The time has come, you need to do the Seating Plan for your Wedding, don’t panic! We are here to help! Follow this process step by step for a painless seating chart experience.

Should you assign seating at a wedding reception?

You might be wondering if a seating chart is even required. A good rule of thumb is, if there are over 50 guests or the reception features seated dining, a seating chart should definitely be used. A wedding without a Seating Plan, can cause a lot of confusion and can delay the start of the meal service. It will also ensure that people are seated beside people they know or have something in common with. Even if the wedding is smaller, a chart will make the event feel more organised. The venue staff will also use your seating chart to determine how many of each dish will go to a table, and ensure a fluid, smooth delivery of the main meal, giving you more time to dance and party!

Should you have Table Names or Numbers?

If you are using a Seating Plan, then yes you should have Table Names or Numbers to correspond with the Seating Plan. The Seating Plan will list the guests under each table, so once the guest finds their name under Table 4 for example, they know that they then have to go and find Table 4 and that is where they are sitting. Try to keep Table Names short. Some people like to use song names or movie titles, it is best to chose short ones so they aren’t easily forgotten, they also look better on the Seating Plan and can be made larger on the Table Names when printed.

Do you need place cards at a wedding?

Place cards are a lovely extra touch but a seating chart and table names will help coordinate everyone just fine. Assigning guests to tables – but not specific seats – is the norm these days and is totally fine. Once they get to the table they are allocated to they can chose whatever seat they want to sit at.

Where do you even start with deciding where people will sit?

A great way to help you decide to sit your guests is to write everyone name on a mini post-it note. Assign a colour to each group, whether its your family, friends, work colleagues etc. Then get a large sheet of paper, if you are having 10 tables, draw 10 circles on it. You can also use paper plates instead and just lay them out on a table. Pop your post it notes onto each circle and you can easily move them all around until you are happy with where you have them all allocated.

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Here are some other easy steps to create the perfect Seating Plan.

1. Consult your Co-ordinator.

Contact your wedding venue or co-ordinator and find out how many guests you can sit at each table. Some tables may vary. Also ask them how they plan to display your Seating Plan, do they have an easel and frame you can use (if so find out the dimensions) or do you need to supply your own.

2. Calculate the number of tables needed.

Look at the confirmed guest list, the number of tables that can fit in the space, and the number of people that can sit at each one.

3. The Top Table

The bridal couple should have first priority when it comes to seating. Most couples opt for a top table with their parents and Wedding Party. However this does not always work for all family dynamics. If parents are separated or remarried you can have a table for each parent where they sit with their own posse. It’s okay to have multiple parent tables on each side, and is not uncommon. If this is the case, the couple may decide to sit at a table with the Bridesmaids, Groomsmen or siblings. Wherever the couple sits, they should be near the center so no one has to strain to get a view.

4. Tactfully arrange guests into groups based on how they know the couple.

Do you know them from school? Work? Yoga class? Seating people with similar interests will give them something to talk about. Your guest list will be made up of friends from all different areas of your lives, so seat guests with people they’ll feel most comfortable with. If they do know each other or get along well, they’ll probably enjoy the experience of sharing a table. Either way, focus on who they’ll most likely want to sit with and go from there. It may be nice to mix groups of friends so they can get to know eachother but keep in mind that older guests may prefer to be seated with people their own age. Resist the temptation to play matchmaker – relationship status is not a good reason to seat people together.

5. Seat younger guests by the dance floor.

They’ll enjoy the loud music and the opportunity to bust a move. This also means that older guests might want to be farther away from the music, but still close enough that they can enjoy the fun, too.

6. Kid’s table.

You can either place kids together at a kids’ table or seat them with parents. If there is going to be more than 6 children at your wedding you should probably consider having a kid’s table. If so, try to place it in close proximity to all the parents so they can keep an eye on everything or have someone assigned to supervise. Very young children should be seated with parents even if there is a kids’ table in place. Give kids some fun things to play with like coloring books and stickers. You’ll also want to avoid putting them by the bar area… for obvious reasons.

7. Ask parents how to seat their friends or extended family.

They will probably have a preference for who they get seated near. Also you might not be aware of family fueds or fallings out so you need to be sure you don’t sit them beside the wrong person.

8. Do your best to make people happy.

Let’s be honest: wedding seating charts won’t please everyone. But as long as people’s feelings are considered, they’ll know effort was put in.

9. Seating Plan Design.

The seating chart is an extension of the wedding personality and part of the decor, so get creative! Many couples keep the ceremony part of their day quite formal and take the opportunity at the reception to have a bit of fun with a quirky Seating Plan design. It is a great opportunity to portray your hobbies or interests or to use a theme like sports or music. Let your imagination run wild!