There actually is a “science” to it! Here are my top tips for Mastering your Wedding Seating Chart:
Yesterday, on Facebook, my sweet cousin, who is to be married in less than 30 days, posted this on her wall:
Girl, I have been there. If you are within 30 days of your wedding, you know this feeling all too well. There are a few real reasons to be stressed out at this point in the process, but your seating chart shouldn’t be one of them!
Here’s the scoop. Your seating chart can be relatively easy if you follow my guidelines. I’ll talk you through it.
1. Get your master list together.
This is a list of all your guests who are attending. It was super helpful to me at this point to get all the “no’s” off my list. So, do yourself a favor and create a new list. A simple word doc will do, with three colums: Last Name, First Name, Table Number. (Obviously, at this point the table number column will be blank.) Easy Peasy. I know a lot of blogs recommend the Paper-Plate/Post-it method, but that just looks like chaos to me. Too many little pieces of paper to be lost. No thank you!
2. Sort your Peeps into Groups.
Now, I’m a little old school, so I printed my master list, and went at it with a Sharpie, grouping our guests (as best we could) into 10’s. Now, some of your groups may be more than 10. Your “family” group may be a few groups of 10. It’s all good.
Are you thinking, how do I group people? Great question! Here are some examples:
- Family. Then create sub-groups. Group each side of the family separately for this one. You probably each have at least two sides, so four in total. We had five, because, step-family.
- Friends. Your sub-groups for this will be plentiful. We had many different friend groups – some sorted by geography (NYC, Philly, Los Angeles), some by interest (theatre nerds), and some by how we knew them (college friends, neighborhood friends, family friends).
- Kids. If you have enough kids of the same relative age group for a kids table, by all means, make it happen. Read more about having children at your wedding here.
3. Know your table sizes.
Each group of ten people equals one 72″ banquet table. If you know your venue uses 60″ round tables, you should only make groups of eight people each. Yes, it’s technically true that you can squeeze twelve people at a 72″ round table, but it’s not comfortable. Ditto for ten people at a 60″. Really try to avoid it.
4. Place your Groups at tables.
Once you’ve gotten this far, you are almost done! Take each of your groups and give them a table! It’s pretty rare these days to also assign specific seats at the table, so I won’t go in to all that. Just think of how lucky you are that you don’t have to do that as well! Right? You are the luckiest bride!
Here are some awesome guidelines for where to place your peeps within the room:
- Seat your wedding party closest to you, if you can. Especially those who will be giving toasts. But not at a dais table, because it’s not 1978. Let them sit with their peeps, but keep them close.
- Seat your elders at the farthest point from the DJ/Band. Even if they love music, I can assure you they do not love it more than conversation. And more than likely, they are not going to love your music selections. Do them a favor and get them out of the line of the amp.
- Seat your peeps that are most likely to tear up the dance floor closest to the dance floor. Why? Because shy people don’t want to be the only ones up there. Let your naturally gregarious friends and family lead the way to a rockin’ dance floor. Don’t put anything in their way of having a good time!
- If you are having a kids table, seat them in the farthest corner away from the exit. This way, if they try to run out of the room, there are many people to catch them in between their table and the exit.
- Also, sandwich your kids table between two tables of adults, preferably family that know the children. This way everyone can keep an eye on them, and still enjoy their dinner.
- Any pregnant ladies attending? Try to seat them near a restroom. Or the exit. They will most likely be up and down to the restroom more than most. Be nice to them.
- Check in with family members for any potential “rifts”. This is a real thing. Check with your parents before you finalize the seating chart. They may catch a family snafu that you didn’t. My Dad did, and that’s all I will say about that.
5. Update your spreadsheet.
Go back to your new spreadsheet, and fill in that final column. Make sure your math is correct. Double and triple check it. Then, put it away for 24 hours. Then, come back and check it again. You should make two lists. One sorted by last name, and one sorted by table number. Your day of coordinator will give you a big wet kiss for that, I promise.
Now, you are ready to make your escort cards!
YOU DID IT! Your seating chart is DONE!
In case you are curious, here is what our seating chart looked like:
Please note: Theatre Nerds is a term of endearment. Seriously. The “names” of the tables were just for my reference, they were not the names of the tables, just FYI.
I made this using the floor chart provided by my venue, and the program, Pixlr. So easy.
Lastly, Remember: There is no need to stress out about your seating chart. Assigning your guests to a table is a way to make them feel welcomed and taken care of. It’s a home base – a place to leave your purse and your drink, and a seat for dinner. They are not chained to their chairs, and they won’t be there all night. If they don’t care for their seat, it will hopefully encourage them to be social and mingle. Do the best you can for your guests, and then let it go. Seriously. It will all be excellent. I promise.
So, aside from my cousin Steph, is anyone else having all the feelings about their seating chart? Let’s talk about it, peeps!