DO: Assign a seat or table to each of your guests – while you might like the idea of guests choosing their own seats, the reality is that no guest wants to scramble for a spot.
DON’T: Feel obligated to have designated seats – assigning guests to tables is more than acceptable too.
DO: Place friends, couples and colleagues at the same table – guests will notice if you try to seat strangers together with the hopes of them getting to know each other.
DON’T: Place all the “leftover” or “odd” people at one table – rather mix them in with the rest so that they don’t feel awkward or too out of place.
DON’T: Place elderly guests near the loud speakers.
DO: Place them close to the restroom yet still in close proximity to the stage so that they can hear what’s being said.
DON’T: Leave the seating plan until the very last minute – it takes great time and effort to iron out the wrinkles.
DO: Supply your venue with the seating plan a week or so beforehand so that they can determine the exact floor layout.
DO: Use a large and legible typeface for your seating plan so guests can read it from afar, and consider printing two copies of the plan so they don’t have to crowd around one stand.
DON’T: Rely solely on place cards to guide your guests, and don’t place the seating plan somewhere in a corner where guests have to go and hunt for it.
DON’T: Seat all the vegetarians, vegans or guests who chose the same menu option at the same table just to make it easier for your waiting staff.
DO: Make a small mark on each place card (using coloured stickers or ribbons) to indicate which menu option that guest has chosen.
DO: Consider appointing an usher to show guests to their seats.
DON’T: Make the table numbers (on the tables) so small that guests have to walk right up to each table to see if it’s theirs or not.
DO: Leave a space the size of two chairs at the table for a guest in a wheelchair.
DON’T: Leave less than 1.5 m space between chair backs (when chairs are pushed in under the tables) – rather leave too much space to allow guests to move freely between the tables.
DO: Use rectangular tables if you want to save space, save on table decorations or generate more conversation around the tables.
DON’T: Seat your guests on all sides of the rectangular table if they’re expected to turn their attention to the stage area for most of the event.
DON’T: Place more than 12 people around a round table as it can get quite cluttered.