The wedding breakfast seating plan can be quite a bone of contention. It causes much discussion amongst guests and can cause quite a lot of angst for the happy couple. So as a planner who has seen more seating plan issues than I would care to mention. So I’m here to say dear wedding guest, please respect the seating plan.
Now, I’m a very practical gal, so here’s my considered reasons why.
The Bride and / or Groom might like to keep an eye on certain people
I’ve seen many a look from the top table across the room to other guests on adjacent tables right in the line of site of the B&G. Sometimes it’s people with a part to play in the celebrations who can’t be on the top table but are seated nearby. When the B&G decide not to have the MoB or FoB on the top table, having them across the way can also be the next best thing.
Or sometimes it’s just about keeping an eye on someone to make sure they’re OK / don’t drink too much / don’t flirt with the wrong guests / do flirt with the right guests – or a combination of the above.
You need to be easily accessible
In any seating plan, some seats are easier to get in and out of than others. So for those of you playing a part in speeches or other surprise moments, the right table and seat matters. You might need to to be up and out of your seat to gather or deliver gifts.
Or you may need access to the top table or other area in or outside the main room. This forward planning will mean elements such as this can be done seamlessly and have maximum positive impact.
There might be a gift waiting for you
When invited to take your seats for the wedding breakfast, you may find a personalised gift waiting for you. It’s very common to have different favours for men compared to women. I’ve even seen personalised notes for guests from the B&G – and enjoyed seeing peoples’ reactions when they read them.
Plus, conscientious couples will leave activity packs where children are seated. These are really good for keeping young ones occupied.
You get the right meal option
Your venue and caterer will have a copy of the seating plan and what each person will be eating. From handling menu choices to special diets, if you’re seated in the right place, that vegetarian, gluten free, child or vegan meal will easily find you.
Cutlery and glassware settings can also be bespoke for steak or fish choices; whilst children will not need glasses for wine or champagne in their place. There’s lots for the set up team to consider.
Serving food to 100+ guests takes time. So when people switch seats it can really cause problems when the kitchen and front of house teams need to work swiftly and efficiently. (And boy, do guests complain if they receive the wrong meal, or they haven’t got a steak knife, or a champagne glass … etc… etc…!)
The B&G will have taken a lot of time considering the seating plan. Balancing spouses, family ties, children, friends and work colleagues so everyone has a good time is a big undertaking. The venue will also have taken hours to set the tables with appropriate cutlery, glassware, favours, gifts and name settings.
Undermining all this thought and hard work only takes an instant. Particularly when you realise you’re next to your very deaf Great Aunt Ethel for a couple of hours and would prefer not to be. So please spare a thought for the hard work and kind thoughts behind it and please respect the seating plan.
If you need my help with any of the practical considerations for your big day, come and say hello.