and that’s completely understandable – there are always gonna be tiffs… This blog post is about simple solutions we found useful – and are confident you will, too! Remember… it’s about YOU! And your amazing wedding… if it gets a bit stressful – take 5, regroup, look back to the tips below. We’ve got this!

Two tone seating plan + calligraphy order of the day | Image credit: Rosie Kelly Photography

1. (Captain state the obvious reporting for duty…) Check how many seats you have per table and the table layout, i.e. do you have circular tables (in which case there is no escape as they’re always facing each other hehe) or long rectangular ones where you can divide people that way?

Knowing your table capacity is key as when it comes to splitting up groups you may find some tables naturally end up smaller – and that’s fine - but also remember you don’t want to have lots of tables for the sake of it as more tables = more table linen / glasswear / styling hire fees. P.s. I wrote a really good blog post a few weeks ago about how to have an amazing wedding without spending for the sake of it if you want to have a nosey.

2. Top table. Traditionally you have parents. If we did that we’d have 10 people on the top table… with only 40 guests total that seems excessive! Our top options were the following:

a. Best man/ Maid of Honour + partners

b. Sweetheart table

c. 2 big tables to sit all guests on instead of smaller tables

And the winner was… A! 😊 With the sweetheart table – really lovely idea, you get to sit and eat with the person you love and enjoy some you time after the elation of getting married. What I didn’t like – was that we wouldn’t get much time with the bridal party or groomsmen during the day after they’ve spent so much money. For us this was an issue as both our best friends live far away and we only see each other every two to three months. However, if your inner circle were local – the sweetheart table could be fab (but do think whether you’d be OK watching all your best mates get sozzled without you… hehe) With C – it just didn’t work with the room. This could have been fab in a long barn room or a bigger venue. If you are going for this – avoid benches… or going to the loo will be a nightmare!

Ibiza themed wedding table | Image credit: Esme Whiteside Photography | Neon by This Will Be Forever | Florals by Wildfire Floral Co.

3. Table names > Table numbers

There’s something so clinical and matter of fact about numbers. I would never want any guests to think they were on the last table. Names are so much better! Not only because they save the ranking but also it’s a cute opportunity for you to show off what you’re all about. Maybe you want to pick your favourite places, significant dates… fave songs from the 90s?! As a wedding stationer I am all about your stationery showing off who you are.

Is there anything more delicious than a Maccies table plan? With each table named after a firm fave from the menu? Image credit: Sam Hook Photo

4. Party favour/ Boozey seating plan

This was absolute gold that I will hold my hands up to stealing from a friend’s wedding. It was pure magic (which I’m sure was the point as the theme was Disney… hehe) we got to the venue, and the cake table was full of miniatures with our names on written on the cutest mini luggage tags, each tag had a guest’s name and table name, we knew which table we had to sit on, but it was up to us to choose our seat… saving the couple that last 7352622 hours deciding on the final seating plan, no doubt!

I’ve since pinched this idea and raved about it (a lot!) at wedding fairs and to engaged friends because I think it’s such a fab idea. What’s more, again you have a fab opportunity to show flair and personality… if you’re creative, you can make your own gin with your partner, maybe infuse it with your favourite sweet or use a specific food colouring so it matches your theme (Making the wedding a bit more of you which we are all about here at wild!). If money was no object, we’d have bought everyone their fave miniatures to show just how much we love them (note: we would have had to start a mini booze stalking operation as I have no idea what some of the guests love and that would be so awkward – especially if we mentioned it in the speech ha!)

Miniatures of homemade gin from our wedding. Loved matching the colour to our table scapes!

5. Don’t overthink it! If you’ve thought in your head ‘will those two punch each other in the face’ you know it’s not gonna work – so don’t test the water… similarly on a less dramatic note – if you know it’s going to make a guest uncomfortable, do try to avoid it – but don’t take days to decide. Make an initial plan with your partner – then look over it a few days later to make final tweaks. Then don’t discuss it. Several (wiser) members of my family have all given me this advice… if people don’t know who they’re sat next to, they expect the worst… and then chances are it won’t be all too bad.

Remember, it’s all about YOU! And celebrating an amazing thing with food (one of life’s greatest pleasures)!

Good luck (not that you need it)!

P.p.s - If you wanna try something exciting in the lead up to the wedding that doesn't cost an arm and a leg, why not read about our #alphabetdating adventures so far in this blog post about cool dates in Nottingham.

Faye x