Do We Need a Seating Chart for the Wedding Reception?

Updated 02/20/13

Amy Majors Photography

Is a seating chart necessary, or can guests seat themselves for your wedding reception? Should the bridal party's dates sit at the head table? And when should you cut the wedding cake? If you have a wedding-reception etiquette question, our experts are here to help.

Do we have to have a seating chart, or can our guests seat themselves?

It all depends on the size of your wedding. If you're having 50 or fewer guests, you can certainly have a chartless wedding reception. In this case your site will just have a handful of tables, and guests will probably feel perfectly comfortable seating themselves. But before you decide to abandon the chart, consider whether you have any special circumstances to take into account. For example, divorced parents might be more at ease with a few tables between them. Larger receptions are a whole different story.

Here, a seating chart will help avoid unnecessary confusion and keep your celebration running smoothly. If guests are wandering from table to table trying to find an open seat when dinner is announced, the only thing that will be eaten up quickly is valuable reception time. Hey, musical chairs is fun, but for a big, important party save that game for the dance floor!

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