Perfect and successful event planning is achievable. An event's success is measurable when the guests are comfortable. This can only happen when there is a well-thought-out plan.
A good seating plan makes things easier because:
- It gives caterers an easier time when serving meals.
- It ensures all tables get filled and enables hosts to figure out where guests will sit.
- It prevents confusion at the entrance. When guests arrive at the venue, they can locate their seat with ease.
So, how do you create a seating arrangement plan like a pro? Below are six easy tips to achieve your goal:
Tip 1: Have an idea of the venue space
Which kind of event are you hosting? What venue do you have in mind? How many people do you intend to host? What are the venue restrictions? Answering these questions will enable you to narrow down venue choices.
It also enables you to know the kind of event set-up you need to use. While setting up ensure that the confirmed guests can fit in the selected venue.
Avoid seating guests too close to each other. They need to have space to move around and not feel claustrophobic.
The venue needs to be spacious enough for your event. This prevents overcrowding and enables guests to enjoy the event. You do not want guests to step on each other's toes while dancing.
Decide if the venue is big enough for the event you would like to hold well ahead of the day. Trying to change the venue close to the event is a lot harder and more expensive.
A good seating plan gives an opportunity for a timely event venue change if needed. It also gives you the freedom to play around with various set-up options.
Tip 2: Send timely invites to guests
Have a proper well-organised event invitation list. Once you have a list, send guests timely invitations for them to plan and RSVP.
Start working on your seating plan arrangements as soon as the invites are out. You can then double check the arrangement as the RSVPs start coming in.
This avoids the hassle of doing the seating plan in a hurry. It also gives you peace of mind when everything runs according to plan.
Tip 3: Do not do the seating plan by hand
To work like a pro, avoid writing out a seating plan by hand. It is tiresome and may cause confusion as handwriting may be hard to read.
These tools are great because they have easy-to-use drag and drop seating options. You can make changes as many times as possible until you are happy.
Some sites also have a list of venues. If the venue you like is on the list, it could even show a virtual floor plan. Every little detail can help with stress-free planning and reduce indecision.
Once done creating the seating chart, you can prepare a foamboard. Guests can use it to locate their seats on arrival.
You can also sketch tables on a poster and place guest names. In planning stages, you can even put names against table numbers using post-its. These can help you move names around until comfortable.
Bonus tip: Show guests on the chart where to find services like the dancefloor or band, restrooms, the buffet, and the bar.
Tip 4: Take care of every guest’s needs
To host a successful event, take care of the needs of every guest. Seating plans are more helpful when you pre-empt issues and accommodate guests.
The guests have various needs requiring attention. For successful planning, it’s important to at least consider and plan for the different needs of all guests.
Some important things to remember:
- Keep the closest family seated near or next to the wedding party.
- Seat the much older or elderly guests where they have ease of access to exits and aisles.
- Seat children or mums with children away from the blaring sounds of the speakers. This applies to elderly guests, too.
- Ensure the venue caters for guests that have physical challenges. Leave extra space for guests with wheelchairs.
Tip 5: Place the right people together
Guests appreciate sitting near people they are familiar with or they know. A great way to achieve this is to group guests by relationship. The groups could include:
- Family members
- High school friends
- College friends
- Work friends and colleagues
- Colleagues grouped according to workplace
- Ages, interests, and backgrounds
The idea is to accommodate everyone and ensure that they enjoy themselves. You can mix it up and add a variety of new faces to each table.
This is good especially when there are new guests who do not know many people. This will enable them to get to know people and be able to enjoy being at the event.
Bear in mind some people are naturally introverted so use your knowledge of people’s personalities to match them with like-minded table companions.
Avoid seating people who you suspect do not see eye-to-eye. To get it right, work with close family members for inside knowledge.
Depending on the event; whether a wedding, conference, party, funeral or Bar/Bat Mitzvah. The family can help when the seating arrangement needs a change.
Tip 6: Plan for safety and emergencies
When creating an event seating arrangement plan, ensure it factors in safety regulations. For example, what is the largest capacity of the venue and are the exits easy to find and accessible?
Avoid blocking exits and know escape routes. Take note of all emergency equipment and exits.
Depending on your venue, there may be extra regulations that you need to be aware of. Make enquiries from the manager of the venue you would like or even the owner.
This enables you to know venue-specific guidelines.
Final Tip: Do a final check on your seating arrangement plan
A lot can change between an RSVP and the date of your event. Confirmed guests may pull out at the last minute and interfere with your seating plan.
To avoid confusion, keep in frequent touch with your guests. This will enable you to know of any changes in advance and accommodate them.
One week prior to the event, make final checks using emails and social media to confirm all guests. This prevents last minute surprises and completes the seating plan like a pro.
A pro ensures everyone has a seat and tries to accommodate everyone's needs as much as possible. Beyond this, let the guests have fun.