The Wedding Guide’s Reception Seating Basics You Need To Know

The reception seating plan is a delicate task. You may have a list of guests who can be described as complicated in terms of where they should be sat. Not to worry, if you follow these basics you should have a happy reception with no disputes! You may be wondering, ‘why can’t my guests just sit where they would like’ this does sound like a good idea but we promise it never turns out how expected. By logically planning a seating chart you will almost guarantee everyone will be happy and no one is left awkwardly standing at the back because they don’t want to sit in the only available seat.


Top table


Usually, there is a long rectangle table at the top of the venue which can be seen by all other tables. This is where the newlyweds will sit with their important members of the wedding e.g. Mum, Dad, Maid Of Honour and Bestman. Classically, the layout (from left to right) goes Maid Of Honour, Groom, Bride, then the Best man. With the parents on either end depending on how big the table is.


However, this can be customised to your desires, there are no rules! If the idea of being the centre of attention does not appeal to you, why not put 2 extra chairs on every guest table so you can move and mingle on every table?


Family tables


Usually, the surrounding tables of the top table are the family tables of the bride and groom. Sometimes it is the married couple’s parents which are head of the family table. Depending on your family dynamic will decide how these tables will be seated and organised, especially in the case of divorced parents which do not get along.


The rest of the guests


This will involve mixing and matching as it can be awkward putting friends with other friends who do not know each other. To some, the idea of putting people together you think would get on is a dream and can be highly effective… but, realise that not everyone likes to be put into this situation, therefore, be mindful when deciding on this aspect of the seating. We recommend putting acquaintances together when you can, but if you cannot then it is not the end of the world. If you have a large group of people who know each other, split them evenly to avoid having one person being separated from the group.


If you are feeling the stress, why not rely on your maid of honour and best man, or even your parents as they will be able to provide helpful insight into what will work well and who to split up.


Single guests


You may want to play cupid with your seating plan, but avoid having a table full of single people. This can be very awkward for those sitting there, rather be more discreet with your placing. Same way, do not sit your single friend on a table full of newlywed couples who are clearly in love, not a good ego boost.




If you have many children at your wedding why not put them all on one table and let them enjoy themselves. An adult does not need to be sat with them, but a watchful eye nearby is advised so that the fun does not turn into chaos. If you only have a few children attending, seat them with their parents.


If you would like more help with your wedding planning, make sure to visit Our Suppliers!