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Every so often a couple will tell us that they’re not going to have a seating plan. After all, it’s just a lot of extra hassle and won’t guests be happier choosing their own place to sit? For others, arranging the guests at their reception is something that they’ve always assumed they’ll do without knowing why. Don’t fall foul of thinking that skipping this part of your planning will save you headaches or expense. It may actually cause the very opposite.

The pressure is on

When the average guest arrives at a wedding they are eager to find out as soon as possible where they are sitting. Discovering there is no plan can be stressful. When it’s time to get seated there’s potential for an undignified stampede to bag the best seats with the right people. Most guests would far rather have been thoughtfully placed with others they like ahead of time.

Divided couples

Anyone late to the party might not be able to find seats together with their partner or other guests they’d naturally sit with given the choice. This means they’ll either face the evening on separate tables or have to instigate an awkward, frantic reshuffling at the last moment before the bride and groom’s big entrance. Neither situation is ideal.

Pride of place

Free for all seating might mean that your pushy work colleague (who only just made it on to the guest list) takes centre stage on a table right alongside the main table. To add insult to injury, your grandmother or another super important person may be relegated to a spot at the back as a result. As a bride or groom, you’ll be happiest when your guests are happy so make sure your priority guests have front row seats.


While you may think that any of you guests who do not get along will automatically avoid each other, imagine the horror if they’re forced to sit together due to availability of unplanned seating. You don’t want to spend your wedding reception regretting your decision not to ensure this couldn’t happen.

Unwanted guests

No bride wants invitees that did not RSVP to show up on the big day but it happens sometimes. The last thing you want is these guests to get seated and take up spaces that should have been allocated to your nearest and dearest, leaving them without a seat. Although the arrival of unexpected guests will never be a good prospect, at least with planned seating the only people left embarrassed and displaced are those that failed to let you know they were coming.

How to do it right

Happily, planning your wedding reception seating in advance and displaying a seating chart for your guests will avoid all of the aforementioned unpleasant outcomes. We strongly recommend allocating your guests per table. However it’s not necessary to determine their individual seats at each table. This invariably ends up being a problem with drop-outs and plus ones causing havoc with your carefully individually printed place names. Group together your guests per table and then let them choose where exactly at their table they sit.


For flexibility in table and seating arrangements and advice on planning this, book Hudson’s venue. Download our information pack for further details.

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