Sitting pretty

How to create the perfect seating plan whatever your wedding venue
Feb. 29, 2012 | By: Danielle Diab

Planning your wedding is fun and exciting and will likely be very memorable years after you are married. But along with all the fun comes a lot of stress. Where will you hold your reception? What will you serve at dinner? How many people can you fit in your dream reception venue? Those are all fairly quick fixes, but once that is all done comes a trickier question: how are you going to arrange your seating plan?

Traditionally, on the left side of the room are the bride’s guests, and on the right, the groom’s. Often a bride and groom will run into problems when Aunt Edna wants to sit at the head table, or when they have divorced parents who just don’t get along. Tracey Manailescu of The Wedding Planners and co-founder of The Wedding Planners Institute of Canada has some great tips that will keep all your guests happy.

“The largest wedding I worked on had 310 guests; however we had general seating at each table so they could at least choose who they sat beside.”

Letting guests choose their own seat will save you tons of time and stress while you already have so many other things on your plate. Advise guests to choose the right side for the bride and left for groom and let them take it from there.

If you are more of a traditional couple and want your close family and friends to be seated near the head table, then mom likely knows best in this case.

“It is very important that the couple works with parents to select the seating as the family dynamics are very important,” says Manailescu. “Family members who don’t get along should be as far apart as possible. Close family members should be closer to the interior of the room, and distant family and friends can be at the outer tables.”

You and your parents are the only people who know each guest invited to your wedding. Working together will make for a carefully thought out seating chart so that single people don’t feel like the third wheel at a table full of couples, and so that your next door neighbor doesn’t end up at a table full of great-aunts and uncles. Mix old friends, neighbours and co-workers, and create a children’s table if you have the space.

According to Manailescu, if guests are well fed and happy, they will speak highly of the wedding and remember it fondly. Guests will be more inclined to talk to people at their table if they are enjoying the food and activities you have planned, such as a game to win your beautiful centerpiece.

Tracy Manailescu is one of The Wedding Planners, one of the first wedding coordination companies in Toronto, Ont.

Looking for a wedding planner near you? Find wedding planners from across Canada on, Canada’s Local Marriage Services Directory.