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
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 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!
After laying out all your tables and chairs, its time to seat your guests!
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!
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.
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.
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.
Another alternative is to have a long bride and groom table with your entire bridal party!
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.
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.
This would be much easier for guests to find their names once they know what table number they are seated at.
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.