Reception Seating Guide
Unless you’re having a very small, intimate wedding or don’t plan on having a sit-down dinner, you’ll want to organize a seating chart for your reception. While it can be a time-consuming and tedious job, mapping out the seating arrangements for your guests can help maximize the fun, minimize the tension, and make the night easier for everyone. Since creating a seating chart is no small task, we recommend these helpful tips:
1. Plan Ahead: Seating all of your wedding guests in an organized and sensible manner takes time. Don’t wait until the day before your wedding to try to map out the seating chart. Instead, begin plotting tables as early as possible. Begin assigning seats for guests that you absolutely know will be in attendance and then add others as they RSVP. It’s much less stressful to make a few small changes in the days before your wedding than to create an entire seating chart from scratch. Plus if you plan to make or order place cards, you need to get started early.
2. Create Categories: On your wedding invite list, organize your guests by their relation (i.e. bride’s family, groom’s coworkers, bride’s college friends, groom’s childhood pals). That way, when you begin plotting seating assignments, you can easily group people together that already know one another.
3. Draw It Out: Sometimes it’s helpful to draw a diagram of the reception site so that you can physically see where people will be in relation to the head table and one another. Draw circles or squares to represent each table and chair and start penciling people in. That way you can be sure to seat all of your college friends at neighboring tables instead of accidentally seating them across the room from one another, making it impossible for them to visit and catch up. Click here for seating chart software
4. Avoid Drama: It’s not only important to think about which groups of people should be together, you need to think about who should stay apart. Inviting a divorced couple? The participants in that disastrous blind date you arranged? Two crazy relatives who never see eye to eye? Keep a healthy distance between guests that are likely to cause drama or tension by seating them at far-off tables.
5. Be a Matchmaker: Inevitably, there are going to be some tables at your reception where you have to place guests who are strangers to one another. Use these opportunities to connect like-minded individuals who might really hit it off (romantically or otherwise). A great way to ensure that all of your wedding guests enjoy themselves is by seating them with others who they’ll find interesting and fun.
There’s some really great advice here.
As you say, definitely plan ahead – you really can’t leave your seating plan until the day before the wedding! Start as early as you can, even before any RSVPs have come back.
I’m not sure trying to be a matchmaker is a good idea. If it works great, but if it doesn’t it might be painfully obvious and they may not thank you for it!