Remember on Friends when Monica and Chandler were planning their wedding? They were assigned blue pins and red pins as they created their wedding seating chart. Monica had a ton of red pins, representing her guests. And Chandler had a few random blue pins, representing his wedding guests.
As new guests were added (Joey’s parents), the struggle began, as Monica shuffled people from table to table, trying to create the best seating arrangement as possible. Talk about frustrating.
You might feel apprehensive about starting the process of planning your wedding seating chart. Here are a few trips to help you through.
1. Figure out your wedding guest list
Before you start working on your wedding seating chart, you’ll need a finalized guest list. If your wedding guests have not replied by the deadline, it’s time to make some phone calls. Getting final numbers (knowing a couple may drop out by the time the big day rolls around) will make things much easier as you design your seating chart for your wedding.
2. Choose the wedding table shapes
Round tables are great for conversation at weddings. But longer tables look really beautiful. Figure out which table shape you will use for your wedding reception. Using a mix of round and rectangular is always an option when creating a wedding seating plan. You must also know how many people will fit at each table. Once those details are set, you can move on with planning your wedding seating chart.
3. Seat the important wedding guests first
No offence to your random co-workers or great aunt So-and-So, but you must think about the important people first – your parents, siblings and other close relatives. Planning your wedding seating chart can get tricky when divorces and new marriages come into play. This may mean you’ll need several “important” tables with prime seating. Consider the tables carefully in this case. You’d be surprised how much drama can be caused by wedding seating.
4. Find the perfect place for your friends
You can’t forget your favourite friends; they need a great seat at the wedding, too. Depending on their needs, you may seat them close to the head table, where they have a clear view of all the wedding speeches. Or, if your friends are guaranteed to be the life of the party, you may want them seated near the bar, so they will have access to all those signature cocktails. You may want to keep them closer to the DJ and dance floor, as well.
5. Make room for a kids’ table
Many couples won’t have kids at their wedding, but many wills. You’ll have to decide: will you seat children with their parents, or will you seat kids together at one table? If you go with the latter, be sure the table is at least close to some parents or responsible adults who will quiet the kids if necessary, help them order food or drinks, and generally keep them under control.
6. Do not make a singles table
What year is this? There is no need for a singles’ table in your seating chart for your wedding. Seat solo wedding guests with their family or friends. The idea of a singles table has never made any sense – it is awkward and can be hurtful.
7. Get wedding seating chart on paper
Use a seating chart for weddings template (hopefully provided by your vendor) or a spreadsheet to carefully put your wedding seating chart together. Chances are, this will be a process of deleting names and moving them, so doing this electronically is, of course, your best bet. But it may help to print off some copies to help you better visualize the seating arrangements.
8. Assign wedding tables only, not seats
Rather than assigning each wedding guest to a specific seat, assign the guests to the table only and allow them to choose their chairs. Hopefully, your wedding guests will be mature enough to figure out a perfect spot to sit without creating drama. Instead of putting the wedding place cards on the table, have guests pick up their place cards at the door. It could be attached to a wedding favour, or to a Champagne glass, for example.
9. Display your wedding seating chart
After all the hard work of creating your seating plan, you’ll want to display it proudly at your wedding reception. There are so many wedding seating chart ideas. A seating chart can be done simply, written across a large display board of some kind. You can up the pretty by hiring a calligrapher to write out all the names. You may also want to have the names written on mirrors or etched on acrylic.
You may choose to really step up your wedding seating chart game by having your guests’ names written on more unusual display options, like on vinyl records, various cocktail glasses, vases of flowers, jars of honey, or bottles of wine. Those take extra time, but you’ll definitely leave your guests with a lasting impression.
Try not to stress over your wedding seating chart. If things aren’t going well, enlist the help of your parents or someone who knows most of your guests. Everything will fall into place and everyone will get a seat, one way or another!
Read more tips in our Spring Wedding Guide.
–By Amy Bielby