Seating plan or free seating for your Indian wedding in Italy?

When you should opt for a seating plan and when you can go without one.

It’s not obvious at all for many Indian couples that they are going to have a seating plan for their wedding. And sometimes brides and grooms ask us to go without because they don’t consider it necessary. However, the seating plan is not just a piece of decor that you need to have because it’s trendy or because other couples do. The seating plan instead plays a very important practical role. And it can even save your wedding reception.

Yes, the seating plans are usually used for the wedding reception, being it often the only served meal of the wedding celebrations. Other food functions are often served buffet style, being them more informal and shorter functions. But when it comes to the wedding reception the situation changes. This is the most important event after the wedding ceremony, the last one, the most elegant and often the most expensive one. And it’s clear that you want it to be perfect.

So, what are the functions of the seating plan?

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First of all, it indicates people where they have to sit. And it’s not as simple as it may look. It’s also useful because it creates a harmonious setup and avoids gaps in the tables between guests. And last but not least, it guarantees a quick and organized food service, to make sure you have a convivial party and your guests feel happy. Does it look like it’s too much for such a small thing as the seating plan?

Well, not really… considering that without a seating plan you could compromise the entire outcome of your wedding reception. And this is why:

  • You definitely don’t want your guests to wander around trying to figure out where to sit, and if there’s a spot left at one table instead of another, or have people sit with someone they don’t know because all the other tables are full. Can you imagine the chaos? Especially when you have more than 100 invitees!
  • Without the seating plan you risk people moving from one table to the other, moving chairs and mise-en-place and then having some tables crowded and some others half-empty which would look ugly on the pictures. And all your beautiful setup – on which you may have spent a lot of money – will be ruined.
  • In all Indian weddings there is a good number of vegetarians, vegans, or people with other food restriction, and you need to know all that in advance to organize the food service accordingly. And when waiters bring out the food, they know exactly where people with allergies or food restrictions are seated. Imagine if the waiters come out and don’t know where to bring what… Not only that would cause delays in the service, but especially people with food restrictions risk not getting the right food.

Do you always need a seating plan?

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Not always, as there are cases where you can go with free seating. Firstly, it depends on the number of your guests. If you have an intimate party such as 40-50 people, then you could potentially go without. With such a small number of attendees there wouldn’t likely be many different food arrangements, and it won’t be hard for waiters to sort out where those guests are seated.

Another situation that potentially doesn’t require a seating plan is when you use one long imperial table. Not two or more, but just one. Again, with one long table you wouldn’t likely have many guests, and being it only one table, everyone will have a seat at the same table, with other people seating nearby, so the situation will surely be convivial.

And what about the food service with a long table? Vegetarian and non-vegetarian food will be in any case put in the middle of the table, so that the guests won’t have any issue to have the food they prefer. And how would waiters know where guests with allergies or food restrictions are seated? I suggest letting them know who those people are beforehand, so that they can put a sign on their chairs, maybe a small ribbon or so, so that it’s easy for them to identify those guests.

As you see, a seating plan is not always necessary, however in most of the cases it is, being Indian weddings usually large and since most of the couples usually opt for round tables. I highly recommend it in all the situations, even if it would take you some time and probably some headache to organize it for all your guests, but you won’t regret it, believe me.

And now some inspiration

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Now that you understand the importance of the seating plan, you will definitely need some inspiration. The simplest and least expensive solution is a board where to write the tables with all the names, obviously choosing the graphics you like best and which is in line with the décor and wedding theme. If you want something more particular, some of our couples have chosen the seating plan handwritten on a mirror, which is a very elegant idea. Another couple who are wine lovers, chose bottles of their favorite wines where a calligrapher wrote the tables and names. Others opted for a seating plan hung from a tree with ribbons to which cards with the tables and names were attached. Another nice idea chosen by one of our couples, whose wedding theme was ‘Amalfi coast’, is a seating plan made with lemons with escort cards on each lemon.

The solutions are endless and you can browse our decor dedicated page for more inspo.