Table and seating plans are one of the major planning tasks, epecially for large events, parties or weddings. Putting the right guests at the right tables can at first appear complicated to sort out, especially if you can’t get your guests to confirm quickly whether or not they are attending .

However if you break the whole project down into a logical piece by piece exercise it is not nearly so daunting. Follow these simple rules for table and seating planning and you won’t go far wrong.

Discuss the seating arrangements and the table layout with the venue, look at the room where you will be holding your party and ask them to provide even a rough diagram of where your tables will go.

Once you have confirmed your guest numbers you will have to tell the venue how many tables you need and discuss how the tables should be best arranged to make the room look balanced.

Ask the venue if it possible for you to see the room set-up for another function or wedding before you hold your own there.

A good rule of thumb for seating plans is that round tables will seat eight comfortably on a five foot table and ten people on a six foot table.

Never let your venue or the caterers increase those given numbers per table, because if they do your guests will not have nearly enough elbow and foot room.

At formal parties, balls or weddings guests find their way to their places by looking at a printed table plan that is positioned either just inside or outside the banqueting room; two plans are even better as it avoids too much crowding.

Tables can be numbered or given a name. In addition a Master of Ceremonies can be employed to request that all the guests take their seats for the meal. At weddings the top table should always face the guests.

This is to ensure that everyone can view the bride and groom. The groom always sits on the right of the bride in the middle of the table. The bride’s father is seated next to the bride, with the groom’s mother to his left and the best man to her left. The bride’s mother is seated next to the groom, with the groom’s father to her right and the chief bridesmaid to his right.

To ensure guests find their correct seat, name place cards are put at every table placing. These can be displayed flat or in special cardholders.

Place cards can be printed formally following the same style as your party invitations or they can be informal, fun hand-written cards that incorporate some form of decoration.

When you design your table plan try to put guests together who know each other already or at least put them into groups with similar interests and backgrounds.

It is not unusual to display the seating plan for an event somewhere visible like the bar or a small reception room. Guests can study it before the meal and get an idea of who they know and where they will be sitting. You can even decorate the table plan to match your overall theme and make an attractive feature of it.