Although it may seem daunting, some insider tips can help make the process easier. When planning the perfect wedding seating arrangement, you should use your best tools: patience, thoughtfulness and tact.
Planning your seating chart can be stressful because you don’t have enough time. Planning a wedding seating chart that is well-designed requires a finalized guest list. If you are having a sit-down reception, this should be considered when setting your RSVP date.
Start with your core circle, and work your way outwards.
The first step in creating your seating plan is to get started. Traditionally, you and your spouse will sit at a central table with the rest of your wedding party and closest family members. Even if you choose a modern, long-table arrangement, your closest guests will be seated next to you. Begin with these guests and move on to the rest.
Be open-minded and flexible throughout the process. On average, guests spend only 90 minutes sitting at their tables. They will spend the rest of their time dancing, mingling and congratulating each other. You can’t seat two people who hate each other unless you have a special seating arrangement. Otherwise, everyone will be able to get along. This is your chance to shine.
Talk about flying solo…
Do not fall for the trap of creating a singles table. We get it. Your partner wants to bring Sally home from work, but Phil isn’t available. But no one wants to be left at the lonely table. Instead, please focus on the common interests of your guests and their complementary personalities. Start by identifying the things you love about your guests. This is a great opportunity to bring together family and friends from different sides of the wedding.
Consider giving a plus one to any guests you don’t know. A guest arriving alone can find it difficult to be seated at the most friendly and welcoming table.
Are there any seating charts I need? Will my guests be able to find their way?
It is easy to believe that guests will effortlessly transition into your sit-down reception. This can lead to a lot of confusion at dinner. A laissez-faire arrangement for wedding seating can make it difficult for your caterer or guests to find their dietary preferences. Your guests may feel uncomfortable choosing a seat that isn’t right for them. This is similar to open seating at wedding ceremonies. It is best to clarify any confusion as soon as possible.
You can also plan your seating chart to show thoughtful gestures such as making sure elderly guests have the best seats, or that noise-sensitive guests are seated far from the speakers.
Signage, signage, signage!
There are so many options for seating charts that you can choose from, making it easy to create a visual guide for your guests. We recommend that your seating chart be as clear and large as possible. To avoid any bottlenecks at a reception that has multiple entry points and more than 100 guests, we recommend two identical charts. A relaxed cocktail hour and canape before formalities is a good idea. This allows guests to review the seating arrangements and decide which ones are theirs.
It is better to list names alphabetically than in a table. This will allow you to quickly find the right information as everyone knows what letter your name begins with.
Which size and shape of tables should I select?
This will be the rudder. Talk to your venue coordinator about the options for table arrangements in your chosen space. Ask about any unique venue features that could affect your wedding seating arrangements. Powerpoint placement, even a simple one, can play a significant role in setting up your main wedding tables.
This should be discussed with the venue coordinator before you send out invites. The coordinator at your venue will be able to advise you on the best guest numbers for the space without making it feel crowded or cramped.
Before you create a children’s table, make sure to talk with parents if you have made it clear that children are invited to your reception. Some children are more comfortable interacting with guests than their parents, but others might be better suited and behaved. They should be at the parents’ side.
Plan a visual arrangement of wedding seating
A visual plan that allows you to make necessary changes is a blessing. You can use our online seating layout planner or, if you prefer, go old-fashioned and grab some sticky notes. You can easily adjust your plan to accommodate any last-minute changes or additions.
Keep a list of any important requests, such as accessibility or dietary requirements, in addition to the visual plan. You can use the 3D plan and the notes to visualize how the day will unfold.
There is no need to adhere to traditional rules of etiquette. Instead, you should follow guidelines that encourage thoughtfulness.
Do not place two guests together if they have a history of problems. If your parents are divorcing, you don’t need to place them next to each other. This is especially true if you have new partners. You might also consider not putting your conservative nanna next to your wildest groomsman. They might surprise you and fall in love!
You want your guests to feel at ease, happy, and comfortable at your wedding reception. So, the seating arrangement should reflect that. It is a good idea to consult your guests about where they would most like to sit, but most people will want to be where it is most convenient.