The Dos and Don’ts of Seating Charts

With so much planning going behind your big day, deciding where your guests may sit can often feel like one more to-do for your list. But, what may feel unnecessary can mean the world to your guests! Developing a plan for seating not only reduces your guests’ anxiety but may lessen your involvement of mediating issues day of, as well. Leaving you with not a care in the world. So, before ruling out a seating chart outright, consider the following dos and don’ts; you may realize that creating a seating chart isn’t as difficult as you may have thought.

Things to Consider

If your wedding reception is on the smaller scale, think 50 guests and fewer, then a seating chart may not be necessary. In this instance, simply designating a head table with signage or décor can provide a specific table for you and your bridal party while leaving your guests the option to sit with whomever they choose.

If you will be serving heavy hors d’oeuvres compared to a seated dinner, you do not need a seating chart. Cocktail tables where guests can float freely are ideal and allow your guests to mingle and eat at their own pace. If this describes your reception, consider reserving a table for your elderly and senior guests to have a seat comfortably.

Who Sits Where?

The Wedding Party: Designate a specific table for your wedding party as well as yourself! Include your bridal party or consider a standalone sweetheart table. Use specific signage, décor or a unique way to place the table to make it known where your designated guests will sit.

The Family Table: Seat your parents, in-laws, grandparents, the officiant and other close family members together. Commonly, both sets of parents sit opposite of each other from the table to officiate conversation amongst all parties but this certainly isn’t required. If your parents are divorced, consider having each parent host their own table with accompanying family members and close friends.

Your Remaining Guests: Once your family members and bridal party are placed, begin to place the rest of your guests. Begin by grouping extended family members and sets of friends together. If you run into a group that’s too large for one table, simply split the group down the middle, add additional guests with common interests and place the two pairings at tables that are close together. It is important; however, to keep one principle in mind, people are often most comfortable when around familiar faces. Whether that’s keeping childhood friends at one table and co-workers at another, seating charts are intended to keep your wedding reception running smoothly while keeping your guests’ anxiety at bay.

Seating Children: If you have several children attending your wedding, consider seating them all at a designated “Kids’ Table.” Providing coloring sheets with crayons or special tokens of appreciation can be a unique way of keeping them occupied and allowing them to have fun. If your flower girl, ring bearer or immediate family are the only children who are attending, simply seat them with their parents.

Place Cards, Escort Cards or a Seating Chart?

Once you have a better feel on who will be sitting with whom, consider how you will coordinate and guide your guests to the proper seat!

The Place Card: Place cards await each guest at their reserved seat. Place cards can be as simple as a folded piece of cardstock or can be a creative way to incorporate your theme or colors. If your wedding is a seated dinner where guests choose their entrée prior to the big day, it’s often best to have place cards so that wait staff can serve the proper meal choice.

The Escort Card: Escort cards often are placed near the entrance of your reception venue in alphabetical order. They commonly include each guests’ name and their respective table number. Once at the table, each guest can choose which seat they would like to sit in.

The Seating Chart: Seating charts can be a more casual approach to your assignments. Commonly displayed at the entrance of the reception venue and in alphabetical order, guests will find their table on the provided display. Escort cards can be used in coordination with place cards to display table assignments as well as seat assignments.