This post was written especially for couples who are planning big weddings in our region. A detailed guide to seating arrangements is in a separate post; this one is about the small things that are often overlooked when planning where and how your guests should be seated.
Ask your parents for their preference or traditions, for example, should the groom’s side of the family be on the left or right side of the ballroom? This will determine which side the groom’s seats at the main table are. Find out who will be sitting at the main table too, as you should notify them in advance. And while you’re at it, find out who needs to be on stage for the main toast.
If the Best Man and Maid of Honour are not sitting at the main table, make sure they are seated nearby so they can assist the bride and groom when necessary.
Emcees should not be too far away from the stage, especially if it’s a big ballroom. Instead, they should be seated at a table nearest to the stairs leading up to the stage. This table can consist of friends who can help to make sure your emcees are getting enough food, or perhaps it can even be a table for all your helpers who will have food set aside for them.
Guest lists should be arranged in groups of ten according to their categories. If you have no choice, it’s best to split guests in the same category into two groups of four and six each. Try to seat people with common interests together, especially if it’s a really big wedding.
It’s better to seat your parents’ friends with other families than to have them sitting with your boisterous friends.
Aisle tables should consist of close friends for a more excited and joyful atmosphere when the newlyweds walk in. Avoid seating helpers at aisle tables; you don’t want half empty tables in all your walk-in photos.
Always place children in high chairs at the sides to avoid mishaps during the serving of food and beverages. Avoid having more than one high chair at each table.
Seat at least one helper who are in charge next to the main entrance. That way, someone will be able to spot and assist guests who are late.
Pass a copy of your table arrangements – highlighted with special dietary requests and number of high chairs required – to your banquet manager on the day of your reception so they can set up everything before your guests arrive.
Finally, make sure there are one or two extra tables in case people turn up unexpectedly. You probably won’t need to use them in the end, but at least your guests will have somewhere to sit while your coordinator sorts things out.