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Planning your Seating Arrangement

1 Month Before Your Wedding: Planning your Seating Arrangement

One month before your wedding is a fantastic time to plan the whole seating arrangement. As you begin, it is obvious that you have questions in your mind regarding seats and space. Read this guide and you will know just who needs to sit where.

We have broken down the procedure into easy steps to follow. You will also find guidelines for creating a digital chart that makes the whole procedure easy and less time-consuming. Dig in to learn so you can make your wedding reception blissful.

Wedding Seating Frequently Asked Questions and Their Answers

We have sifted through the common questions that wedding planners ask when organizing seating plans. We have provided answers as follows.

How should Guests Sit at your Wedding Reception?

The way people sit at your wedding depends on so many things. For example, if guests are friends, you could have them sit together and let them enjoy the company of one another. Close family members and relatives could sit together or at close tables.

Do you Need a Seating Plan at All?

Yes. Especially if you have more than 80 guests.  If you want to have a seated dining experience, choose to plan the guests’ sitting. Even if you have a smaller number of guests, say 50, you still need a seating plan. This helps them enjoy the celebration. The last thing you want is to have guests re-arrange their positions to sit where they feel more comfortable. 

Where do the Families of the Bride and Groom Sit?

Is your wedding a religious celebration? Chances are that you would want to seat the families of the groom and bride on opposite ends. While Jewish weddings have the bride’s family seat on the right side of the hall, Christians seat the bride’s family on the left. Additionally, this determination varies from one culture to another.

Which Side of the Groom does the Bride Sit?

It is up to you to determine which side of the groom the bride should sit. This may also depend on your religion, culture and other personal considerations.

Should Bridal Party Members Sit Together?

You do not have to bundle members of the bridal party together. Allow them to tastefully take seats among the congregation where they feel most comfortable. This is especially true if they come from different families of the bride or groom, and if they do not know each other too well. Generally, focus on who they would want to be close as they enjoy the proceedings.

Should you Place Table Cards at the Reception Hall?

Placing name cards on the tables is great if you have a small number of guests. On the other hand, having a seating chart is appropriate to coordinate large numbers of people.

Steps in Creating your Wedding Seating Chart

1. Have the Floor Plan

Talk to your wedding planner, or visit the venue to familiarize yourself with space, dimensions, entry and exit routes, bathrooms, electric sockets, and other important things.

2. Plan for DJ, Food, Band and Other Add-ons

Seat the DJ at the corner where he won’t be distracted. Placing food too close to the walkway is a recipe for disaster.

3. Consider Table Sizes and Shapes

How many guests can each table comfortably accommodate? You do not want to squeeze people too close together to lack breathing space. Let the rentals company or venue owners help you with this.

4. How Many Tables will you Need?

The number of tables is dependent on the size of each as compared to the total number of expected guests.

5. Deploy a Digital Seating Chart to Seat Guests

Spreadsheets and sticky notes may not be practical in helping people to sit. Instead, use a step-by-step guide with instructions on how people should sit. The one below will come in handy.

6. Select the Couple’s Seats

Think of the couple before anyone else. After all, they are the most important people on this day. Ask them if they have any favorites as far as types of seats are concerned. If they like to mingle, allow them to share a table with their closest friends. This is especially true when wining and dining. Whatever preferences there are, seat the couple in a position where everyone can see them at the slightest glance.

7. Treat VIPs in a Special Way

Parents, guardians, and siblings are the next most important people after the couple. Allow them to choose the preferred tables. Having them closest to the couple makes a lot of sense.

8. Seat Guests According to their Relationship to the Couple

After arranging family and close relatives of the couple, consider where the other guests will sit. For example, if there are former classmates of the bride, seating them together allows them to reminisce school days and catch up on lost time. Have people discuss something common as they enjoy the wedding.

9. Have Younger Guests Sit Closer to the Dance Floor

Younger people like to be at the epicenter of fun and enjoyment. They will enjoy loud music. Have them seat closest to the DJ or the dance floor. You do not want to put grandparents too close to the blaring music.

10. Leave Extra Room for Wheelchairs

Some of your guests may need to move around wheelchairs, so leave enough space on the aisles.

11. Consider Having a Kids-Only Area

Are you going to have more than 10 children? Allow them to mingle and play by seating them together. Have colored toys for them to play with. Of course, you should consult their parents to ensure that they are okay with this arrangement.

12. Ask Family Members Where to Seat Their Friends

Special guests of family members will want to get seated next to or close to people they know. Have this consideration in mind.

13. Ensure People are Comfortable and Happy

You may not please everyone. However, a concise seating arrangement makes them know that you considered their interests.

14. Give Guests a Decorative Seating Guide of the Day

Exercise some creativity to inject style into the wedding. Have tastefully designed artworks, cards, and décor that adds a classy look and feel to the whole celebration.

Click HERE to Download your Traditional Wedding Checklist

Top Tips for Designing a Great Seating Chart for your Wedding

Many brides prefer a wedding seating chart, although it is not an absolute must. When you assign seats at any dinner, things tend to flow smoother and simpler. A chart ensures that all seats at each table are occupied. At the same time, the catering staff has an easier time serving guests. Therefore, many wedding venues should have assigned seating arrangement.

Creating a seating chart should not be as overwhelming as it sounds. Have fun along the way with an ultimate guide. Consider the following rules of the thumb and make light of the whole assignment.

  1. Select Tasteful Table Shapes

Do some homework as far as seating tables are concerned. The shape and size of each determine the number of people it can accommodate. Rectangular tables fit more people than round, square and square ones. On the other hand, round tables can afford guests more room. Weigh these options and go for the one that best suits your wedding plan.

  1. Seat Close Friends Together

Planning a tasteful seating position for the couple, parents and siblings should be top of the plan. Next, surround these VIPs with their closest friends. Mutual friends have lots of stories to talk about during the entire day. Food tastes better when shared, and you would want to have the couple eat and drink around their respective families and friends.

  1. Consider Where to Seat Parents

Consider seating parents from both sides together close to the couple. This gives them the chance to know one another better and bask in the glory of their son and daughter. Problems will begin when and if you have divorced parents in the mix. In this case, have two tables on either side of the couple. This way, you make everyone comfortable and avoid ugly situations.

  1. Listen to the Views of your Parents

Are you running out of ideas to seat the friends of the couple’s parents? Enlist the help of the parents, as they will be glad to be involved. After all, you may not know what their friends prefer. Let parents choose who to sit with or close to.

  1. Seat Guests According to Groups

Do you have a final list of who is attending the wedding? Now is the time to categorize people into groups. Family members, work colleagues, former school mates and college friends are examples of these categories. It can be awkward where people who have never met before sit together. They simply do not have a common topic to discuss.

  1. Have a Separate Children’s Table

If there are several kids at the wedding, let them enjoy their playtime at a separate table. It should be lower than all others, while their seats should be smaller to increase their comfort and enjoyment. At the same time, do not stash them too far from their parents as they may need attention from time to time.

  1. Skip the “Singles” Table

If your cousin wants to be paired with an old colleague at work, consider seating them at the same table. Do not keep single people away, as this could be embarrassing. On the other hand, do not seat a single person in a table full of married couples. Be sensitive to the feelings of everyone and use your wise judgment.

  1. Look at the Floor Plan

Sort out seats so that the most important people occupy the best first. Let VIPs have an unobstructed view of the epicenter of action. At the same time, guests using wheelchairs will need plenty of room to maneuver their way around the venue. Have bathrooms that accommodate them. Older guests may not want to sit too close to the loudspeakers or live band performers. On the other hand, let younger people have room to dance as they may need.

  1. Design a Digital Seating Plan

Discover great online digital seating plans for weddings. Most of the top plans have the option for you to drag and drop placements of guests as you require. A digital plan shows you an overview of who will sit where making the whole procedure easy to arrange and disarrange. There are options to resize the dimensions of venues, table sizes, and empty spaces. Apart from tables and chairs, you can easily allocate space for other items such as DJ booth, dancing hall and empty spaces among others.

  1. Create a Physical Ssitting Chart

Making a physical sitting chart on paper can make more sense than having a digital one. This is because you can reproduce and share with the guests or ushers at the wedding venue. Of course a physical sitting chart will come after the basic arrangements. There is little if any chance of moving or rearranging tables and seat. Instead, adorn sticky notes with names of guests and paste them on the chart for easy planning. Feel free to call your creativity to work by using the wedding’s theme colors.

  1. Mark Seats as per Guests

Consider assigning guests to tables rather than chairs if assigned seating is not your thing. Have enough seats at each table based on the size of the table and the size of the seats. This way, guests will not scramble for space. Just like in assigned seating, assign guests to tables based on categories. Family members should gather around together and so should mutual friends and work colleagues. This allows for a grand reception.

  1. Have Clearly Marked Table Cards

There is a tight balancing act between ease of use and creativity when it comes to table cards. Enveloped and tented cards are sweet options. Depending on the table types, arrange cards tastefully to clearly indicate who should sit there. Consider arranging the names of guests in alphabetical order to help them find their seats faster and settle down easily. Print cards in font size and style that is easy for everyone to read. Follow these tips and tricks for a highly fulfilling wedding reception that guests will remember for a long time.

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