Parley Manor, Parley Green,
By Zara Pitman — 16th March 2015
The table plan is one of the most challenging jobs when planning your wedding. You want to ensure your guests have a great time and they will be spending a good few hours sat down enjoying their delicious meal you have provided them with. There will be changes to your guest list throughout your planning, so it isn’t something that can be done way in advance, only a couple of weeks before the big day. Try not to print your table plan until the last minute as you may have alterations to make, I had some guests pull out the day before the wedding so try to be flexible and not stress as this is normal!
The debate is always whether to play it safe, keeping groups and circles of friends together or to really mix everyone up so they have a chance to meet new people that they may not have otherwise got to know. You may have some guests who would revel in this and to others the thought of this makes their toes curl. So what do you do?
There is a balanced approach where you can mix people up but make sure there are at least 3-4 people on their table they know well; so half the table one group and the other half another. This way they should feel comfortable enough to let their hair down at the same time as leaving the wedding with new additions to their library of friends. You know your friends, so trust your instincts and just go with what you feel they would enjoy!
Mixing young and old can be a great success but I wouldn’t want to put children on the so called ‘naughty table’ where there are likely to be drinking games for people guessing the duration of the speeches! So keeping children near their loved ones and perhaps a more family oriented table could be a good call. You could also have a ‘kiddies’ table so they can all be together and adults can have their fun but I would suggest this being supervised by a child minder.
The Top table would traditionally be the bride and groom, both sets of parents, the best man and chief bridesmaid. However, this is rarely the case especially as many couples have children before getting married or parents that are separated. It can be hard to decide what to go for. This usually involves your very closest friends and family and they are the last people you want to upset before your big day. An option that can solve this is the sweetheart top table, just the bride and groom. That way you don’t have to pick and choose, however you can feel a little more ‘on show’ and you only have your beloved to talk to!! However, it’s a chance to spend some quality time with them during the day as you have probably been busy welcoming your guests and generally getting blown away with the excitement!
For a much more relaxed feel you could have table names and your guests can sit where they like on that table. This way they don’t feel restricted and can mingle as they see fit. Some may then insist on sitting boy girl while others may be happy to stay close to their friends.
Another thing to bear in mind is that it’s a good idea for older guests to face the top table so they do not have to turn around for the speeches when their movement may be restricted. It’s a small thing but can make a huge difference and make them feel they have been considered and a valued guest!
So go ahead and tackle the table plan!
Love Zara x