If you’re getting married this summer, you’ve probably started thinking about where your guests will sit. While you can’t formulate a full game plan until all the RSVP’s are in, you can start to ask yourselves some important questions to create the floor plan. Seating your guests sounds simple enough, but let me tell you, it can become a puzzle of personalities, politics and family dynamics.
Plan ahead as much as you can to avoid any last minute seating chart dilemmas.
Sweetheart table or head table? Talk about this early so you know how your room will look. Will the two of you sit together at a table for two or sit at a larger head table with your wedding party members? There’s no wrong answer here but realize it does change your dinner dynamic and the seating chart too!
What do your tables look like? Discuss with your designer, florist, venue or rental company what size(s) your guest tables will be and how many each can sit (sometimes there’s a range between 8-10 guests). This will help you determine how can fit where!
Start with the parents. Make sure to assign a table to each set of parents that has a good view of your table, the dance floor and all the action. These should be the other best seats in the house! Then you can build the rest of the layout around them.
Consider having a family conversation or two about who your parents would like to sit with. In today’s modern families, there are many ways to slice this pie. Do your best to make your parents most comfortable.
Determine if you will do escort cards and place cards or only escort cards. What’s the difference? An escort card tells a guest what table they should sit at. A place card tells a guest exactly which seat at that table they have been assigned to. I encourage all our clients to do assigned seating at weddings, especially large ones. Keep the flow running smoothly and take the guess work out of the wedding day by telling people exactly where to go. Then you can help build a fun dynamic in the room too! Just remember, if you opt for place cards, that’s another layer of seat assignments to think about early on.
Seat familiar faces together. As you build that dynamic, think about old friends, college buddies, childhood besties, cousins and seat friends with friends and family with family. If you have some singles, try not to seat them all together at the “singles table.” Pepper in two at each table with groups of guests their own ages as best you can. This works best for guests that may not know a lot of other guests too.
Use a seating chart program (like AllSeated) to layout your tables and guest assignments. Going digital helps keep this puzzle organized. It allows others to collaborate and ensures everyone on your team is on the same page with the assignments you’ve made.
Then, come wedding day, enjoy watching old friends reunite and hopefully a match made in heaven or two come true!
Image by Simone Photography.