Wedding Reception Seating Chart

Of all the list of wedding planning errands to do, the seating chart can be the most stressful and least fun to do. For our wedding, we had a pretty large wedding of 300 guests. Placing all 300 people into their specific spots was a nightmare! Just a week before the wedding, we got all of our guests’ rsvps confirmed and we started tackling our guest seating chart. With time not on our side, these are tools that I have used to make our lives slightly easier when planning our Wedding Reception Seating Chart

3 Types of Seating Arrangements

First up, there are a few kinds of wedding reception seating arrangements to do. The first is having everyone assigned to a specific seat. The second is having your guests assigned to a specific table and the third is open seating.

The first kind of seating arrangement is the most popular and also the most work. Having your guests assigned to a specific seat is great for plated dinner services as this makes it easier for your caterer to serve your guests. For instance, they would know that Guest number 29 is having a vegetarian meal while guest number 150 is having a seafood meal. It is also creates a better guest experience as guests wouldn’t need to be asking people they don’t know if a seat is available or end up having an unequal amount of people at one table.

My number one tip is to use Website platforms like The Knot and All Seated. These are easy platforms that really helps streamline your entire wedding planning process.

Start Early! Have a Wedding Website that converts your guest list to an excel sheet

My number one tip is to be organized from the minute you start inviting your guests. Have a digital RSVP platform that converts your RSVP into an excel sheet. I recommend using The Knot’s platform because it’s so user friendly.

On the Knot’s Platform, Click Guest List.

What I love about the platform is that your guests can RSVP as a household or as groups. This will help you when you are placing guests into tables. Generally, you would want to keep households and couples seated together.

Under Guest List, click “Export guest list” to get a downloadable excel sheet of everyone who has RSVP-ed!

Import your guest list to All Seated

On the top right under “Guests” click import. This will enable you to bring your guest list from your wedding website to All Seated.

Then start designing your reception space with the kind of tables you want to use! All Seated provides pre-designed tables of all shapes and sizes that you can import and customize to your event space.
Wedding Reception Seating Chart
This was our final seating chart for our wedding reception

After laying out all your tables and chairs, its time to seat your guests!

From the guest list that you’ve imported, you can drag and drop your guest name to each table!

Using all seated seriously saved us from growing unnecessary white hair and sighs of anxiety when designing our seating chart for our wedding reception. As a bonus, the platform is actually so fun to use!

These are some additional tips that I found really useful when designing our seating chart for our wedding reception:

Send Reminders and a deadline for your guests to RSVP

If you don’t want to be like me and my husband who were scrambling to decide on a seating chart 4 days before the wedding, set a deadline for your guests to RSVP. I recommend setting a deadline to RSVP at least 1 month before the wedding to give you plenty of time to decide on your seating arrangement.

Your dinner service affects how you design the layout of your seating chart

Are you doing a Plated Dinner? a Buffet Style dinner? or a Family Style Dinner?

Having everyone assigned to a specific seat is perfect to communicate to your caterers as well so that the waiter would be able to know what kind of meal your guest is having.

Decide on the kind of layout you would like

Round Tables and Rectangular tables are the most popular kind of layouts to go with. Very often, round tables are used when having a buffet style dinner and rectangular tables are used for plated dinners.

Get Measurements from your wedding venue

  • Ask for dimensions of the reception room from your venue
  • Ask for dimensions of the dance floor. This will allow you to gauge how much space you’re actually working with when placing your tables.
  • Ask for the dimension of the furniture available to use
  • Think about how many chairs can fit into a table comfortably
  • Think about how much space is needed in between tables to let your guests walk within the aisles comfortably
  • If you have children coming and will need a baby chair, ask the venue how many adults and children can fit into a table comfortably

Place your sweetheart table first, then place your bridal party and family on the table closest to you.

Another alternative is to have a long bride and groom table with your entire bridal party!

Think about relationships between guests.

Do you have any known history of family drama? Your wedding is definitely not the event where you want unnecessary drama to unleash. If aunt lucy does not get along well with uncle tom, have them seated on separate tables!

That being said, think about common interests that your different friend groups may have. If you don’t have a friend group large enough to fill a table, put certain guests with similar interests or in similar age groups so that they can get along well with each other through the night.

Use design elements to direct guests at the wedding reception:

Pack Guest name cards according to your table groups so the setup would be fast and efficient

This will make it much easier if you are handing this job to a wedding coordinator or if you have group of friends help place name cards at each table.

Purchase Table Numbers

This would be much easier for guests to find their names once they know what table number they are seated at.

Have an Escort card/Escort signage at the entrance

Have fun with this! I have seen so many amazing escort signs or displays. Most importantly, make sure that your text is clear and easy to read.

Related Articles:

How to plan your Seating Chart at your Wedding Reception

August 3, 2020

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  1. Kate Hansen says:

    It was helpful when you said to keep it organized the second you start inviting guests. My fiance and I are wanting to look into renting chairs for our wedding reception in a couple of months, and we want to make sure that we set up everything correctly. We’ll make sure to keep these tips in mind as we search for a place to rent chairs from!

    • Rebecca Ou says:

      Thank you so much Kate! Glad this article was useful to you! All the best with wedding planning and congratulations to you and your fiance !!!

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