Making a seating chart for your wedding reception isn't something that you have to do. If you make the wedding planning decision to include assigned seats for your guests, it gives you the opportunity to get creative with beautifully designed escort cards and place cards as a wonderful addition to your overall decor. Seating charts also help to keep everything, and everyone, organized at the reception.
Deciding who will sit where can be a daunting task. You want to put enough thought into it so that all of your guests feel comfortable, but don't let yourself overthink it. The following tips from WhereBridesGo.com will make the decision process a little easier for you.
Choose Your Tables
The size and shape of the reception tables are what will decide how many guests are able to be seated at each. You'll want to have a general layout in mind too before you begin assigning seats so that you know which groupings of people will be seated next to each other once it's all finished.
Where Will You Sit?
The first people that you should seat are yourselves - the bride and groom! Choose whether you will sit with your wedding party or at a sweetheart table apart from them. If you will be sitting with your bridesmaids and groomsmen, you will also need to decide if their dates will be at the table too or seated at a table nearby instead.
Seat Family Nearby
Immediate family should be seated near the head table. This includes parents, grandparents, and siblings. Take special care when seating divorced parents so that no one is uncomfortable. Other family members that you don't see as often can be seated together, but they don't necessarily have to be near the head table.
Keep Friends Together
If your wedding party will not be sitting at a head table, seat them along with their dates at a table near yours, just like the immediate family tables. For the rest of your invited guests, group them together based on either how you know them or how you met them. For example, work friends will appreciate sitting together with other fellow co-workers. If you met someone through a hobby you share, seat them with others that share that hobby so they have an easy conversation starter for getting to know each other.
Consider the Floor Plan
Younger friends that love to party are best seated near the dance floor and the bar, while elderly guests may prefer a table away from loud speakers with a good view of all of the reception activities, like the cake cutting. If you have any wedding guests with special needs, such as wheelchair access, make sure that they can easily get to their table.
Should You Have a Kids Table?
For weddings that have lots of children invited that are old enough to sit apart from their parents, a separate kids' table is a great idea. They will feel extra-special about having their own spot, and you can include age-appropriate activities on or near their table to keep them entertained while the grownups party.
Make It Easy To Find Seats
The easiest way for guests to find their seating assignment is to have a table at the front of the reception for escort cards. These escort cards should be arranged in alphabetical order so that guests are able to find their names quickly. Make sure that the table numbers or table names are clearly displayed so that guests don't have any trouble locating their spot. You might consider having a diagram of the table layout near the escort cards so that everyone can see exactly where their table is located.
Map It Out
Even if you will not be displaying a diagram of the table layout for your guests, you will want to have one for yourself while you are making the seating assignments. There are programs available that will allow you to do this on your computer, digitally moving names until you find the perfect arrangement. If you prefer to have a physical chart written out, a dry erase board makes it simple to move names around.
Another great option is to use small sticky tabs that can be color-coded by guest groupings (his family, her family, work friends, school friends, etc...) Then when you need to rearrange names, you just have to re-stick them in their new spot. Make sure that you save your work before stopping. If you are using the sticky tab method, take a photo of your progress in case any of the tabs fall off before you begin working on it again.
Assign Tables Rather Than Seats
If you don't want to go to the trouble of assigning a specific seat for every single guest, you can simplify the process a bit by only assigning a table number to everyone and letting them choose their own seat at that table. This eliminates the need for place cards. If even this seems like more work than you want to bother with, at least make sure there are designated tables for immediate family members and the wedding party, and use open seating for the rest of the guests.
For couples that have the time and patience to put together a seating chart, it is a gorgeous way to add some really nice decor to the overall look of your wedding reception. Take a look at the wonderful variety of escort cards, place cards, and table numbers that we have at WhereBridesGo.com. There are so many great ones to choose from, it will inspire you to want to incorporate them into your wedding.
~ The WhereBridesGo.com Team
Post by Deanna Powell, Certified Bridal Consultant