Wedding Reception Seating Plans

Part II deals with your wedding reception seating plans and in particular who to place where on the “Head Table”. Certainly this can be trickier than dealing with the wedding ceremony, but I have a few suggestions that may help you sleep a little easier at night.

Venue Layout


– classic is a horseshoe shape (or square minus the bottom side). The bridal party sits along the top, with the bride’s family to the left and the groom’s family to the right – just as in the wedding ceremony. This is ideal for smaller weddings. 
– for larger weddings there are several options for table placements all of which include a head table. Whatever design you decide upon try and avoid splintering your guests by having too many small tables whereby people are sitting with their backs to each other. Also try and consider ease of access for the waitresses/waiters. Most spillages occur when waiting staff have too little room in which to manoeuvre, or where there is over crowding on a table.

Head Table Layout

A classic wedding reception seating plan going from left (1) to right (8) as you face the head table is: 
1. Groom’s mother 
2. Bride’s father 
3. Bride 
4. Groom 
5. Bride’s mother 
6. Groom’s father 
7. Chief bridesmaid 
8. Best man

If the bride’s parents have divorced and her father has remarried, left to right, 1 to 9: 
1. Bride’s father’s wife 
2. Best man 
3. Groom’s mother 
4. Bride’s father 
5. Bride 
6. Groom 
7. Bride’s mother 
8. Groom’s father 
9. Chief bridesmaid

If the groom’s patents have divorced and both have remarried, left to right, 1 – 10: 
1. Chief bridesmaid 
2. Groom’s mother’s husband 
3. Groom’s mother 
4. Bride’s father 
5. Bride 
6. Groom 
7. Bride’s mother 
8. Groom’s father 
9. Groom’s father’s wife 
10. Best man

Head tables may lengthen dependent upon the number of bridesmaids and groomsmen. Sometimes a separate table is chosen for the bride and groom’s attendants located near to the head table. 

Wedding reception seating plans for “difficult” guests


– have a quiet word with both parties to see if a truce could be held for the duration of your wedding. If possible seat both parties well apart. 
– inform both parties that you would like both to attend. However, if they are not able to tolerate being in the same room together ask the parties concerned to decide who is to attend 
– the natural parents of the bride and groom usually take precedence over any step- parents 
– instead of having a formal “sit-down” wedding breakfast, a more informal buffet style may be chosen, letting guests group themselves naturally 
– give your VIP’s priority. Remember as bride and groom you are the two most important people at your wedding.

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