The do’s and don’ts when it comes to creating a wedding table plan

Creating your wedding reception table plan can be the most stressful part of planning an entire wedding. However, if you take your time, communicate between you, and don’t rush to create your table plan at the last minute, there is no reason to say that creating your table plan can’t actually be one of the most enjoyable of wedding experiences.

Below, we’ve listed the do’s and don’ts that we feel are important when it comes to creating your wedding table plan, along with advice when it comes to organising the top table.

The do’s and don’ts of creating a wedding table plan


Familiarise yourself with the lay out of your chosen wedding reception room:

The room that you choose to celebrate your wedding reception will have a big impact on how your tables will be laid out, and how many guests will be seated around each table. Some couples may opt for standard round tables, whereas others may have rectangular tables or rows of tables with everyone sat side by side. Speak to your wedding venue about the layout of the room before you start to play with your table plan at home. Whether you’re allowed 6, 8, 10, or even 12 guests around each table could have a big impact on how you’ll create your final table plan.

Create a preliminary table plan:

It is always advisable to create a preliminary table plan at the very beginning of your wedding plans – perhaps whilst deciding on your guest list? Obviously months down the line there are likely to be changes in circumstances which result in moving people and things around a bit but if you’ve already got the basics nailed, it shouldn’t be too much of a pain to deal with.

Get creative with your table names:

When it comes to planning who is going to sit where, think about how someone would feel if they were sat at table 19. Even though this was not intended, might they think they were they an afterthought? Some couples might opt for numbering their tables, but if you’re feeling creative, be sure to check out our list of 100 unique table name ideas.

Communicate with your wedding venue:

If you’ve chosen a wedding venue that is going to be setting your place cards out on tables, be sure to let them know in advance who is going to be sitting where. The Harper online planner features a dedicated section for couples to fill in when it comes to communicating the table plan. One less thing to stress about before the big day.

Consider where to seat children:

If you’re inviting lots of children to your wedding then you may not want them sitting right up at the front near the head table. Have them sit with their parents, or if you’ve got lots of older children then they might like to sit on a dedicated children’s (young adults) table of their own.


Leave it until the last minute:

The fatal mistake couples make in the lead up to their wedding day is leaving the table plan until the last minute. You already have so much on your plate during this time, why add further stress by adding the politics of family and friends into the mix? Ultimately you’ll only be able to complete your table plan when you’ve received all of your wedding acceptances…but you can still plan the basics and ‘guaranteed to come’ guests in advance, leaving the extra confirmed guests until nearer the time.

Split couples up:

If you’re inviting couples to your wedding then be sure to seat them on the same table. Splitting couples up isn’t good etiquette and may not be favoured by the couple themselves on the day.

Keep changing your mind:

You’ll have more than enough to do without having to re-visit your table plan time and time again. If you keep playing with your wedding table plan it may stress you out or frustrate you. Stick your original plan and only make changes when necessary.

The wedding table plan: The top table

The top table is a conversation you definitely need to have early on. This depends entirely on your family situation and personal preference. It is gradually becoming more popular for couples to go with the ‘non-traditional’ seating plan, opting for a sweetheart table with just the two of them or extending this to the maid of honour and best man. However, if you’re thinking along these lines, it’s worth asking your parents to host their own tables of immediate family or friends.

If you’re a stickler for tradition then the traditional order of the top table at a wedding should be:

Maid of Honour – Father of Groom – Mother of Bride – Groom – Bride – Father of Bride – Mother of Groom – Best Man

Seating etiquette

It is tradition to seat your wedding guests in a male – female – male – female sequence. So be sure to bear this in mind when you start creating your wedding table plan.

The singles table

If you’ve got lots of single guests coming to your wedding, then it might be nice to seat them on the same table so that they don’t feel left out, and so that you don’t struggle to make even numbers at all of your other tables.

Seating groups of friends together

Base your table plan around groups of friends that know each other. You may find the odd table has a bit of a mix, and in some cases, some people might enjoy the opportunity of getting to know some new people, but in general, you might find it easier to seat people from the same ‘groups’ at the same table.