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Please Be Seated - Seating Charts

The wedding seating chart is one of those things that brides seem to dread. They are however very important. Just this past weekend, one of my brides didn’t take my advice and did not prepare a seating chart. She wanted the wedding to feel very relaxed, where everyone could sit wherever they wanted to.

When four guests arrived late, all the tables were full except for one chair at four different tables. These guests had not seen each other in years and really wanted to stay together, so they sat on the porch. It confused catering and disjointed the party.

1. Table Shapes

Talk to your venue to see what types of tables they offer. The size and shape of tables will dictate how many guests can be seated at each. There are four basic options: round, rectangle, oval and square. Typically, you can fit more rectangular tables into a space. Round tables are the most traditional option, afford your guests more leg room and are a great set up for conversation.

• 60 inch rounds seat 8 comfortably, 10 is tight.

• 72 inch rounds seats 10 comfortably, 12 is tight.

• 6 foot rectangle is great for 6, but can seat 8 with people at the ends.

• 8 foot rectangle seats 8, 10 with people at the ends.

2. Keep Friends Close

There are lots of great tools out there, but I still think the best way to nail down seating is with a pen and paper, index cards and sticky notes. Use the index cards to represent tables (with a note for how many guests you can seat), label sticky notes with a guest’s name. This allows you to move people around easily until it all feels right.

Are you thinking about a head table with your wedding party and their dates if you’ve got the room is a great way to surround yourselves with your favorite people during dinner.

Thinking a sweetheart table instead? Simply seat the wedding party with their dates and a group of other mutual friends. They should be seated at the third-best tables, the first is your sweetheart table, the second-best tables are for your parents and the third is your wedding party, near the dance floor of course!

3. Parents

Traditionally, both the bride and groom's parents will share a table at the reception, along with grandparents and siblings that aren't in the wedding.

When you're dealing with divorced parents, if things are tense between them, be sensitive. Consider having two tables that are equally close to you.

4. Parents' Help

If you have no idea where to seat your parents' friends, let your mother and mother-in-law arrange those tables. They will love to be included.

5. Categorize Guests

Begin by grouping guests according to how you know them: family members, high school friends, college friends, work friends, etc. Try to make everyone feel comfortable by offering a mix of familiar and new faces at each table.

6. Kids' Tables

Designate a kids' table: If you have several children at your wedding, seat them together at a separate kids' table. Think ahead and have activities or crafts at their table to keep them occupied.

7. The Floor Plan

Keep the floor plan of your venue in mind. Give your VIPs the best seats in the house. Guests in wheelchairs should be seated at tables that are either closer to the edge of the room or closer to the dance floor, so they’ll have plenty of space to maneuver. Older guest may want to be a little further from the band and not near a speaker, so it isn’t too loud. Seat younger guests who will be on the dance floor all night near the band so they can really have fun!

8. Table Cards Made Easy

When it comes to actually telling your guests where to sit, go to Pinterest. You will find plenty of ideas that are both creative and easy for guests to use.

Tip: Arrange guests’ names in alphabetical order instead of grouped by table. This make it easy for guests to find their seat, instead of having to read every table list to figure out where to go.

Boom! You did it. Now share this information with the venue, caterer and planner. Sit back and enjoy the party!

#seatingchart #planning #reception #weddingreception

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