Do you have warring grannies, or worse, mother in laws who are already enemies? Arranging your table plan might well sound like a holiday from hell right now. However, the sooner you start thinking about it, the easier it is to accommodate everyone! Although there is a new trend leaning towards ditching the traditional table plan in favour of letting your guests choose where they want to sit.

But if this seems like a bit of a cop out to you, then you’ll need to decide where you’re going to put everyone. Undoubtedly you will already know the immediate members of both families who will be attending so start there, not to mention with the top table, as soon as possible. 

The top table can be surprisingly difficult so starting there gives you plenty of time to think about it. If planning the wedding (and paying for it) has been a joint effort, then make sure that you’re not prioritising one family over the other! This top table plan might be helpful for you

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

You could mix up the parents on both sides to make sure that they thoroughly get to know each other 

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

Alternatively, you could even put your Maid of Honour and Best Man together (particularly if they are both single and you think that they might be a match made in Heaven!) 

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

All three of these top table layouts should work well even if both parents are divorced!

Once you’ve nailed the top table then work outwards placing people who need to be near you in the closest tables. What you do about mixing up the guests on both of sides of your family needs to be discussed with both parents. Ask them if there are any guests who need to be placed in a particular point in the room, or even if they need to be with certain guests. This will be useful if you have any elderly or disabled guests attending the wedding who might need assistance. 

Any guests you think might clash with each other should be kept apart in order to avoid any arguments. Of course, all couples who have come to your wedding together need to be kept together, whether they are married or not. The people you then decide to seat those couples with, is extremely important for everyone on that table. Consider this at all times as you write your table plan- are they likely to have plenty to talk about?

Try to mix more reserved, quieter guests with chatterboxes to make sure that the conversation keeps flowing on every single table. Importantly this will get the party atmosphere going ready for when the wedding breakfast has been cleared away. Try to keep the party animals apart earlier on in the day as you don’t want them to peak too soon! You’ll want them to get the celebratory mood going on the dance floor later on in the evening! 

Think about any children who will be attending as well. Do they need to be with their parents? Or if there are lots of them, will you need a children’s table which will be in easy sight of all of the parents? Having a separate children’s table might also be very helpful for the catering staff as they’ll know that all of the children’s food is going out to one place in the room. 

Finally, the way that you display your table plan is also important! As a large piece of information, or signage, you can demonstrate your wedding theme, if you have one, in brilliant and spectacular ways. If you are imaginative and artistic then I’m sure you’ll have no anxieties about showing off your creative talents, but if not then there is a new trend towards hiring people to make you an entirely unique table plan on companies like Not On The High Street, People Per Hour and even Ebay.