Having a seating chart is standard for most modern weddings. You’ve put so much time and planning into your Big Day, why risk the confusion that comes with the seat-yourself approach? An upside to devising a great seating arrangement strategy is that guest will always remember the great time they had at your wedding. The old crew was back together again at table 8 and Aunt Suzy was across the room and out of eyesight of her ex-husband, Uncle John. Everybody is happy, and you can enjoy your magical day because all is well with your seating chart.
The downside to this task is there’s a lot of work that goes into the planning. The effort of considering each guest and their specific needs (and wants) can be time-consuming and tougher to configure that you may think.
Another fun fact about seating charts: it’s the one task you usually can’t delegate to your wedding planner or bridesmaids.
But, have no fear. We’ve got you covered. Here are few of the tips that have helped our Blush Brides in this area. Hopefully, this advice will help smooth this tedious process for you, make your guest happy, and give you the peace of mind you deserve.
Start the planning early Start working on the seating chart as soon as responses come in—usually within three to four weeks before the wedding. Yet, plan for late RSVPs and last-minute adjustments. Shoot to have your chart completed roughly five days before the wedding.
Get organized with a spreadsheet. Pull out the computer and start to categorize guests. Creating a master list can help when building smaller lists, i.e., bridal shower invites, out-of-town guests for welcome baskets, etc.
Creating a spreadsheet also allows an opportunity to group your guests into categories. I recommend two groups: the first will be your absolute must-invites, such as family and close friends and the second group should be all the remaining guests. If the time comes when you need to reduce the number of invites, start with the people on the second list. Ask yourself a few questions: When was the last time you saw this person? Would having them there really make or break your day? Based on your answers, you should be able to reduce your list.
Consider comfortability when arranging tables. Make sure to set people at tables where they can enjoy themselves and are most comfortable. Arranging tables with comfortability in mind will take a little time, but will make the event much more enjoyable for guests. When preparing seating assignments, I advise brides to consider things like the left-handed guest who may bump into a righty throughout dinner. The lefty would be best suited for a long family table instead of a round one. That may sound extreme – but your guests will appreciate the extra effort.
Hang on to your original response cards. When your guests return their RSVP cards, make sure to keep them as a point of reference. As a planner, I like to have copies of the response cards on hand. You would be surprised to know how many guests forget if they selected fish or chicken for their entrée.
Don’t for the fun factor. Weddings are usually mini-reunions for high school and college friends. Chances are these groups haven’t connected in years, and your wedding presents the opportunity to reconnect. Make sure to seat members of the group at the same table. They will be psyched to catch up during the reception.
Planning a wedding is hard work, but worth the effort. If planned properly, you will have a smooth day with great memories to last a lifetime.
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