Creating and finalizing your wedding day seating chart can be a daunting task to take on, and unfortunately cannot be tackled before RSVPs start coming in. This means it is normally something that you have to make decisions on within the final weeks leading up to your big day. It doesn’t have to be stressful though! Here are some of our tips to help you make decisions on who to sit where and how to begin the process.
1. Know your space and layout
Before you get started creating your seating chart, make sure that you are familiar with your reception space and have decided what type of table you are going to use. The two most common types of tables used for weddings are rectangles and circles. Some people even combine the two! What matters is that you pick the type of table(s) that fit your venue space best, and then go from there.
2. Keep the important people close
Whether you’re doing a head table with all of your BFFs up close, or a sweetheart table, don’t forget to seat your best friends and parents the closest to you. Traditionally, the groom and bride’s parents might share a table at the reception along with any other close family members that they’d like to include. If parent’s are divorced, that may be trickier, just make sure that families are able to feel close to you two! Plus – they’re the ones that care the most about things like first dances and cake cutting anyway.
3. Place the older crowd away from the speakers
A lot of people who have worked a wedding, been in a wedding, or been the bride/groom before can attest to the wisdom of this suggestion. So often grandparents, great-aunts, and any other guests that are older either constantly complain about the noise of the music playing or request to be moved to be further from the band and/or speakers. Ask your venue about their speaker systems, or be aware of where your DJ is setting up. Then do yourself and your guests a favor and seat the older guests as far from these spaces as possible.
4. Consider guest’s situations
Have two friends recently broken up? Make sure that you seat them at separate tables. This isn’t because you’re worried about them making a scene, but you want them to be able to enjoy the night, which might be hard when you’re sitting across a table from the man you loved for 3 years. Another thing to consider is if any of your guests have babies. These guests may often appreciate a quick exit strategy if the baby gets fussy – especially during an important moment like a toast!
5. Play around with the number of seats at the table
Give yourself the freedom to vary the number of seats at each table. There is no law saying that each table must have 8 seats, so don’t make yourself feel like that must be true. You’ll spend way too much time doing math to make everyone happy and add unnecessary stress to the process. One table can have 6, another 8, and so on. Do what makes sense for the groups you are inviting!
6. Create a draft seating chart you can alter
Whether you’re a tactile gal and prefer pieces of paper that you can physically move around, or if you lean more towards online seating chart generators like AllSeated, make a draft before you finalize your decisions. This gives you a chance to walk away from the seating chart and come back to change a couple things that you thought of later. Make these changes easy early on – it will help you be the most satisfied with your end product!
7. Consider assigning tables instead of seats
Not sure you really care exactly where guests sit at the table? Consider just assigning table numbers instead of seats. This way guests all still belong somewhere, but they can decide who to sit next to at the table. We recommend some type of seating chart so that you don’t accidentally end up with a family of four needing to split up between two tables, or two exes being left to sit next to each other, and sometimes assigned tables will do the trick!
8. Make sure that your table cards are easy to find
If you’re going to set out escort cards for your guests, make sure that the cards are in a prominent place as people arrive at the reception. You can also make a sign with the table assignments – in this case we recommend arranging by last name and not table number to make it easiest for guests to find their table.
Whatever you do have fun with it and remember – in the end everyone is coming to celebrate your marriage!