One of the vital tasks you will have to complete while planning your wedding is creating a wedding seating chart for your reception.
We are going to be sharing our insight on why seating charts are an important staple on the happiest day of your life, as well as our best tips for creating one for your event. There are many different ways to go about making a decent, useful chart, and some options may be easier than others for you. You can pick and choose through our tips to make the best seating chart for you.
Let’s get started.
Why Have a Seating Chart?
So why even have a seating chart? Why not just let the guests choose their own seats?
While it may be extremely tempting to just allow your guests to pick and choose where they sit, it may cause more chaos than ease during the reception.
Without set places to sit, you are going to see a lot more moving around and disruptions during the reception. You are most likely going to have people swapping seats throughout the whole meal and toasts, as well as a lot more noise and movement. This could be an issue, especially if you have speeches going on at that time, as this could just be a huge distraction and ruin the moment.
Another vital aspect to consider is the food. If you are having guests choose their type of meal when they RSVP, the caterer is going to have a pretty difficult time getting their meals out to them. Having a set seat, or even just a designated table for each person, will make the day go much easier when it comes to dinner.
Now that you have decided you are set on having a seating chart for your wedding reception, let’s talk about some of the best tips we have for the process.
Our Top Tips for Creating the Best Wedding Seating Chart
Whether you are having 50 or 400 guests attending your big day, we are sure these tips will help you plan the perfect reception.
Know Your Table Shapes and Size
Before you begin planning out where each guest is going to sit, you will need to have a plan for the tables in your reception location. The shape and size of the tables will let you know how many guests can fit around them.
Most reception halls and tables meant for weddings fit into four shape options: Square, round, oval, and rectangles. The most traditional option is the circular tables, and they do tend to offer your guests more leg room than they’d get with other tables. However, if you need to fit as many tables into a space as possible, you are better off with going with rectangular tables. With rectangles, it does make it easier for guests at other tables to communicate with each other at will.
Once you have the shape picked out, and know exactly how many tables you will have, you can begin to create your seating chart.
Break the Guest List Down and Organize
Once you have the tables picked out, start by creating a new spreadsheet for your list of guests.
Have a column in your guest list that categorizes all the people invited by relationship. So have a section for your friends, your fiancé’s friends, your family/their family, coworkers of you and your fiancé, family friends of both, etc. This allows you to really take into account who is coming, and break down the relationships that all the guests have with each other.
Having everyone in a section will allow you to sort out your lists and break it down into practical and logical table assortments.
While it would be nice if everyone attending your wedding got along beautifully and there wouldn’t be any tension during the event, that is not the case most of the time. More than likely, you have family members who are divorced, friends who don’t get along, etc.
Rather than hoping and praying that these guests stay civil throughout the reception, make it easier on them by just keeping them a safe distance apart. If they want to make amends at the wedding, they can find each other, but seating them at least a table length apart is a good way to prepare for the day.
You may also want to be mindful of seating single guests as well. There are most likely going to be lots and lots of dating and married couples at the event as well, and a guest without a date may not want to be seated solely with couples. However, having a singles table can be awkward for those guests as well, as they may feel singled out and might not know anyone at the table.
Make sure that single guests that came along are seated towards people they know and like, and try not to group them all together. This makes it less awkward for the guests and will most likely make them more comfortable.
Let Your Parents Help
Your parents and your fiancé’s parents may invite their friends to your special day as well. If this is the case, it may be difficult to know where they should be seated.
Luckily for you, your parents and soon-to-be in-laws will more than likely be thrilled to help you seat them. Parents often love being involved in huge events like this, and it helps them ensure that their friends will be happy and comfortable with their seating arrangements.
Depending on how much room there is at the family tables, they may even want to have some of their close friends sit at their table with them. They may also be really helpful when it comes to insight into who should or should not sit together as well. Your parents may know about strife in the family that you are not even aware of.
Make a Digital Seating Chart
In this day and age of using the internet for everything, a digital seating chart is much, much easier to put together than drawing out a physical one.
Not sure how to get started? There are actually some great sites online that can help you make the perfect chart. We really like Wedding Wire, Wedding Mapper, and AllSeated. These sites offer you drag-and-drop options for seating, which we absolutely love. This makes it incredibly easy to plan out your tables, and drag seats around as needed. You can even change the table size and shapes as well. That way, if something needs to be easily changed, it can be done without any issue.
If you go with AllSeated, you may even be able to clearly visualize your wedding venue by choosing from their list of actual venues. They have a library with thousands of locations that makes it much easier to plan the room you will be in. You will be able to set out the tables, chairs, bars, and any other additional seating areas you may have.
Make it Easy to Find Seats
When your guests are getting ready to file into the reception hall, they will need to know where their seats are. Rather than making it complicated, having a simple method for getting them into the room and in their seats will make that process much faster.
You can use a name tent or envelope cards, as this is the most traditional way to get guests to their seats. We would recommend choosing an easy-to-read font and big letters to make it easy for everyone to navigate to where they need to be.
If you are looking for a different idea, having a table assignment chart or sign outside of the room or right when you walk in can work very well too. For those of you who attempt this, make sure to arrange the guest names in an easy way to not cause any confusion. Doing it in alphabetical order makes it much easier for those reading the sign to find themselves.
If you would rather have something more visual, you can have a picture of a seating chart with the names on it as well. The only downside is that it may take the guests some time to find their own name.
Our Final Thoughts
We know that you have an infinite number of tasks to complete for your perfect wedding day, and that this is just a small one. But we know that if you take the time to chart out your seating well, your happy day will go much more smoothly. It will also ensure that your guests have the best time they possibly can, which is very important to anyone planning a wedding.
Your wedding day is both the most exciting, and probably one of the most stressful days that you will have. We hope that our tips for the perfect wedding seating chart will make it go easier for you, and that you found these tips to be useful.
How are you planning your wedding seating chart?