There are many aspects of wedding planning that are exciting, fun, and something to look forward to. One thing that can be a bit stressful, however, is completing a seating chart for your reception. No matter what size reception you’re having or what type of venue your wedding is taking place at, there will be moments during your seating chart planning that will leave you stumped. While it’s bound to take some careful planning and thought, there are certainly tips and strategies that can make this experience a breeze.
1. Categorize Your Guests
This may sound a bit strange, but use the strategy of categorizing your guests to make completing your seating chart easier. Import your list of confirmed attendees into a spreadsheet. Include a column that categorizes your guests into the following: brides’s friends, bride’s family, groom’s friends, groom’s family, bride’s family friends, and groom’s family friends. This gives you a good starting point when it comes to creating well-organized tables.
2. Start With the Head Table
You’ll want to decide first about your head table before you move onto the rest of the seating chart. Are you going to have a sweetheart table for just you and your new spouse? Or will your entire wedding party sit with you? Maybe you will sit with only siblings or parents. It’s really up to you, but start by deciding on this before you branch out and create the rest of the tables.
3. Fill Easy Tables First
As you start your seating chart, begin with the easy tables. This may be a group of friends that you know are a perfect match to sit together or family members that you wouldn’t want to separate. Organizing these tables first will make the process quicker and allows you to focus your energy on the guests who are trickier to replace.
4. Consult Your VIPs
You’ll want to use the strategy of consulting VIP guests on who they’d most like to sit with at your wedding and take that into consideration while creating your seating chart. For instance, you may want to ask each set of parents if they have a preference on their tablemates to ensure they are comfortable with their seats on your big day. Make a note of their preferences in your spreadsheet so that you don’t lose track of them.
5. Find the Perfect Balance
If you do have the opportunity to place people at tables with others they already know and love, don’t seat people together randomly merely for the sake of “mixing it up.” While you may not want to put people together who will be clique-y or who get to see each other every day, you’ll want to seat people with others they feel comfortable with to minimize awkwardness and maximize fun.
6. Consider Similarities Between Guests
You’ll undoubtedly have some wedding guests whom you won’t know where to seat. This normally occurs with people who don’t know many other attendees. To aid in solving this problem, consider the interests and characteristics of these guests to decipher who they would naturally “click” with and seat them accordingly. Think through what they do for work, what they do to relax, and their age. Having common ground will give these guests something to chat about over dinner.
7. Consider a Kids’ Table
Kids’ tables are common at weddings, so if you have an abundance of kids or young adults attending, consider seating them together. However, if you have kids who don’t necessarily know each other, you may want to consult their parents before you stick them at a kids’ table. This way, you’ll be able to gauge whether the kids would be comfortable with strangers or if they’d prefer to sit with their parents.
8. Use Every Seat Available
Where possible, use every seat at each table in order to save money at your event. The more tables you have, the more centerpieces, decor, table linens, and china will be required. Although it may not always be feasible, using the full capacity of each table when you can is financially savvy and helps ensure that the room won’t feel overcrowded.
9. Consider the Venue Floor Plan
The whole floor plan of the reception area should be at the forefront of your mind when you’re creating your seating chart. Put all of your VIP guests closest to you and the amenities of the party such as the bar and dance floor, where they’ll have a clear view of all the action. Also consider anyone with mobility issues, as you’ll want to place them somewhere with enough space to maneuver around. You should consider seating older guests such as grandparents further away from the band or DJ if they have a sensitivity to loud noises.
Make use of these simple yet effective seating chart strategies and save yourself some wedding planning stress!