How to Do a Wedding Seating Chart

Wedding Seating Chart

Assigned seating at an event is imperative for the comfort and enjoyment of your guests.  By having a designated table, your guest trusts that they are sitting with friends, people they know, or someone they should get along with.  Trying to make wedding seating chart, keeping everyone happy, and in groups that work for table sizes can easily be the most stressful part of wedding planning.  

Wedding Seating Chart

Resist the urge to start your wedding seating chart  too early, you should wait until after you have ALL of your RSVP’s to avoid having to work and rework your plan with every unexpected yes or no.  While the task can seem daunting here are a few tips to make it go smoothly. 

ONE: Do your Homework

Set yourself up for success with a detailed guest spreadsheet.  You will want to have the guest’s names as well as their meal choices and any special accommodations requests.  Your venue or caterer will most likely want to know how many of each meal at the table and what each person ordered, so having it in one place before you begin is helpful.  Check with your venue to see what table sizes are available and  if they have any requirements for how many guests are seated at each table.  Make sure you know exactly what you will need to provide to your venue before you start working on the seating chart to avoid extra work on your end.  If you know you have a larger group you want to sit together, ask about having a rectangular table available . Once you know how many tables you will need, the wedding venue will typically provide a physical diagram and table layout in a given  space.

TWO: Divide and Conquer

Rather than try to guess who your parents and in-laws’ friends should sit with, ask for help!  Divide those guests and ask your parents and in-laws to assign their guests to tables, chances are they will be happy to help.  Make sure to tell them how many guests you are trying to seat at each table.  Once you get their final seating arrangements, you may have some empty seats that you can fill in as needed 

THREE: Start with Groupings in your Wedding Seating Chart

Do you want your bridal party and their dates to all sit together?  If you have available seats at these tables, think about who may be best suited to fit in with them. Or, if you want only the wedding party at the tables, reference back to what tables your venue had available for you.  A round table may only be able to seat 12, but you can do rectangular tables for larger groups.  For the rest of your guests, try to categorize everyone into groups: high school friends, college friends, work colleagues etc.  Ideally, you will be able to keep everyone with at least one other person they know.  Resist the urge to create a ‘singles table’ and instead try to seat guests with those with similar interests and in the same age group.  If you have any guests who are solo and do not know anyone, be proactive and ask one of your friends at their table to introduce them to others.

Groupings in your Wedding Seating Chart

Having a lot of kids at the reception? Consider having a designated kid’s table.  Providing some age appropriate and non-messy activities for them is always a great idea!  Be sure to place the kids table near parents so that someone is available to keep an eye on them.

FOUR: Placement is Key

Not all tables are created equal.  Once you have everyone grouped into tables, it is time to place each table on the physical layout of your venue.  If you are opting for a sweetheart table, having your bridal party tables next to you is a common placement.  For your parents/grandparents and other important family, ask your venue which tables have the best view. If you have divorced parents who are not on the best terms, select 3-4 of the best tables so that no one feels left out.  If both sides are divorced, consider putting both the Mom’s on one side of the space and Dad’s on the other, that way you can avoid altercations or hurt feelings. At the Four Points by Sheraton Norwood, we reserve the best seats at the parent table for the parents or special guests.  Since parents are often part of the introductions, they will be seated after all the rest of their table.  The last thing you want is your parents having their backs to you for the evening. Placing older guests away from the DJ’s speakers, and anyone with mobility issues near an exit is a courtesy that will be greatly appreciated. Your group of college friends who will be at the bar or on the dance floor all night?  They will be fine a bit further from the center.

FIVE: Check, Double Check and Triple Check

Think you have everyone assigned to a table? Add in their table number to your master guest list, this should help ensure you have accounted for everyone.  Sort by table number, now make sure you do not have more than the allowed number of seats at the table.  We once had a wedding where 20 people were assigned to table 10 rather than 10 at table 10 and 10 at table 11.  It was an easy fix, but still caused quite a confusion!  Have another person (or two) look over your list and your table assignments, the more eyes the better. 

Wedding Seating Chart Check

Escort Cards or Seating Chart

Whether you prefer to do individual escort cards or a large seating chart, this is the way you tell your guests which table to head to.  You will want to provide your venue or caterer with a master guest list with table assignments so they can quickly address any issues that may arise. Escort cards and wedding seating chart should always be in alphabetical order by last name, to allow guests to find their name quickly.  Reference back to your list when producing these to ensure no one has been missed! Ask one of your most detail-oriented friends to double check your work.  We recommend that escort cards have the guest’s meal choices designated on the inside or back, this comes in handy as many guests forget what they ordered.  When planning for a large wedding seating chart that lists guests’ names and table seating, make sure you give yourself enough time to have it printed or written out.  Keep in mind that you will have to decide how to handle any last-minute changes that come in after the board has been completed.

Ready to dive into planning your wedding seating chart?  Follow these steps and you will be on your way to checking this last task off your to do list!