If you are expecting 75 guests or more at the reception and if it’s a seated meal, then it is good to make sure that everyone has a specific place where they can sit. Most people like it if they know that you took the time to decide where and with whom they should sit with. A seating arrangement also helps the catering service know in advance how many vegetarian, beef, and chicken dishes go to which table. There are many advantages of deciding the seating in advance. This is one of the last planning you have to do before the ceremony.
Some couples prepare the seating chart at the last moment. I believe this is a big mistake. There will surely more important things to look at – at the last moment. Make last minute changes if you must, but you should at least have the draft chart ready in advance, at least 5-7 days before the event.
Break It Down
Prepare a new spreadsheet. Include a column into the guest list doc where you must categorize the invitees by relationship like family, friends, the family and friends of your partner, your family friends, the family friends of your partner, colleagues, neighbors, and so on. This is an easy way of sorting the list efficiently. Once done, create different tables for each list.
Arranging The Tables
Traditional head tables are straight and long, not round. They are usually placed along walls and face the other reception tables. The newlyweds usually sit in the middle, best man will sit beside the bride, and the maid of honor sits next to the groom. But you can also set it up differently if you like. The bridesmaids for example, can sit beside you, and the groomsmen beside him. If you don’t want the others to feel isolated or if you want to involve everyone, then why not sit around a few round tables, and have a separate sweetheart table where the two of you will sit? There is another option – you two can sit with your respective parents in one table, and the wedding party in others.
Placing The Parents
Traditionally, the parents sit at the same table along with the siblings, grandparents, and the officiant with their spouse. However, if your partner’s or your parents are divorced, then you can have the set of parents sit with their friends or close family. In this set up, there can be as many as 4 parent tables. Parent seating can always be flexible. You can set it up in the way you want.
Time For Reunions
The wedding and reception is a great time for reunions because all your friends, high school pals and college buddies will come together. Allow them to sit in one table. Of course, there will be different groups. So you need different tables for each group.