One of the final stages of wedding planning is deciding where your guests should sit and arranging your wedding seating chart. Some people think this is one of the harder parts of the process but if you spend some time preplanning and organizing it can be much easier.
One of your top priorities and first items to brainstorm is to decide who you want to sit together. If there is a group of your college girlfriends coming from out of state and they don’t know many people it might be best to group them together. You also want to spend time and be thoughtful and decide who will get along the best and have fun at the wedding. And don’t forget about your single friends who are coming alone. Try to place them with fun people so they have a good time.
The first step is inputting all of your guests into an Excel spreadsheet. Hopefully you have been tracking your RSVP’s as they come in so this should already be done. It is important that you have decided on your table sizes so you can effectively create the chart. If you know you are having ten “nine person tables” you can create the nine columns on the spreadsheet, one for each table.
If you are having a hard time deciding on the table sizes and seating arrangements and want to group eight people together but your tables only fit six don’t be scared to use different size tables. We love this wedding reception that used square and round tables to make sure their guests were seated the way they wanted. The different size tables really add to the decor and make it a bit more unique than the typical round tables.
Once you have the guest list you can make different columns in the spreadsheet and label them by the table numbers. Make sure to only copy and paste the names when you move them to the columns so you have a master list still available on the document. A good idea is also to make sure you have saved a master copy in case you lose any of the names during the process. This process would be great for someone is more comfortable on the computer and may be a bit more technical than visual.
The next option, which is great for the more visual brides, is to create a seating chart on a poster board using Post-it notes as the main tool. The first step would be to decide what size tables you are going to use at the wedding so you know how many circles to draw on your poster board. The next step is to create a Post-it note for every guest on your list (if you have a large wedding this can be time intensive). It is easier to start with family and place them at the tables you feel most comfortable with. One thing to keep in mind is where the DJ will be located so you don’t have your grandmother too close to the speakers. Sometimes it is easier to put some of the younger folks in this section. This option is great because you can move around the Post-it notes multiple times and will not need erase or worry about losing anyone’s name.
Another good option for the technical savvy brides is to use an online seating planner such as the program Wedding Wire offers.
We have also been noticing a new trend of using cocktail tables for the wedding reception and not having a seating chart. This will provide a more relaxed feel and it invites your guests to move around and talk to more people.
By this time you have probably decided on your personal seating arrangement as well. There are different options such as sitting at a sweetheart table with your groom, a traditional head table for the entire bridal party, a head table with the bridal party plus their dates, and a head table that has the bridal party and their dates with people sitting on both sides of table, in a family style setting. This is nice if you have a larger wedding party and it gives you the opportunity to see and talk to more people as well.
Here are some great photos of the table layouts I described to give you some inspiration while planning your wedding seating chart.
For more wedding tips and etiquette, check out our tips and advice page here.