If you’re in the last 30-days of wedding planning, you’re probably starting to think about seating assignments, and we’re here to help! Assigning seats can be complex, and truthfully a little bit stressful depending on the dynamics within families or friend groups. Additionally, if you are serving a plated meal, (vs. buffet or family style), you will want to be precise with just where everyone will placed. Read on for our top tips on how to seat your guests.
Set a deadline for your final RSVPs to arrive with enough time to work through your seating chart with at least a couple of weeks to spare before your big day. There are couples who have been down to the wire the night before taking their first stab at the seating arrangements, and this added stress can simply be avoided with some advanced planning. You will definitely make some last minute changes, but get started on your first draft with time to space.
Map it Out
As wedding planners, we are visual people, and we like using our internal software to actually see just where everyone will be. If you’re not working with a wedding planner, we recommend using a spreadsheet to list each of your guests, and generally breakdown which group of people they belong to, including family, friends, colleagues, and others sub-groups. Next, find some old-fashioned drafting paper, and a number 2 pencil and sketch the arrangement of the tables and other pieces of furniture from a bird’s eye view, just like a floor-plan. From here, you’ll be able to map out logical seating arrangements, and can easily make edits when needed. There are lots of digital options online as well, just search “wedding seating chat tool”.
Seat Yourselves and Your Wedding Party First
There are lots of options for you and your new spouse’s seat at your reception. Traditionally, a head table is long and rectangular, (not round), and your wedding party will sit along one side facing out towards the other guests with you two in the middle. These days, while this is still a great option, it’s more flexible, and you get to create the dining experience you really want! Consider if you’d like to be seated alone at a sweetheart table, or if you’d like to be surrounded instead by your wedding party. Another point to consider is if you’d like your bridesmaids all on one side, and groomsmen on the other, or if you will invite dates to the head table with everyone sitting intermixed. Once you have this point of your seating chart settled, you can set the rest of the framework for the remaining guests.
Seat Your Parents
Depending on your family dynamics, or the size of your wedding, you can choose to have your parents sit with your new spouse’s parents, along with your siblings, and your officiant. On the other hand, if your parents, or your spouse’s parents are divorced, or if your parents prefer to sit with their close friends, you can also opt to give each parent or set of parents their own table. Remember that parent-seating is flexible, and you can set it up depending on whatever works best for everyone. If you’re not sure, talk to the parents in question before making your final decision.
Dissolve Tension Before it Starts
Unfortunately, as many of us know, there may be situations where certain family members or friends do not get along. It’s possible they haven’t spoken in years or it’s possible that the last time your family members were at a wedding, there was a fight. Whatever the scenario, consider the various relationships, (or lack there of), when placing guests. If you do find yourself in this predicament, take our advice, and seat these guests on opposite side of the reception hall. Trust us, they will appreciate it.
Sip and Twirl is a passionate and creative group of wedding planners. We are located in Scottsdale, Arizona, and whether you have just started envisioning your big day, or are in the thick of planning, we'd love to hear from you! We plan for both small and large scale weddings, and genuinely love what we do. Reach out to us at (480) 648-0663 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.