Seating assignments aren’t the most fun part of planning a wedding (in fact, they rank pretty low on the enjoyment scale), but it’s something that has to be done. As you’re figuring out where to sit your favorite cousin and who’s going to be stuck at the back corner table, our experts have a few pieces of etiquette advice that, while they won’t make the process go faster, will definitely help make sure your guests have a great time.
You Really Should Have One
Having some sort of wedding seating chart will make your reception flow much more smoothly. You don’t have to assign each guest to a specific seat, but deciding which table they’ll be at, while it’s a headache for you on the front-end, means they won’t be scrambling for seats while you’re trying to make your grand entrance. Put a little thought into who you’ll be grouping together to make sure everyone’s got someone to talk to and will have an enjoyable evening.
Give Your VIPs Some Say
You should also include your parents in the seating assignments. Let them know how many seats will be at their tables, and ask them to choose who they would like to have sitting with them for dinner. If there will be another family or friends' table nearby, they may want to choose those guests, too.
Consider the Floor Plan
Keep the floor plan of your venue in mind while creating your wedding seating chart, too. Give your VIPs the best seats in the house, so they have a clear view of all the action and can jump into the celebration. 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 as needed. Older guests 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 boogie!
Keep Your Friends Close
A head table full of your wedding party (and their dates if you’ve got the room!) is a great way to acknowledge their special role, as well as surrounding yourself with your BFFs during dinner. Opting for a sweetheart table? Have your wedding party host tables, instead. Seat them with their dates and a group of other mutual friends. They should be seated at the third-best tables in the room—the first is your sweetheart table, the second-best tables are for your parents and the third is your wedding party.
Choose an Intuitive Design
When it comes to actually telling your guests where to sit, the goal is to find the sweet spot between creativity and ease of use. Tented or envelope cards are the most traditional, and can be arranged in a variety of ways depending on the type of table you’re working with. Table assignment signs and charts can also work well. Arranging guests’ names in alphabetical order (instead of grouped by table) means they’ll be able to find their seats faster, instead of having to read every table list to figure out where to go. Opting for one or two long tables for everyone? A diagram with numbered seats, accompanied by an alphabetical list of guests’ names and their seat number, will get them in place with ease. A font that’s easier to read is always welcome, for both escort cards and place cards.