Unless you are really lucky the table plan, which seems like a relatively straight forward process to begin with, always takes more time than you think. There’s lots of choices to make, like whether you put your guests with family or friend groups or mix them up so everyone gets to know each other. If you do decide to mix the tables one great trick is to seat people with others they have something in common with and name the table accordingly. Say for instance friends who love cars, call your table Top Gear and let them work out why! Naming tables is a great way to break the ice and you can always match these to your theme or things you love. Some of the ones we’ve seen are:
Places special to you as a couple such as places you’ve visited on holiday
Names connected with hobbies such as star constellations or fashion designers
Favourite movies or authors
Famous romantic couples such as Romeo and Juliet, Bogart and Bacall and Taylor and Burton.
Once the fun bit is over and you’ve got brilliant names then comes the hard part, actually getting names to places. This for me was really frustrating. It required the patience of a saint as not so long ago, involved writing names on bits of paper and whizzing them around on a home drawn table plan for an eternity (well that’s how it felt!). However nowadays there’s a website for everything and table planning is no exception.
We’ve used Toptableplanner for many an event and it’s a really easy way to play around with the seating so you can get it exactly right. I’ve lost count of the times we’ve turned up to style tables and been given the name places only to find they don’t match with the seating planner! It’s easy to miss people off or forget to write a name tag so using a website like this really helps.
A good trick of the trade is to always take a few extra name tags (with pen!) on the day just in case. We’ve had guests who have turned up with a plus one but actually didn’t tell the bride and groom so we’ve quickly rearranged seating to accommodate them. And always, always, always make sure you have spelt names correctly. Where seating plans are concerned the phrase, check, double check and check again is your mantra.
Caterers will also love you forever if you can give them a table plan and mark on it where children and vegetarians are sitting. It makes their service so much smoother to manage.
And do remember that although many hotels and venues have “wedding planners” they might not be up for arranging all your seating plan, dressing the tables and putting out favours etc on the day. Check well in advance and if they are going to do this for you make sure you have a dummy run with them beforehand, especially if you have specific requirements or lots to put together.
Happy table planning!
Images. 1. Bridesmagazine.com 2. Planyourperfectwedding.com 3. theweddingchicks.com 4. lover.ly