If there is anything that requires as much logistics in your wedding planning, it is your seating chart. Don’t be the couple that gets caught just a week before the wedding, and still trying to squeeze in friends and relatives while trying to handle late acceptances from your great aunt or uncle. It can be tricky seating friends and family at a reception, and you will need to start early. So how exactly does one create a wedding seating chart? We’ve created this guide to help you efficiently create a wedding seating chart for your guests.
The Formal Seating Plan
At first, you might think it’s not necessary to come up with a seating plan. After all, once you’ve placed 10 seats in a table, they’ll see that and sit with whomever they are comfortable sitting with. But then you’ll have one or two guests who would find their friends already settled in a table, and would feel awkward having to sit alone at a different table. The remedy? They’ll pull up a chair, and make a ten-person table fit 11. Hey, we’re flexible right?
Creating a seating plan not only ensures that everyone is seated comfortably, but it also reduces their anxiety of having to find a place for themselves. Besides, if you want your closest family members such as your parents or your siblings, and your bridal party to be in one place, you’ll want to have a formal seating plan.
Below is a guide on what tables you might need and who sits where.
The Wedding Party Table
The wedding party table is generally where the bride and groom sit, along with the maid of honor, and the best man. If the table is big enough, the rest of the bridal party or attendants sit there as well. The couple also has the option to sit at a separate table, which is usually at the front for everyone to see. That frees up the wedding party table, and you can seat your bridal party at this table, along with their dates if they have any.
The VIP Table
Most wedding ceremonies have principal sponsors. If you have principal sponsors for your wedding, they occupy this table. The wedding officiant is also situated at this table. Most of the time, principal sponsors know the parents of the bride and groom, hence they may be joined by the parents of the couple.
The Family Tables
This is another alternative if there are no principal sponsors. The parents of the couple will sit here at the family table, along with members of the family of the bride and groom. You also have the option to have the parents head their own tables.
As a general rule, group guests according to how they know the couple. Seat friends from high school and college together at one table, and then seat colleagues and friends from work together at another table. You might be tempted to introduce a single friend to another single friend, but don’t group all the singles together. Furthermore, you also don’t want to group strangers together at one table. You want your guests to enjoy dinner, not feel awkward while having dinner. Although this may happen at some point if you have a ‘late’ table.
We’ve listed down ways on how to seat your guests together so that they enjoy the party and each other’s company.
- Mix and Match Singles and Couples
If you’d like to take the opportunity to fix up a single friend with someone else, now’s your chance. But as mentioned above, avoid putting all the singles in one table, otherwise, you will run the risk of a friend's opportunity of meeting someone new might fly out the window, and ruin the rest of the night for them. When seating singles, match them with other couples. This creates a balance allowing the couples to be with people they are very comfortable with while allowing the singles to mingle without having to worry about impressing so many people at a time.
- Separate Kiddie Table
A separate kiddie table is a perfect solution if you have children as guests at your wedding. Meals can be served separately for child-sized portions, and you can even add activities for the kids to keep them occupied. If you will also have a separate kiddie table, it would be wise to put the table near the parents, that way they can keep an eye on their kids.
- Older Guests and Younger Guests
Older guests might not enjoy having to sit so close to the band or to a table full of children, so make sure to seat them further away from the band or from the large speakers. They may also prefer to be seated where there is more space such as edges of the room, or closer to the dance floor. The same goes for guests that use mobility assistance like wheelchairs or motorized wheelchairs. Likewise, also seat younger guests near the dance floor so that they can easily go to the dance floor when it’s time to party.
The Seating Chart
Once you have a solid idea of roughly how many guests you have, who they are, and if there will be children or not, it’s time to break out the actual seating chart. Creating a seating chart can be as simple as a spreadsheet with separate tables, as appropriately named to signify a table in your venue, and allocate a certain number of spaces per table. Or it can be as modern and digitized as using a personal seating chart.
- Physical Seating Chart
If you are more comfortable working with a physical seating chart, you can easily use poster boards in order to create a physical layout. Simply write each guests’ name on a small sticky note, and stick in place. If you need to move guests around, simply unstick and transfer as necessary. It would give you a good perspective of what your tables might look like, and just add names in as you get more RSVPs.
- Digital Seating Chart
One of the best applications you can use online is a digital seating chart. There are several online sites that offer free digital wedding seating charts that make planning your wedding so much easier. You can easily add your guests in, easily rearrange your guests on the app and it also comes with different layouts that you can customize.
- Assigning Tables Only
You don’t necessarily have to be super-specific about who gets to sit where. You could assign guests to a table number, and they can choose which chair to sit in. This allows you to still have some handle on grouping your guests accordingly, saving yourself the time and giving them the freedom to sit and find themselves a good view from their table.
Hopefully, this helps you create the perfect seating chart for your big day! Is there anything we left out? Let us know in the comments below!
Kara has been with Wedding Favors Unlimited for 2 years. She’s been giving wedding and style advice for the past 5 years from bridal magazines to bridal boutiques. Feel free to ask Kara a question below!