Coming up with a seating chart for your wedding reception may not be your idea of fun. You may even ask yourself if you really need one at all. The truth is, in most cases it really is a good idea to provide your wedding guests with a reserved seat. There are exceptions—if you’re having an intimate wedding where everyone already knows each other, for example. If you’re in doubt, though, it’s probably a good idea to assign seats (or at least tables). So how do you go about creating a wedding seating chart? Let us be your guide!
Assigning seats or assigning tables?
In most cases, creating a seating chart means deciding the exact seat every guest should sit in. If you’re going to have round tables, you may be able to get away without assigning specific seats and just giving your guests a table number. In this case, you may know that your family and friends are likely to move the name cards around anyway. If that sounds like your crowd, go for it and just assign tables. In most other cases, though, you’ll want to make sure that your guests are seated directly next to (and across from) the right people.
Ways to make a wedding seating chart
The first step to creating your wedding seating chart is knowing the type and number or tables you’ll have. You may go about assigning seats differently depending on whether you have large tables vs. small tables or round tables vs. rectangular. (Check out our guide to wedding rentals for info on how many people each type of table can accommodate.) You will want to make a floor plan of your venue that has the tables and enlarge it so you can write in names or add post its. If you’re able, it can be super useful to make laminated circles or rectangles so you can use a dry erase marker to try out different seating combinations for all of your tables. Alternatively, you can use an online seating chart tool like AllSeated.
Start out by deciding where you will sit, then your parents, and then the members of your wedding party. Once they’ve been placed, start brainstorming different groupings for the rest of your guests. Your family and your partner’s family are obvious categories. You may want to make groups with a mix of younger couples and single friends as well. Consider your guests’ interests and personalities as well. Enlist the help of your parents to help with seating their friends and extended family members. Lastly make sure to consider those with special needs, such as elderly or pregnant guests, and place them at tables that are easily accessible.
When you’re not sure what to do about a certain seating situation, take a break, get some fresh air, talk it over with your friends or family. No wedding seating chart problem is unsolvable. With a little bit of brainstorming, you can make it work fabulously!
Escort cards and place cards
Ok, so now you have your wedding seating chart. How will your guests know where to sit? The traditional way to get your guests to the right place at the reception is to use escort cards that tell your guests their table number. You can have them posted alphabetically at the entrance to your reception. Your guests will take the card and find their way to the correct table. Alternatively, you can display guests’ names in a full seating chart at the entrance to the reception. Paperlust provides a handy tool for designing and ordering a seating chart to help your guests.
Once your guests get to their table, they can look for their place card. You can make them color coded or with unique symbols for each table to make it more fun and convenient for your guests. Alternatively, if you’ve assigned tables but not seats, your guests’ escort cards can double as their place cards! If you need a visual, check out these awesome ideas for displaying your escort cards. To make sure everyone knows what to do, you can include instructions in your wedding programs or on the schedule on your Joy wedding site.
If it still seems like a lot of work, remember that taking just a little extra time to make sure your guests will be seated somewhere they are comfortable will pay off when they are having a great time at your wedding!