How to choose the seating plan for your wedding


There may be some among you who have a fairly cavalier attitude towards organisation and order, but here’s a little tip for you: that doesn’t fly when you’re organising a wedding. Number one rule when you’re working out your seating plan: don’t go rogue. You need a seating plan! There are so many factors (some of which might not have even crossed your mind) that you need to consider when organising your seating plan, but don’t panic! Here at Rushton Hall, one of the most exquisite wedding venues in Northamptonshire we’re here to help with some top tips on making sure that everything runs smoothly on your big day…




Top tips for your top table

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Choosing your top table can be tricky; there’s not an infinite amount of room, but there can be a lot of people you’d like to include. What happens when your maid of honour, who you’ve known since you were two has a new boyfriend? Where do you put him? And what about step families? When you’ve got four parents, room can be a little tight! What we would suggest, is maybe forgoing the traditional idea of a ‘top table’. Try, as far as possible, to keep it the same as all the other tables, just with the addition of the bride and groom. Same shape, same size, same decoration, and in amongst all the other tables. This way, no one will feel too left out.


Where is the ‘top table’?

Now, though we may have banished the label of ‘top table’, it does still exist, symbolically at least, in that the speeches will be made from this table. So you need to make sure that this table is central. We want poor old Great Aunt Ida to be able to hear the inappropriate remarks made by the best man, because what’s a wedding without disapproving looks from elderly relatives? No wedding at all, we say…


Big table, little table

The size of your tables really dictates the atmosphere of your wedding breakfast. Do you want a more intimate feel with small, restaurant style tables, or do you want more of a lively atmosphere with big tables and lots of chat?


Table decorations?

Choosing the size of the tables inevitably brings us on to how you want to decorate them. This may not seem directly related to seating plan, but let us tell you, it is. Huge centre pieces stuffed with banana leaves, peacock feathers, birds of paradise and the tears of Jesus make look spectacular and merit gasps of wonder as guests enter the room, but the minute they sit down the magic will fade. Desperately trying to have a conversation through endless fronds, sprigs and sprays of foliage really takes the shine off of a meal, don’t you think?


To mix it up or not to mix it up?

The boat is still out on this one, but it’s something that you will need to consider. Do you want to encourage your guests to mingle with people they may not have met before, or do you want to keep pals together? Our suggestion would be a sort of halfway house. Put two groups on one table, that way there are both new and familiar faces to chat to.


A seating free for all?

By ‘free for all’ we don’t mean going completely off-piste, we’ve already warned of the dangers of no seating plan at all! What we’re getting at is, you don’t necessarily have to decide on the exact location of each of your guests. Assigning everyone to a specific table, but letting them sit wherever they wish on that table can help to make everything feel a little less formal and ceremonial. This way, you save hours of work meticulously shuffling people round and round tables because you can’t quite work out whether Auntie Brenda would rather sit next to your brother’s girlfriend, or your cousin Julie. The answer is probably neither; Auntie Brenda is a bit of a sour puss.




Gender balance

Speaking of putting the right people together on a table, what about gender mixes? Do you go traditional boy/girl/boy/girl? We think, per table, you should try and go roughly half and half, but don’t be too fussy about ordering guests alternately by gender. Like we said, it can just be easier to let people decide for themselves.


Keep headstrong guests separate

If you’ve got guests with big ideas, and those ideas don’t match up; it’s probably a good idea to keep them as far away from each other as possible. Sitting your very conservative Uncle Bernard next to your best friend River who doesn’t wear bras and owns a start-up that makes hemp socks for underprivileged dogs, will probably end in tears.


The kids are alright

Some people wouldn’t have it any other way, but we think a kids’ table is a naff idea. Not only are kids likely to get really over excited and out of hand if they are all sat together, but you’ve got to feel for the poor parents who have to chaperone the table. It’s much kinder to parents and things will be much less fraught if you disperse little ones evenly across the tables. That isn’t to say you have to keep them all separate, but having them all together could get a bit Lord of the Flies…


Setting up singletons

The wine is flowing and emotions are high; a wedding is the perfect opportunity to set up those two single friends that you’ve been trying to bring together for ages. A surreptitious seating plan will set things in motion and you can let the wine do the rest…


Elderly guests near the loos!

It is a truth universally known that old people have tiny bladders and are prone to panic when they don’t know the proximity of the nearest toilet, so put their minds at ease and pop them near the door. Same goes for tiny tots- you want to make clean up as easy as possible for parents of little ones.




If you would like even more in depth tips on planning your wedding, you can book a personal show around of Rushton Hall’s wedding facilities with our dedicated Weddings Team who will be able to answer any and all questions you may have about your big day. Call us on 01536 713001 or email the team at [email protected]