Organising your seating plan for your Isle of Man wedding day can be an overwhelming task. It’s not just as simple as who sits where – you’re in charge of creating the atmosphere for the day. But before you get lost in a sea of post-it notes or furiously start typing on your smartphone app, use this blog to make sure you and your guests will be sitting comfortably on your big day.
When should you start your plan?
Start organising your seating plan before all of your RSVP’s come back. Even though you can almost guarantee as soon as you have your seating plan figured out you’ll get a late replier to mess it up, it’ll be much easier to add one or two people in rather than trying to do it all in one bulk. It will also help you get an idea of table numbers and therefore decorations such as table centre pieces.
There are many different apps or computer programmes that can help you electronically plan your layout. Or if you’re someone who prefers to work with physical materials, use a large pin board so you can easily move different bits of paper around.
Traditionally, you will have a top table for the bride, groom and others involved in the day. The usual order from left to right is the maid of honour, groom’s father, bride’s mother, groom, bride, bride’s father, groom’s mother and best man. But you don’t have to stick to this. You might want the top table reserved just for the married couple, perhaps in the centre of the dining hall so you are surrounded by your friends and family. Or maybe there are step-families you want to join you on the top table.
To follow the traditional order and involve step-parents, you could have from left to right the groom’s stepmother, bride’s stepfather, maid of honour, groom’s father, bride’s mother, groom, bride, bride’s father, groom’s mother, best man, bride’s stepmother and groom’s stepfather.
The other guests
Try to find a balance between seating guests with people they do and don’t know. Having friends on a table will mean conversation will be flowing, but mingling different groups together will create an even better atmosphere. Most couples prefer to sit together and remember, you’re not running a matchmaking service so sitting all the singles on one table is probably not a good idea.
Having a children’s table can work well but think about the ages on all of your tables. Giving them something fun to do and entertain themselves with is also a great idea – and can help their parents relax and enjoy the party too. If you do decide to have a children’s table, make sure they are close to their parents and to the exit, in case of any misbehaving.
Round tables or long tables
To decide between round tables and long tables, talk to someone at your venue who will be able to give you advice on the best fit for your guest list and also what they have to offer.
If you are choosing round tables, the etiquette is to have males and females sitting alternatively around it. For long tables, the males usually sit on one side with the females opposite. Whichever you decide, think about space. Make sure there’s enough room for each person around the table and also in between each table. Depending on the size of the round table, most comfortably sit 6 or 8 people.
Fill the tables near the married couple with the closest friends and family. It will make the speeches even more personal if you can see the faces of your loved ones. To help your guests find their place, put name cards down for individual seats or make it more personal with photographs. You could also name your tables.