Putting your wedding together means that you’re thinking about a million things all at once. You’re trying to find the best dress, select the perfect venue and make a menu with your favorite foods. Your fiancé and family might be able to help, but even with your favorite people beside you, certain aspects of wedding planning can be more challenging than others.
When you find yourself having to create your wedding seating chart, don’t worry! It doesn’t have to be as complicated as it may feel. Even after you finish assigning seats, there are going to be people who switch between tables all night so that they can say hi to everyone they know. No one is going to sit the entire time, so don’t stress too much about the seating chart.
The best thing you can do to create the perfect wedding seating chart is to put some thought into it now so that you don’t have to sweat it later. If people have a good place to sit and eat, they’ll make their own memories at the reception from there. Read on for some easy tips you can use to make your seating chart the best it can be so that you can move on to the more fun parts of wedding planning, like cake testing and engagement shoots.
1. Keep Your Friends Close
Although you may want your family involved in all aspects of your wedding, remember that your friends will be there too. They may not know many people besides you at the wedding, so keep them close on the seating chart. If they’re within a table or two of you, they’ll feel more comfortable going into the reception. They may also be able to get some great candid photos from closer!
2. Imagine the Small Talk
Every table is going to engage in some small talk as the reception begins, so try to picture what that small talk will be with each group. Who will be the most talkative person to get things started, and what do they usually talk about? You may want to review your seating chart and pair people together who will be comfortable making small talk, that way the conversations can start off on a better foot.
3. Don’t Make a Singles’ Table
Some brides opt to have a singles’ table at their reception so that anyone who didn’t come with a plus one can mingle and meet other singles who may be open to something new. A common problem that arises is that people may not want to flirt at your wedding. It can feel forced or awkward, especially for those who just came to your wedding to celebrate you and have a good time. If your single friends and family members want to mingle, they’ll find a way without having an assigned table.
4. Talk with Your Parents
Your friends aren’t the only ones arriving in style at your wedding. Your parents’ friends will be there too! Instead of trying to guess at who would want to sit with whom, talk to your parents about who they would seat and where. They’ll know their friends better than you do and can help avoid seating people away from the friends they already know.
5. Seat by Age
Another complication to avoid with your wedding seating chart is putting people together who are separated by big age gaps. Younger people and older people might not know how to find common ground with small talk, resulting in lots of awkward silence. Instead, think about seating by age. You might find that people naturally have friends their age, which will help to seat them with people they can easily get along with.
6. Put the Kids Together
Kids present another challenge for seating charts. If they aren’t grouped together at a kids’ table, they could create some commotion by running around the reception area to their separate tables. But they also can’t have their own table if they’re too young. Consider making a kids’ table so that they can hang out together and talk with their parents if you’re not sure whether they’d do well on their own.
7. Remember the Table Shapes
Grouping people together has a bit to do with the shape of your reception tables. Will they be long and rectangular, or small and circular? Circular tables make it easier to talk with everyone, whereas rectangular tables may keep guests talking with only those next to and across from them. The table shapes will change who sits where, so think about this factor when you’re choosing where to rent tables from or what tables are offered by the venues you consider.
8. Think About the Floor Plan
The floor plan of the reception area will also impact your seating chart. Where the tables can go will change how guests at each table see the cake cutting, speeches and dances. It might be a good first step to figure out how you’ll position the tables before you think about where everyone will sit.
9. Work It Out Online
Taking notes by hand and sketching out your seating chart may cause more problems than you’d like. It’s hard to keep handwritten documents updated with last-minute changes or even check to see if you remembered to make the edits you meant to the day or week before. You should check out online seating charts so that it can all be done digitally. You may even be able to add editors so that those closest to the planning process can give feedback right on the chart.
10. Make The Table Cards Big
One last practical problem people run into with their seating charts is having confused guests at the reception. The lighting may be low, or the room crowded, making it difficult to read the table cards and find seats. Navigate around this issue by making large table numbers and name cards. You can also place lighting solutions like candles by the cards so that they’re more easily seen.
Whatever you do to plan out your seating chart, don’t worry about it being set in stone. As the reception goes on, people are going to be in and out of their seats getting drinks, dancing and mingling with people they know. If you give them a good place to get started, your guests are bound to enjoy your reception as much as you do!
For more advice on wedding planning, check out these articles!