How To Make The Best Seating Chart For Your Wedding
Ugh. The dreaded seating chart. The one wedding planning task that seems universally despised. Or at least thought of as annoying. Luckily for you, you may not even need one. You may be totally off the hook if you don’t want one. But if you do, there are certain strategies that will make the process a little easier. Instead of putting it off and only causing yourself more stress, read on to learn how to tackle the chart.
We’ve been putting off making a seating chart. Do we need one?
In many cases, no, you don’t need a seating chart. If you’re having a casual wedding you probably don’t. If you’re having a small wedding where everyone already knows each other, you can probably skip it.
Start by considering your table setup. If you’ll have 1 or 2 long tables for everyone to sit at, you should consider having a seating chart. Why? Because of the movie theater effect. You know how when people pick seats in a movie theater they tend to leave at least 1 seat between them and a stranger. If you take awhile getting popcorn you and your date may be left without 2 seats together and either have to sit separately or ask people to move down. The same thing can happen at weddings, especially if you’ll only have 1 or 2 long tables. If you’re having s bunch of separate tables though there is a lot more flexibility and you may not need a searing chart.
The other thing to consider is your food service. Are you having plated meal service with pre-selected options? If yes, it will be easier for your servers if you have a seating chart so they know where to place each dish. If you’ll be having a buffet or will allow guests to choose their meal at their table, you can skip the seating chart.
How to make a seating chart
There are 2 main ways to create a seating chart: assign tables or assign seats.
If you assign tables you can make a sign with each guest’s name and table number. Put the names in alphabetical order so it’s easy to use. Or you can make escort cards with printed names and table numbers so your guests can indicate which seat they’ve taken. Assigning tables but not seats gives guests a little flexibility and can also be easier for you since you don’t have to get so specific.
Assigning seats is the most specific and labor-intensive choice. It is also the best if you’re having plated meal service with pre-made selections. With this type of seating arrangement you’ll still have the option of a sign or escort cards, but you’ll also need place cards at each seat to indicate exactly where each guest should sit.
Once you’ve decided what to assign, it’s time for the complicated part. Hopefully these tips will make it a little easier.
First of all, don’t start making your seating chart until after you’ve received all your RSVPs. Getting your seating chart perfect only to find out that most of the guests you put at a table can’t make it is a nightmare. It’s way easier to wait and do it right the first time than to scramble and fix it.
Second, decide whether you want to organize your chart digitally (using WeddingWire or AllSeated, for example) or on paper. If you want to use paper, sticky notes are the way to go so you can easily move things around. Write down each guests name on a sticky note and have a small sheet of paper for each table.
Third, categorize your guests and color code your sticky notes accordingly. This could be done according to whether they are friends or family, whether they are your guests or your fiancé’s or your parents’, or how you met them. You don’t have to actually seat guests according to their category, but it can be helpful to know.
Now it’s time to start placing people at tables. Here are some do’s and don’ts:
- Don’t seat people who you know don’t get along at the same table. You don’t need that drama on your wedding day.
- Do put divorced parents who don’t get along at separate tables. Sit with your wedding party or at a sweetheart table so no feelings are hurt because you chose one parent over the other.
- Don’t put someone at a table where they don’t know anyone.
- Do put 2 guests who have never met but something in common at the same table. This kind of arrangement can make for great conversation.
- Don’t have a singles table. Please. Just don’t. It sucks to be seated there.
- Do mix and match your categories. Your high school friends may get along great with your fiancé’s high school friends since they all knew you at the same point in your lives.
- Do ask for help if you’re struggling. People will tell you whether they’d prefer to sit with their kids or have them at a separate kids table. Or your parents may prefer to sit with their friends who they don’t see often. It’s fine to ask if you’re open to consider their wishes.
Once you have everyone placed where you want, save it somehow. Write it down, take a picture, etc. You don’t want to have to do it all over again!
Now you’re all set to order those pretty escort cards, place cards, or sign. And cross the seating chart off your to do list!
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