June 21, 2016

Wedding Planning | Creating the Seating Chart

Raise your hand if creating your seating chart for your wedding made you want to elope. (RAISE THOSE HANDS) You never knew that Aunt Sally can’t stand Cousin Joe or that it was super important that your college roommate doesn’t sit next to your friend from the softball team because they dated once and now things are weird. My favorite is when the bride tells me that the parents’ tables MUST be the exact same distance from the sweetheart table or else they will start thinking you like one set of parents more. Friends, this is real life. Seating charts are HHAAARRDDDD. But, please, don’t try the whole “we won’t make one and everyone can sit where they want”. I have never seen that work. Ever. However, I can offer you some tips and tricks that I have found helpful along the way. Try them out. Perhaps it will cut down on the tears and massive amount of wine you are drinking right now.

Kelly and Gary-Preparation and Details-0690

Michael & Carina Photography

  1. Start with grouping people. At this point in the game, don’t focus on the seating capacity of each table, just relationships. For my own wedding we had to group: my family, Mitch’s family, my co-workers, Mitch’s co-workers, Maryland friends , and Connecticut friends.
  2. Next, decide if you want a sweetheart table, a head table, kings table or any other sort of configuration. Plug those necessary people into their table. Again, I will keep using my wedding. We knew we wanted a head table with their significant others. Right off the bat I had 20 people seated and ready to go! Only 140 more 🙂
  3. Now is when you want to pull out the actual layout of your reception. This is an important step especially if you have groups of people who can’t sit next to each other (i.e. Aunt Sally and Cousin Joe). You also want to take note of where the DJ is and where their speakers will be located or facing. If possible, try to seat your friends closer to the dance floor and the speakers rather than your grandparents. Perhaps you have a friend or family member in a wheelchair and it would be easier if they were closer to a bathroom. These are just examples of some things to be aware of as you build the layout.
  4. Personally, I used the Pinterest method of writing everyone’s name on the Post-it note flags on a giant poster board layout of my reception space. It worked great for me! This method allowed me to keep the grouping through color coding but if we needed to move someone we just moved the flag around the poster board. I would start with family first and keep them close to your sweetheart or head table. Then I would try to keep as many friends (or groupings) together, as possible. I lucked out and our tables could fit 12-14 people and therefore most of our “grouping” were able to stay together.
  5. Don’t freak out if you can’t find the “perfect” spot for someone. If they are normal, rational human beings they will understand that seating charts are hard, you did the best you could, and at the end of the day you really only sit at the table for an hour during dinner. I have never had a friend or family member say anything to the bride and groom about where they are sitting (on the wedding day at least–up until then, yes).

Last few tips: if you have more than 5 children (not babies, obviously) at the wedding designate a kid’s table. Resist the urge to play match maker while planning your seating chart. Try to have fun with the seating chart! Match people based on known hobbies or interests if you are having a hard time finding a place for them. At the end of the day, the seating chart exists for dinner purposes only. Don’t stress too much!


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