Creating a wedding seating chart sounds easy enough, but once you get going you’ll realize table arrangements are a surprisingly challenging feat! In this blog post, we’ll show you how to properly seat yourselves and everyone else to make the process of seating your guests so much easier.
Plus, you’ll make guests happy, which is always a good thing. :)
How to Make Your Wedding Seating Chart
First, ask your venue for a print-out of your wedding table arrangement for the reception.
Think of this as a blueprint of the room: it will include tables and chairs, the shape of the tables, and how many guests can sit at each one. Plus, it will illustrate exactly how the tables will be set up on the big day.
You’ll use this, plus your guest list manager, to create a seating chart for your guests.
I highly recommend using these sticky notes with guest names on them, so you can rearrange them (dozens of times) until you do the seating chart perfectly.
1. Choose your seats and the wedding party seats first.
Deciding where you and your spouse will sit is step one.
Do you want to sit at a large head table with your entire wedding party? If so, you’ll need to figure out how many seats you can fit at the largest table and where it will be placed.
Typically, the head table is set up in the center of the reception against a wall, where you’ll have a backdrop or decoration as the focal point.
If you prefer a more intimate seat for dinner, seat yourselves together at a sweetheart table where it’s just the two of you. This table will still be the focal point; wedding party attendants will be seated throughout the reception with their families or together at special tables.
Here’s an example of a sweetheart table:
From experience, a sweetheart table is a great idea if you’d like your bridesmaids and groomsmen to be able to enjoy dinner with their partners or dates. But you can decide, as it’s only for a short amount of time in hindsight, and if you love the look and ambiance of a head table, go for it!
2. Seat your family and close friends.
Next, you’ll create VIP tables. These are the tables for your wedding party (if you’re nixing the head table) and your closest family members and friends.
The goal here is to make sure your closest loved ones have an up-close view of you and are positioned as closely to your table as possible.
This is ideal for toasts, so they don’t have far to travel to make their speeches; in addition, they’ll get to see you!
Your VIP tables should include:
• Wedding Party Attendants and dates/partners
• Siblings and dates/partners
As a rule of thumb, etiquette dictates your parents will sit at their own table, while your partner’s parents will sit at another. This is helpful for including extended family members on either side who would like a special seat at a close table. Include grandparents at these tables.
Once you’ve seated parents and grandparents, seat your siblings and their partners or wedding dates at the tables.
If you’ve opted to seat your wedding party at the head table, their partners or wedding dates will be seated at tables as indicated below.
Next, let’s move on to friends and family tables.
3. Seat everyone else.
Now that you’ve nailed down the tables closest to you, it’s time to seat your remaining guests. You’ll create family tables and seat guests together with family members.
Likewise, you’ll want to seat families who have kids with other families with children.
And for friends and colleagues — and wedding party dates or partners — seat them with other wedding guests who share common interests so conversation is easy-going and lively.
The key to making your guests happy with the seating chart is by placing them with others who share hobbies or can carry on discussion easily. Avoid seating people together that won’t get along, where there are any disputes, etc. And try to seat families with families, particularly if there are young kids.
Don’t Do This Wedding Seating Mistake
Despite the desire to do so, don’t make a singles table and attempt to play matchmaker. :) It ends up feeling awkward for all involved. If a guest doesn’t plan to bring a date, seat them at another table with similar, like-minded guests.
Kids Tables at Weddings
Should you have a kids’ table set aside at the wedding? According to proper etiquette, children shall sit with their parents for dinner and for good behavior. ;)
However, it is possible to set up a special kids’ table at the wedding for the time prior to and after dinner, a smart idea.
If you have the space, make a table with wedding-themed coloring books and crayons, some activity books, and goody bags like these will be fun to play at the table and entertain the little ones. Waiting for dinner and cake can feel like an eternity to a kid.
Once the dancing begins, you bet they’ll be out on the dance floor ’til dawn! Or, that is, until bedtime. :)
Once you have your seating chart compiled, you can order a seating chart sign to print the table assignments. This sign will make it easy for your guests to find their seats at your wedding. You can find beautiful handmade ones at WeddingsDecorStudio, like this stunning example:
If you prefer cards, order escort cards and place them on a table near the entryway of your reception.
I hope this article helps as you seat guests at your wedding! If you have questions or run into issues when you do a wedding seating chart, let me know in the comment box below.