How to Make a Wedding Seating Plan from Scratch
Making a wedding seating plan is something you might dread. Figuring out where everybody is going to sit and then designing the chart takes time and effort which are in short supply when you’re organising a wedding. But it can be surprisingly easy.
First, send off your invitations and RSVPs. The responses will give you an accurate idea of who’s attending and how many people there will be so that you can start to design your seating plan. Next, divide the guest list into groups based on who you think will sit well together - this could be the difficult bit! You can then design your own personalised wedding seating plan in minutes online.
Your chosen printer will print off your chart and send it to you. This is the perfect compromise between professional design and limiting the time and effort you have to put in. Read on to learn more...
When to Make a Wedding Seating Chart
Before you design a seating plan, you need information. Specifically, you need to know how many people and who will be attending your wedding. It’s impossible to make a seating plan before you know these things.
That’s the whole point of save the dates and invites. While they do let the guests know there’s a wedding for them to attend, they also help the couple plan their big day. Invites come with RSVPs which your guests return so you know who’s coming, and who isn’t.
Invites are sent off way in advance of the wedding date. This means that the guests have time to reply, and you have time to plan your seating chart. You can even make clear in your invite that you need guests to respond so that you can plan the reception.
What If Some Guests Haven’t Returned Their RSVP?
It doesn’t matter how well planned out your wedding is there will always be at least one or two guests who don’t RSVP. This throws a spanner in the works, because you won’t know exactly who’s attending and how many people will be there until late on.
If that’s the case chase these people up. Call them, text them, and email them to try and get an answer. Most people who don’t respond are only doing so because they don’t want to tell you they likely can’t come, so that may be the issue.
Whatever the case, whether they’re coming or not, you need to know. Let any stragglers know that you won’t mind if they can’t come. While it’s sad when any guest can’t attend, the reality of the situation is that you’ve got a reception to plan, and you need to know.
But even if some people refuse to respond, there are ways around it.
How to Plan a Wedding Seating Chart
Planning a wedding seating plan seems like a daunting task. It’s tough enough to get everybody to reply to your invites; then arranging all of your guests into groupings on tables is enough to put anybody off.
Start off with your list of RSVPs. Take note of every guest that has confirmed they’ll be attending, and every guest that won’t be. You don’t need to order or group them yet, because that’s something you’ll do later. For now, concentrate on getting an exact number and list of guests.
There will be a couple of people left over who haven’t responded yet. While that’s irritating, it’s not the end of the world. Assume that these people are coming for the time being and include them in your plan. It’s better to have a table short of a guest than an unexpected guest on a table, on their own.
Then, with your list drawn up, you can start planning. This is when things get serious!
Create Groups from Your Guest List
The next step is to group your guests onto tables. To do this, you’ll need to know how big each table is at the reception, so talk to the venue manager or your wedding planner to find out. Bear in mind that some tables maybe smaller than others.
Begin by putting couples together. Married guests and people with plus ones should be grouped with their partners, these people will be the cores of each table. Spread them out so that they aren’t all together, with single people all lumped in on one table.
Of the remaining guests, group them together based on what you know about them. If you know your uncle is a music producer and that your uni friend plays guitar, then you could put them on a table together. Or, if you have two relatives that you know always get along, group them together.
There may be one or two people who don’t fit neatly in. Place two of these people next to each other on a table with a couple or a group. This is the best compromise possible, because the table won’t be silent and they can join in the conversation if they want or feel capable. But there will also be somebody there who isn’t part of that group that they can talk to.
This may not sound like the perfect solution, but there is no perfect solution. There will always be one or two people who don’t perfectly fit in a wedding party. But this is the best way to deal with that issue.
Create a Design for Your Seating Plan
Once you’ve got your tables figured out, you can start bringing everything together by designing the seating plan itself. The seating plan is a large card separated into sections. It usually has a design of some kind, with each of the tables in its own section.
You don’t need Photoshop or Paint to make your own seating plan, though. Most couples rely on template designs for their seating plans and wedding stationery.