Wedding Etiquette: A Guide for Organising Your Wedding Seating Plan

Months will go into planning your special day and while it is ‘your’ day the only way for it to be a true success is for it to be enjoyed by all, this means carefully putting some extra thought into your wedding seating chart.


The seating plan dilemma is one that all bridal couples will face during the planning of their big day. Often the most dreaded task, arranging seating plans can be stressful and there quite possibly may be a few disagreements about who sits where. Unfortunately planning your seating is something you cannot delegate and can’t be done until just before the wedding once you have received all your RSVPs. Sometimes asking close friends, bridal party members and your parents for advice on your seating plan can help you make decisive decisions. However tread carefully as once you start throwing other opinions in the mix things can get confusing. The best advice for couples is to make exceptions and compromise where possible. Try to be as accommodating as you can and realise that unfortunately sometimes you can’t please everyone. To ensure you’re on the right track check out our wedding etiquette advice below.

First of all the old male-female-male-female ratio need not apply. Simply sit guests where they will be comfortable and have the best possible time. If this means sitting three male guests next to each other then so be it.

Always try your best to seat people on tables with others they already know and get along with. This can mean seating whole families at their own tables. Try to mix up the tables by having tables full of families from both sides near each other. This will just go towards the seamless coming together of the two families

planning-wedding-seating-chartFor people at your wedding who don’t know anyone else such as co-workers pair them with people who are easy to talk to as well as in a similar age bracket. This grants them the best opportunity of socialising with other wedding guests. Allowing a guest who doesn’t know anyone else to bring a plus one is also always a wise decision, even if the plus one rule will be strict for everyone else.

Be considerate of any special circumstances such as divorced couples or people who openly don’t get along. Having them on separate tables will help ensure you have a drama free wedding reception.

Couples should never be separated unless one of the partners is a part of the bridal party. In this instance, try to seat the partner with either family or friends. This might mean shuffling a few people around or squeezing them onto a table. However keep in mind that the reception won’t be tons of fun for them if they’re partner is preoccupied with the bridal party and they are sitting with people they don’t know.

If you will be having a child friendly wedding reception consider having all those bringing the kiddies along all within the same area or have a separate table for the kids filled with activities to keep them entertained.


Who goes on the tables closest to the bridal party head table? Some people believe it is an honour bestowed on those closest to the bridal party that get to sit nearest to the table. Others simply put their immediate family and some don’t give it a thought. Traditionally the bridal parents would sit at the main table with the bride and groom and the maid of honour and best man. Nowadays couples prefer to be seated with their bridal party, either a mixture of groomsmen and bridesmaids along the table or the bridesmaids to the bride’s side and the groomsmen to the groom’s side. Another option is to include the partners of your bridal party on the table with you all, this will keep everyone happy and ensure your bridal party aren’t constantly leaving the table to keep their partner company. Some couples however may prefer to forgo a head table altogether and instead prefer to sit with their guests.

A way to avoid the hassle of seating plans is to simply go without or only allocate guests to a certain table and then allow your guests to arrange themselves where they sit on that particular table. Assigned seating however can be easier for a guest as there is no need for them to try and figure out where to sit. It can also ensure guests are seated quicker and the wedding reception proceedings can begin without allocated seating guests may wander around for a while and there may even be a commotion for what is deemed the best seats.


If you will be having allocated seating blending tables so that different friends and relatives mix together can be a good idea but a lot of thought will need to go into this. You will need to consider who you think will get along for instance who has similar interests and is within a similar age bracket. Some guests will enjoy getting to speak with other people they might not have otherwise mingled with while there will always be some who prefer to stick to what and who they know. So if you are going to mix social groups you must be confident in your seating decisions.  Sometimes pre warning guests on where they will be sitting can be all that is needed so they have time to prepare. The shock of sitting on an unexpected table or with people you don’t know can sometimes take away from one’s ability to enjoy their surrounds. However on the flip side guests who know they will be sitting with people they didn’t expect may instead not look forward to your wedding and go into the reception with a less than excited mood.

Unfortunately it is very rare that you will be able to please everyone when it comes to your wedding seating plans however for the most part guests will be up mingling and will only be seated for the formalities and during meals so try not to stress too much about your seating arrangements.

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