Once you have a pretty good idea of who's going to be attending your wedding, it's time to start planning the seating arrangements. If you have a wedding wedding with more than fifty people or so, seating charts can be a great way to efficiently seat guests and alleviate any anxiety they might have about figuring out where to sit. Unsure where to start? Follow along on our ultimate guide to wedding seating charts below!
Wedding Seating Charts: How to Choose Your Guests' Seats
Knowing what layout and table shapes to have is tricky enough, let alone figuring out who to seat where. Keep reading to learn more about verbiage, hierarchy's, and our best tips to keeping you organized.
Wedding Tables: Determine Your Table Style
There are three primary table shapes when it comes to wedding receptions: circle, square, or rectangle. Circle tables are the most common and can often seat around six to eight people. Rectangle or long tables can fit more people and require less tables. Square tables can be easy to navigate within your venue space but may not be able to fit as many guests as a circle or rectangle table. Think about your venue and guest count when deciding what will work best for you. Don't forget to ask if your venue provides tables or has any recommendations!
Sweetheart's Table vs. Head Table: Which is for You?
A sweetheart's table is usually front and center at the reception and seats only the newlywed couple. Conversely, a head table will be a long table consisting of the couple in the center followed by their respective wedding party on each side of them. A sweetheart's table can be more intimate for the bride and groom, whereas a head table can acknowledge the wedding party's special role and keep the couple's closest friends and family nearby.
Wedding Table Hierarchy: Who Sits Where?
First things first, decide where you want to sit. The couple usually has the best seat in the house and should be in a spot where everyone should see them. Your next priority is where your parents and immediately family will sit. Put them in the table(s) closest to you. If there is tension between any family members, don't be afraid to have multiple tables, consider one on either side of you. If you decide to have a head table, your wedding party will be right by your side, but if you choose a sweetheart, your wedding party should have the third closest seats, second only to your family. Consider putting them near the dance floor or wherever the action will be!
Seating Chart Tip: Put Guests into Groups
You want your guests to have the best time possible, so seat them next to people they are comfortable with! Although weddings are a great opportunity to meet new people, it can be daunting not knowing anyone. Consider putting your family at their own table, high school or college friends at another, and place work friends together. If you decide to have a kids table, make sure to keep it close enough to the parents so they can keep an eye on things. Putting younger guests near the dance floor can be a great way to get things moving when the music turns on. Try to avoid doing a singles table for the sake of all your single friends. They are there to celebrate you and most likely just want to sit by their own friends or family members.
Ask Your Parents for Seating Chart Help
Let's face it, your parents will probably convince you to invite distant relatives or friends of theirs that you simply aren't close with. It can be difficult to know where to place them if you don't know what they're like or who they themselves would know. Asking your parents for advice is a great way to help them feel included in the wedding planning process and also avoid some unnecessary family drama.
Consider Table Assignments Rather Than Specific Seats
Finding every individual's seat can be quite the task, and, honestly, they are probably going to shift themselves around anyway. Consider assigning groups of people to tables rather than seats and allow them to organize themselves as they see fit. This is a great way to keep everyone on track and seated efficiently without the hassle of figuring out every detail. This will also give the guests a little bit more sense of autonomy during your reception.
When to Make Your Seating Chart
It always feels good to get a jump on things, but you won't know exactly who's coming to your wedding until your RSVP's come in. The best way to navigate this is to come up with a rough draft and fill in as needed as you start to get confirmations. The best time to being making arrangements for seating is after you've locked down your venue and guest list. Figure out what kinds of tables you will have and consider asking your venue for a floor plan so you know what room you have to work with. Don't be afraid of making a poster or digital diagram of some kind to help you envision your reception.
Sample Wedding Seating Charts and Place Cards
So now that you've decided where you want everyone to be, the next step is figuring out how to help your guests find their seat the day-of. The most common ways to help your guests navigate the reception is by having a seating chart and/or place cards.
Sample Seating Charts
Seating charts are a physical diagram or list often placed in the front of the reception venue with guests names and which table they are to sit at. This can either show individual seating or group seating. Below are templates of seating charts to help you get started on your seating chart today!
1. Casual/Boho Seating Chart
If you're having an outdoor, casual, or boho wedding, consider doing something that has natural elements to it. Using wood, string, leaves, or other natural products will tie in the vibe of your big day.
2. Formal Seating Chart
For more formal weddings, having a chart that is monochromatic gives it a more elegant feel. Keep it clean and simple to make it sophisticated.
3. Unique Seating Chart
Looking for something a little more creative? Consider a world map seating chart assigning guests to different countries. Making the seating engaging for wedding attendees can make the experience even more memorable for everyone.
Sample Place Cards
Place cards are items, typically a card, on tables that have guests' name on them signifying where they should sit. Whether you decide to do a seating chart and place cards or just place cards, it's important to have them be accessible by making them easy to find and easy to read. Don't forget to have a little fun with it! Here are some place cards we love!
1. Classic Place Card
If you're hoping to keep clean and simple, having a card with plenty of negative space and just the guest's name on it is a great way to create an elegant look without going over-the-top.
2. Boho or Rustic Place Card
Having fake leaves or flowers can create a whimsical feel and add to any boho or rustic wedding. Despite it's name, place cards don't need to be actual cards, so consider doing lasercut names or another alternative for your wedding attendees.
3. Multipurpose Place Card
Don't be afraid to get creative and have your place card double as something else whether it be silverware, a wine glass, or a coaster. These place cards can also double as great wedding favors.
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Now that you've nailed down your seating chart, let's focus on the fun stuff! Read our Guide to Pre-wedding Parties and learn more about getting ready for your bridal shower, bachelorette party, and more!