One of the final decisions that needs to be taken care of before your wedding is how to seat your guests at the wedding reception. It’s probably one of the most agonizing tasks that you and your significant other will have to do. Trying to match 200 to 300 people for wedding reception seating can be painstaking.
You’ve probably got friends that are still single. Maybe a parent is divorced. There’s a good chance that some relatives don’t get along very well. All of these things need to be taken into consideration when doing your wedding reception seating.
You really don’t want to offend anyone, but it might happen. Just relax. This is your day, not theirs. Your guests will need to understand that it’s difficult to please everyone. The best you can do is to try and arrange the seating to your best ability. Once you figure out who to invite, now the seating plan begins.
Here’s a guide to how to best arrange wedding reception seating.
Traditionally, each set of parents will head their own table with the closest of relatives alongside them. This means two tables with a good amount of relatives sitting with them. This will take care of many of the closest relatives set to be at the wedding.
If any of the parents are divorced, you can set each parent up with their own table and have some of their close family members with them. This will help to separate the divorced parents should there still be any animosity between the two.
If you’re planning on allowing children to be at your wedding reception, it’s a good idea to try and seat the kids together at a table. They’ll be occupied with each other, and hopefully won’t bother anyone too much. It might be a good idea to try and arrange that specific table near at least one of the parents or relatives in case the kids need any assistance. If there’s only going to be a few kids overall, including your flower girl and ring bearer, just go ahead and seat them with their parents.
If you’ve got a lot of friends coming to the wedding, this is a great time to seat them together (assuming they know each other). Your friends will have time to have their own mini-reunion and reminisce about the good times.
Try and keep in mind any friends who may not do well together. It’s important to be aware of the relationships to the best of your ability as to hopefully not stir up any old feelings.
Co-workers And Bosses
If you’ve decided that you want to invite some co-workers and their spouses, have them all together at their own table if at all possible. This way they’ll have each other to sit around and speak with, and it won’t be awkward for them.
When you first start planning your wedding reception seating, you can try and place guests in different groups. This will help to guide your overall decision-making process. If you’ve got a specific group of friends, try and seat them together. Seat your other group of friends with each other. You can try seating high school friends with each other and college friends with each other. Grouping should help the process go along more smoothly.
Some of your parents’ friends are likely going to be at your wedding, and it might be difficult to know where to seat them. Have your parents help out with these guests, as they’ll have a better idea of which friends to seat with who.
Keep An Eye On The Floor Plan
When putting together the wedding reception seating, it’s important to keep in mind the floor plan of your wedding venue. Different sizes and shapes of the venue may make it difficult, or easier, to plan how you’re doing your seating. Speak with the owner, manager, or event planner and ask about their experience on seating.
Create A Wedding Reception Seating Chart
For those brides and grooms who want to make a physical seating chart, you can go ahead and purchase some posterboard and Post-it notes. You can write down your guests’ names on the Post-it note and stick it to the poster board to create your optimum seating chart.
For those that don’t want to deal with post-it notes, AllSeated.com has a great online seating chart creator, and it’s totally free. Just sign up for a free account and completely re-create your venue with all of their helpful online tools.
How Will Your Guests Find Their Seats?
Once all your difficult wedding reception seating has been done, how will your guests find their seats? There are two traditional options. The first includes having place cards at each table with each guest’s name on a card. Consider, though, that this can get a little hectic since guests are forced to walk around the whole venue until they find their name.
The second traditional option is escort cards. These are usually placed on a table in the front entrance of your reception venue, and are in alphabetical order with the table number printed on them. Escort cards make it easier as guests don’t have to search throughout the ballroom to find their seat.
However, there is a third option. At Vatican Banquet Hall, in our front foyer, we have two large television screens where the married couple can have all their guest seating posted on the screens. A slideshow of the wedding reception seating can be created and displayed right onto the screens. This can make it easier for guests to find their tables, and allows some creativity as well!