Creating a seating chart can be one of the least fun, and most chaotic tasks during wedding planning. You can’t outsource it, since your planner isn’t savvy on the tiff between Aunt June and Uncle Bob, or aware of the drama between your mommas, so it’s left to you and your soon-to-be-spouse. As a result, it’s usually a dreaded task for couples planning. Therefore, we’ve got some tips to help ease the task!
1. First, decide if you’re assigning seats, or just tables. This depends on a lot on your crowd and vibe. If you have a crowd with lots of family drama, assigning individual seats might be best. If you have a very formal wedding, assign seats. If you’re having a more relaxed wedding, or have a small to medium sized crowd, assigning tables is perfectly fine. If you’re thinking of skipping formal seating all together, think again. Large groups of people do well with direction, and skipping a seating chart means things move slower when guests enter the reception, people are confused, and your catering staff will have issues because people move chairs around, mixing up your table count. As a result, you definitely need some sort of seating guidance.
2. Figure out how many people per table, and how many tables. 5 or 6 foot round tables will fit 8-10 people, accordingly, depending on chair size and if they have armrests, while an 8 foot banquet table (the long, rectangular kind) will seat 4 people on each side, plus 2 on the short sides.
3. Grab some sticky notes and a pencil. Almost all of your work will be doing this part. Make each sticky note a ‘table’. After you number all the ‘tables’, lightly pencil in names at each table. Then, as you work your way down your guest list, change your mind or make mistakes, you can erase and re-add names.
4. Sweetheart table or head table? A sweetheart table is just you and your spouse, and is more intimate. A head table seats your entire bridal party. So, you have to decide which you’re having, so you know if you need to seat your bridal party elsewhere.
5. Work your way out, from the closest to farthest. The tables closets to your sweetheart or head table should be for your VIPs– family, bridal party and anyone going a speech. The second grouping of tables should be for important people and loved ones. The tables farthest from you should be people like coworkers, long lost cousins or children.
6. Be mindful of the rest of the layout. Finally, don’t put a table with your great great grandmother next to the DJ speakers, or a table full of children right in front of the bar. Make sure you consider the overall reception layout when assigning and arranging tables.