As a wedding guest you’ve likely never put any thought into the work that goes into a wedding seating plan. For most couples this can be one of the most stressful parts of planning a wedding. Part of this is due to the fact that it’s something that’s only done closer to the wedding once all of the RSVPs are in. (This is why it’s crucial as a wedding guest to make sure you get them in on time!) Typically you’ll want to do your wedding seating plan at least one week before the wedding, so you’re not stuck trying to do it the night before. Wedding seating plans are also something that isn’t really able to be delegated to someone else as no one really knows your friends and family and any possible situations like you do. So here’s some quick tips to help create your wedding seating plan a little less painfully!
Don’t Over Think It
Your guests will only be seated during the meal time. After that they are up and dancing or mingling with other guests, so don’t stress about putting someone at the wrong table.
Assigning Seats vs Tables
It’s most common to assign your guests to tables. To assign guests to specific seats is only needed if you’re having a plated meal with multiple selections, as this makes the plated service easier for the staff. If you do decide to assign seats, you’ll need escort cards or a seating chart at the reception entryway to say what table your guests are at and also place cards at the tables to show what seat is for who. With assigned tables you only need escort cards or a seating chart, which keeps things much simpler for you.
Head Table Seating
So where do you, as the bride and groom, sit? Well there’s a few different options; sweetheart table, wedding party table or family table. The wedding party table is most common. This table has the bride and groom in the middle of the rectangular table with your wedding party on either side. The family table is similar but instead of the bride and groom sitting with the wedding party, both sets of parents would sit with the newlyweds. The sweetheart table is a small table just for the bride and groom to enjoy time alone together.
Write It Out
A great place to start is by grouping guests according to how you know them and then assigning them to tables or seats from there. These groups could include your family, your spouse’s family, your co-workers, your spouse’s co-workers, mutual friends, high school friends, etc. Most couples find it easiest to create the seating plan visually with sticky notes and paper. On the paper you can draw out the table layouts and on the sticky notes you write the names of all of your guests. This way you can easily move people around until you have the right amount of people at each table and the arrangements work out. Another alternative, if you’re a bit of a techie like me, is to do this process electronically. WeddingWire has a great program where you can create the layout of your reception room and can drag and drop your guests to each table. Either way, find a system that works and once it’s all done, transfer the names with table numbers over to a master list or spreadsheet incase anything gets misplaced later on.
At the end of the day remember that your guests support you and will hopefully be okay with whatever table they end up at, so don’t stress about this one piece of your wedding!