You’ve made it to one of the final tasks to do before your wedding day. You know the layout of your venue, the RSVPs are in, and now it’s time to tackle the seating chart. The seating chart for your wedding day can be a really powerful tool, and if well-thought out, it can make your guests’ experience at your wedding all the more memorable. Follow this guide on how to seat your guests, as well as how to decide on a seating chart or escort cards for your wedding day stationery.
Likely the most important step in this guide is the first one – don’t wait until the last minute to start working on your seating chart! This task may seem like an easy one, but it can often be more time consuming than you think. Be sure to set your RSVP deadline at least three – four weeks before the wedding so that you have enough time to get a head count for your seating chart, as well as for any of your vendors that need it, like a caterer. If you’re planning on using custom wedding day stationery, be sure to set your deadline early enough to account for the production and shipping of this stationery.
Keep a Guest List
As your RSVPs come in, keep track of who’ll be attending and who won’t in a spreadsheet. Once everybody has responded, categorize all the attendees by your relationship with them: your family, your partner’s family, your friends, your partner’s friends, and so on. Doing this will help you easily sort your guest list and break it up into better table groupings.
Once you’ve organized everyone by relationship, think about which people would click well with others. Your friends from high school and college may get along with each other, but your grandparents may not enjoy hearing all the stories your college friends have to tell. Keep in mind who would mesh well together when working on your seating arrangement.
Map Out Your Venue
Get a sheet of paper or use an online seating website to write down the layout of your venue (sometimes they provide this for you). How many tables will you be using? How many people are you going to put at each table? Will you and your partner be sitting at a sweetheart table, or will you be sitting with both of your parents? Will the bridal party have their own table? Once you’ve decided on this arrangement, write it all down so that you can begin to plan out the seating chart.
Seat Yourselves First
It is your wedding day, afterall. Regardless of whether you’ve decided on a traditional head table or a sweetheart table, you’ll want to put yourselves at the center of attention. Your table should be placed in a highly visible place in the venue, such as along a wall or on risers. Once you’ve figured out where you and your partner are going to sit, you can move on to the rest of the guests.
Seating the Wedding-Party
If you’ve decided on a sweetheart table, consider a few different options for where to seat your wedding-party. One option is to place all members of the wedding-party at one table, together. This option does have the drawback of separating those in your wedding-party from their partners or dates. To avoid this, consider placing your wedding-party members at a few different tables nearby you and your partner’s table.
If you’ve decided to have a traditional head table, then you’ll have to decide how you want your wedding-party to sit at this table. Traditionally, the bride and groom sit in the very middle, with the best man next to the bride and the maid of honor next to the groom, then alternating gender for the rest of the table. Of course, you could decide to have all the bridesmaids next to the bride and all the groomsmen next to the groom. The choice is up to you!
Seating the Parents
Traditionally, both your and your partner’s parents will share a table. If you’ve decided that you will not be sitting with your parents’, then the parents table can also include grandparents, siblings that are not in the wedding-party, and the officiant and their spouse.
Of course, families are not always so easily defined, especially if you or your spouse have divorced parents. In this case, one set of parents may prefer to sit separately from each other; if you both have divorced parents, there can be up to four separate parents’ tables, so plan accordingly. The most important thing to do if your family isn’t just two parents is to talk to them. Find out if your parents are comfortable sitting at the same table and make your decisions about the final seating arrangement based on their feelings.
Be cautious about any family drama or conflict between friends when you’re planning your seating chart. Is your friend’s ex attending your wedding? If yes, it would be wise not to seat them near each other. Are two of your Aunts fighting over something that happened at the last family function you attended? If yes, then seat them on two opposite sides of the room. Nobody wants to deal with any drama on your wedding day, so be sure to tame any tensions there may be among guests.
Think About the Children
Are there going to be a lot of kids at your wedding? If there are, you might want to think about having a separate kids’ table. Children will be much more entertained if they are around other kids their age, so think about separating them from the adults. Your younger cousins will thank you for giving them their own table to sit at, away from the older people in the family.
Provide Reunion Time
The most important thing about the seating chart is to seat people together that you know will mesh with each other. As we said before, your coworkers and your high school friends might not fit in together, so keep in mind your relationship with each of your guests and their relationships with others. Give old friends the chance to catch up with each other. Pair your coworkers up with people that they’ll know. Seat your family members with other family members. Overall, be sure that all of your guests will be comfortable sitting with the others at their table.
Seating Chart Versus Escort Cards
Now that you know exactly where every guest will be sitting, you can decide whether you’d prefer to use a single, seamless seating chart or individually printed escort cards (or both!). At Beechtree design, we can provide both custom seating charts and escort cards for your wedding day. Take a look at the wedding day stationery we offer on our website. Your custom wedding invitations help to convey your theme for the day, so using a seating chart or escort cards can help create a cohesive feeling for your guests, as well as guide them to their tables.
If you plan on using a larger seating assignment sign or chart, get creative with it so that it gives your guests a good impression when they arrive at your reception venue. Use a large, easy-to-read font so that all of your guests – young and old – can find their names on the list. Arrange the list in numerical order by table number, and consider having an additional sign or chart showing the layout of the venue. Be sure to check out the table number wedding day stationery on our website to be extra clear about which tables are for which guests.
If you decide to use escort cards, be sure to choose cards that fit in with your theme and colors. Individually print each guests’ name and table number on each card and arrange them alphabetically at the front of your venue. When each guest arrives, they’ll be able to find their name and table number and go right into your reception.
Your Guests Will Thank You
Overall, the most important thing to remember when designing your seating chart is to keep your guests comfortable. You want them to have a good time and remember the day fondly, so arrange them in a way that will maximize their comfort. And whether you decide on using a seating chart or escort cards or a combination of both, be sure to make them clear to avoid any confusion for guests.
Have questions about your choosing a seating chart or escort cards, or about ordering your custom wedding day stationery? Contact us at:
firstname.lastname@example.org or call/text: 848-207-4151