Articles — event planning

Indian Weddings: 5 Seating Arrangement Styles

Indian Weddings: 5 Seating Arrangement Styles

Cultural events provide an opportunity for guests to sample cultures not their own. It gives a chance to “outsiders” to have a feel of something different from what one knows.

Weddings are no exceptions. They enable guests to have a feel of how a specific culture celebrates its wedding.

Indian weddings provide a unique cultural wedding experience. They are extravagant ceremonies that celebrate the coming together of two families.

An Indian wedding is a Vivaha. The ceremony itself is is Vivaah Sanskar in North India and Kalyanam in South India.

Indians celebrate weddings with so much vigour and energy. In some places, weddings go on for days. One of the most important features of such weddings is the seating arrangement.

There are several seating styles for Indian weddings. These depend on:

  1. Venue
    Will the wedding be indoors or outdoors?
  2. Number of guests
    Will the seating arrangements be able to accommodate all guests?
  3. The theme of the event
    The seating arrangements are in line with the choice of theme one opts for. Some of the themes in Indian weddings include:
    • Royal Maharaja Theme
    • Fairy Tale Theme
    • Lucknowi Wedding Theme
    • Rajasthani Wedding Theme
    • Green Wedding Theme
    • Indoor Garden Wedding Theme
    • Forest Wedding Theme

These wedding themes use various seating arrangements like the ones below:

  1. Amphitheatre seating style

    This seating arrangement incorporates a Mandap (a temporary platform set up for weddings). It looks like a Roman amphitheatre. The seats are set around the Mandap in such a way that guests can witness the wedding without disturbance.

    This seating arrangement is suitable for various Indian wedding themes. It is good for Sangeets and Mehendis. It’s the perfect seating arrangement style for a wonderful wedding day.

  2. Lounge seating style

    Lounge seating arrangement involves setting up the wedding like a lounge. Achieve this with stylish coffee tables and sofas.

    This setup gives a casual feel to the event. It is best put to use in a more informal party pre-wedding event like a dinner evening or even a cocktail.

    This type of seating arrangement fits the fairytale theme or Royal Maharaja theme.

  3. Divan or Takht seating style

    This seating arrangement makes use of mattresses and cushions. Decorations make them beautiful for use during the wedding. This arrangement adds flavour to the wedding. Use it at the Haldi or Mehndi.

  4. Round table seating style

    The round table seating style provides a variety of setup arrangements. There are two main ones: banquet and cabaret.

    In a banquet setup, guests sit around the table facing each other. This allows them to interact. In this arrangement, guests may need to turn to face the front.

    The other round table option is cabaret style, where one end of the table is open. The guests can face the front and be able to see the ongoing activities. This option also makes it easier to serve refreshments without disturbing guests.

  5. Theatre seating style

    This is the simplest seating style that can be set up at a wedding reception or ceremony. All it needs is an arrangement of seats in rows, leaving aisle spaces like a movie theatre.

    This seating style is good for any ceremony. It can work with a Cabana seating arrangement, which is suitable for a beachside or poolside wedding. It also works well for an afternoon Mehendi.

    There is a wide variety of seating arrangement options. Consider doing different seating styles for the guests on various occasions. Mix it up and add flair to your engagement ceremony, wedding day and reception.

The reception is also an important part of any wedding ceremony. With the various seating arrangements, setup options vary for an Indian wedding reception. These Include:

  • A mix of X and O Tables

    This is a setup of long rectangular tables in an X format and round tables in an O format. This is a good setup when one is looking for a unique seating arrangement.

  • Head table in the middle and dance floor on the side

    This style is unique but has its own flaws. Guests may need to stand and walk to the dance floor, or stand to see activities taking place on the dance floor. It is good for weddings with elderly guests.

  • All round tables

    This setup is in the form of a restaurant-style seating arrangement. Guests sit in groups according to how they know each other.

  • A mixture of rectangular and round tables

    Rectangular tables are set in the middle with round tables around them. This creates a variety of seating options for guests depending on preference

  • Long rows of tables

    Long rows of tables work well for a reception with few guests. Otherwise, the setup may look cumbersome when the tables are too long.

  • Doughnut table set-up

    A doughnut-style setup is in a round or square format with a space in the middle.

  • Long head table

    The long head table is set at the front and centre of the event. This becomes the reference point of the setup. The rest of the tables are then set up in alignment to the head table.

Planning an Indian Wedding Reception?

Indian wedding

Image from: Indian Wedding Tool Kit

You are planning an Indian wedding reception. You have gotten all things in check and the seating arrangement is well-thought-out. There are other important factors to keep in mind for a successful event.

  1. Family

    Run all seating arrangements by family and let them give you their opinion. Especially for South Asian weddings, the family plays a significant role in a successful wedding ceremony.

    The couple or planner may not know all the relatives, and the parents may want to sit close to some of them. Older family members also know all the social norms that are upheld within the community.

  2. No castaways

    This is especially important when seating a group of friends. Do not group some and leave two or three “cast away” at another table.

    The right thing to do is to split the group into two tables and then proceed to fill up the remaining spaces. These spaces can have close cousins or family friends so the guests do not feel a form of alienation.

    Casting away guests puts a  bad taste in the mouth. The guests might leave the wedding as soon as they arrive.

  3. Avoid singles tables

    It is not good to have a table for singles during Indian weddings. Avoid having them. Mix single guests among other guests and give them a chance to talk with everybody else.

  4. Seating guests at back tables

    Back tables are tables most guests do not think twice about. They are also challenging when doing seating arrangements, as people do not like them.

    These include tables near the exits, DJ and by the kitchen. These tables are for people you have to invite to the wedding out of respect.

    They could be former coworkers, old friends, neighbours or people who also sent an invite to you. Also, be respectful and avoid seating elderly guests near these tables.

  5. Do not set tables under vents

    Most venues like hotels have vents for air conditioning. Avoid seating guests neat them, as they will be uncomfortable during the event. They will also not forget the cold or hot experience.

  6. Sitting children

    When you have child guests, kid tables may or may not be a good idea. Determine the ages of your guests to know whether to sit them with their parents or set a separate table.

    Other things to note for Indian weddings and receptions are the Indian wedding site.

    Planning seating arrangements for an Indian wedding need not be hard. Consider hierarchy priorities and the wedding will be memorable for aeons to come.

Final Tip: Double-check the venue and ensure good quality food and beverage linen is available.


Feature Image: Flickr Image by Santosh Gawde

7 Tips on How to Seat Guests at a Wedding Reception

7 Tips on How to Seat Guests at a Wedding Reception

Everyone gets an invite to a wedding at some point. This is the opportunity to dress up, have fun and watch friends and family get hitched.

Part of what makes a wedding enjoyable is well-thought-out seating arrangements. This gives guests a good view of all the happenings whether vows, cake cutting or dancing.

Good and orderly seating arrangements make guests glad they honoured the wedding invitation. This aspect of wedding planning needs to have attention and be made a priority.

Creating seating arrangements is one of the hardest tasks when planning an event. It is even more daunting when the event in question is a wedding.

Want to host your guests and create seating arrangements like a pro? Want your guests to have beautiful memories of your wedding? Want to leave them with a lasting “wow” effect?

Planning your own wedding? Have a planner? Seating arrangements need not be rocket science.

Below are 7 helpful tips to make the process of seating guests at a wedding reception easy.

Tip 1: Ensure You Have a Reception Seating Chart

Seating charts enable couples and their wedding planners to work on seating arrangements. The charts rely on receiving RSVPs and finalized guest lists.

Having a seating chart creates room for smooth and orderly seating. It provides comfort and puts wedding guests at ease.

The host can amend a seating chart during the reception if the need arises. Cupcake graphics lists four benefits of having a seating chart.

  • Seating charts are orderly and simple

Nowadays, we live in a digital world. There are apps and sites for almost everything including creating seating charts.

Sites like the hello bureau and foam boards provide seating chart services at a fee. They guide clients towards seamless seating arrangements. One can go online and have a seating chart within minutes.

  • They are unique and personalised

A seating chart is unique to every wedding. This gives guests unique experiences at the wedding. It is also done according to the taste of the couple.

  • In some occasions, they are better than place cards

Having a seating chart relieves guests of having to go around the venue looking for their names. It also saves time, as they’ll know exactly where to go once they arrive.

  • The couple can keep them as a wedding memory

The seating chart will remind the couple of all the guests who came to their wedding.

Not all wedding receptions need to have seating charts, though. In some instances, the charts are not necessary. Some of the exceptions from bridestory include:

  • Guests not sitting down for a meal during the wedding reception

In some weddings, couples opt for informal receptions, such as cocktails. These do not need seating arrangements.

  • Intimate weddings with few guests

In such small weddings, the guests know each other pretty well. They can sit together without needing a seating arrangement.

  • When space is limited

If you have many guests and limited space, you can opt for a standing party. It is definitely unique as well.

  • Irregular seating layouts

Irregular seating includes hay bales, couches, rags/blankets and palettes among others.

Tip 2: Determine your Preferred Table Arrangement/Style

The table arrangement style of choice determines seating arrangements during the wedding reception. The type of food and number of guests attending is a determining factor.

There are a variety of reception seating styles

  • Long table

This is one of the “traditional” seating methods. It allows guests to mingle at the wedding. To make this work well, it is better to use chairs as opposed to benches.

  • Assigned by table only

Assign guests a table, but they get to choose their seat at the table. This works in a banquet/restaurant-style seating arrangement.

  • Assigned by seat position

This arrangement seats the guests according to their preferences. This keeps guests happy but takes a lot of time and effort. This is especially suitable for small, intimate weddings.

  • Free seating

This option allows guests to sit anywhere they want. It provides them with an opportunity to mingle and network as they attend the wedding.

  • Kids-only table

Reserve a table for the kids. They can eat and do kiddie activities as the adults focus on the wedding reception.

The main idea is to have a seating arrangement at your reception. You can impress guests and keep them comfortable at the same time.

Tip 3: Number or Name the Tables

Ensure that you number the tables at your reception. This enables the guests to identify their table with ease.

You can use numbers or even names. For the names, they can have meaning to the couple like countries, towns and other interesting ideas.

Tip 4: Group the Guests by Relationship

Guests attending the reception have different relations and attachments to the couple. They also have different relationships among themselves.

Group the various guests according to the relationships they have with each other. This ensures they are comfortable during the reception. A few things to keep in mind:

  • Determine where the bride and groom will sit
This ought to be the first decision. Where the bride and groom sit will be the focal point of the ceremony. They will also need to be comfortable. Among the options for this are:
    • Sweetheart table
    • This table option sits the bride and groom at their own table
    • The traditional table
    • In this seating arrangement, the couple sits with their parents on either side
    • The modern table
    • This table option is trending where the bride and groom sit together with their bridal party
  • Place the parents
The parents can sit with the couple at the traditional table or at their own tables. Decisions to make when seating parents include:
    • Will both sets of parents sit together?
    • Will they sit at separate tables?
    • Are the parents divorced? 
    • Do their divorced parents have a partner?
  • Let parents help sit their friends
Parents will definitely bring their friends to the reception. Allow them to sit them.
    • Focus on the various guests

    Give priority to the various guests in the room. This includes family, friends, workmates, schoolmates and all other groups.

    Placing guests in groups gives them an opportunity to enjoy each others’ company and catch up. For example, high school buddies may be present and want to catch up on each others’ lives.

      Tip 5: Be Strategic and Sensitive

      Being strategic is like grouping guests according to various groups. Sit them with people they know or who have similar backgrounds, like career groups, etc.

      Avoid seating people who have trouble getting along together. Put them at different tables. Also, avoid having a few single people with many couples at one table.

      Mix guests so they can network and make new friends, while at the same time enjoy themselves at the wedding.

      Tip 6: Consider Age Needs and Limitations

      The guests in attendance have various needs requiring attention. For successful planning, it is important to take care of the 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 moms with children away from the blaring sounds of the speakers. This applies to elderly guests, too.

        Tip 7: Get a Second Opinion of the Seating Arrangements

        Work with close family and friends for a second opinion of the seating arrangements. This will enable them to give input over any gaps that may arise.

        It also provides an opportunity to see any wrong seating placements. Close family and friends have a better knowledge of the majority of the wedding guests.

        Bonus Tip: Take Into Account Seating Arrangement Etiquette

        Wedding reception seating arrangement may seem like a walk in the park, but it needs a lot of keenness. Giving it the attention it deserves ensures guests are as comfortable as possible.

        To be a successful host, take into account seating arrangement etiquette. Below are a few do’s and don’ts to keep in mind while working on reception seating arrangements.

        DO:

          1. Mix up various guests with various personalities together. Spread out the “socialites”, as they add life to the room.
          2. Determine where to place your DJ, band, cake, food and other important services first. Proceed to seat guests once this is clear.
          3. Seat younger, more energetic guests by the dance floor. Seat elderly guests away from the dance floor.
          4. Leave extra space for guests with wheelchairs and crutches.
          5. Always work with a floor plan and choose tables and chairs in sizes that fit the room.
          6. Have a kids table if there are more than 10 kids at the wedding. Consider having activities for when the kids get bored. Consider having the wedding in a venue that accommodates kids.
          7. Leave a few seats free at random spots within the room to accommodate last-minute guests who may have not RSVP’d.

          DON’T:

            1. Make seating arrangements by hand. It is strenuous and can lead to confusion.
            2. Make your single guests uncomfortable by seating them with married guests. Also, do not make the table with single guests attract attention.
            3. Make guests uncomfortable by placing them with people they do not get along with.
            4. Do the seating plan in a hurry. Take ample time to be able to capture everyone.
            5. Do not separate the couples at the event.
            6. Procrastinate. Do the seating plan/chart early to avert confusion.
            7. Forget that there may be slight hitches. Do not let this affect the day.

            Finally, take into account that it is not possible to please everyone during the wedding. Do the best you can to achieve a seamless seating arrangement.

            Keep in mind that slight hitches will happen. When they do, take it with a pinch of salt and eat life with a big spoon.

            Final Tip: Double-check the venue and ensure good quality food and beverage linen is available.

            Feature Image: Flickr Image by prostooleh

            6 Easy Tips to Create an Event Seating Arrangement Plan Like a Pro

            6 Easy Tips to Create an Event Seating Arrangement Plan Like a Pro

            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.

            Always double-check the capacity of the venue you choose. Take into account the size and shape of the tables and table linen available.

            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.

            Instead, create a seating plan online. There are many online tools that help to make a seating chart. Sites like AllSeated, seating planner and hitched are just a few options at your disposal.

            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.

            Double check the venue and ensure good quality food and beverage linen is available. If not, work with linen from a quality supplier like Australian Linen Services.


            Photo courtesy from unsplash.com by Sweet Ice Cream Wedding