How to Plan Your Seating Chart
Tips to Creating the Perfect Seating Chart
Ah, the seating chart. One of the most dreaded aspects of wedding planning for most brides-to-be. Luckily, with a bit of strategic planning and preparation, creating your seating chart doesn’t have to become a headache. Follow these tips for a seating plan that will satisfy your guests and give you peace of mind in the final weeks before the big day.
Learn the Etiquette
A great place to start is with a look at the traditional seating chart rules and etiquette. Keep in mind you can deviate from standard etiquette as much as you want – it simply provides a foundation on which to start. According to reception seating etiquette, here are a few general rules to follow:
The newlyweds sit with the bridal party at a long, rectangular table. Alternatively, newlyweds sit alone at a sweetheart table.
A large family table (or tables) should sit closest to the bride and groom’s table.
Create a separate kids’ table for children in your wedding party and guests’ children. If there are only a few kids in attendance, seat them with their parents.
Aside from these general rules, there are few expectations for the organization of your reception seating. There are, however, certain things you can do to make the process easier.
Seat Friends Together
While it may seem like a good idea to seat strangers together to make them mingle, more often than not this ends in a quiet and rather awkward dinner – as well as unhappy guests. Guests generally feel more comfortable at tables with mutual friends. Try not to isolate anyone, and to arrange the seating so everyone is near at least one person he or she knows.
Make Smart Pairings
With your “extra” guests – the ones who are single or may not know others at your wedding, like a friend from work – get strategic. Think about each individual guest’s personality, and decide which table he or she would feel the most comfortable joining. Your boss, for example, might want to sit with other singles or couples his/her age, not the table with your friends from college. If you have any single friends you want to set up, now is your chance to subtly get the ball rolling with a savvy seating arrangement.
No Seat Swaps
Do not let your guests switch or trade seats. It’s your wedding reception, not a game of musical chairs. Giving an exception to one friend means allowing everyone to trade positions. This could lead to problems like one person sitting alone, or your family members having to sit at a far-away “friends” table. Assign seats with placards and name cards to prevent swaps.