How to Properly Arrange Wedding Seating Chart


Wedding planning is hectic, isn’t it? There is just so much to do and no matter how early you start, somehow there is always something that gets missed out or ignored from the wedding schedule. One such arrangement that takes forever to finish is wedding seating chart. Most couples find it very difficult to come up with a creative and functional set-up. This is mostly because you have to wait until getting the final list of guests who have RSVP’d for the event. But to save the day, we have some simple and practical tools to your rescue.

How to Properly Arrange Wedding Seating Chart

As a guest when you are attending a wedding, finding your seat seems pretty simple and to-the-point, but when you actually have to work on seating chart for wedding reception, you would realize it is both emotionally draining and dreadful. For example, you have to make sure that your conservative old-fashioned aunt is not on the same table as your liberal-thinking classmates. Or your most enthusiastic, fun-loving guests are not assigned a dark corner of the hall. So here are a few tips and etiquettes:

Go for Assigning Tables in Large Gatherings

For most parts, it is a good idea to not micro-manage everything. For example, instead of assigning seats to your guests, it is better if you just assign the tables. You can arrange your guest list in small groups of 6-8 members (depending on your seating arrangement) and make sure each group has members who get along well. This is because most wedding ceremonies are at least 90-180 minutes long and spending this time with someone who you hate, can be particularly painful (or boring at the least). But do not sweat too much if every group is not perfect.

With this table seating approach, you just need escort cards. To make things further simple, you can replace escort card with a big wedding seating chart or poster, with the list of guest names and their respective tables.


Go for Specific Seating in Intimate Gatherings

Although non-specific seating arrangement may seem more convenient, this approach may become challenging if you have multi-course meal options with several choices of entrée in each category. Some other scenarios where specific seating is a smart decision are:

  • If your wedding theme is more cocktail type (with guests freely moving and mingling at the venue).

  • If you are holding a rather intimate gathering with approximately 50 -60 guests.

If you are going with precise wedding seating chart, make sure to prepare the escort cards, as well as place cards (to be put on the table in front of the respective seat of the guest). For cocktail weddings, make sure to have enough seats for elderly guests.


Do You Need a Head Table or Sweetheart Table?

Most traditional weddings have “head table" arrangement, which involves a large rectangular table that offers seating arrangements for the intimate family members (of both groom and bride) along with the couple. Alternatively, you can also choose to allocate the head table for the wedding party members (bridesmaids, groomsmen and their significant others). If you don’t have a lot of space on the table, accommodating only maid of honor and best man with their partners will be sufficient too.

On the other hand, if you want to keep things cozy, you can opt for “sweetheart table” setting, which typically involves a small table for the bride and groom only, to enjoy their reception.


Some Helpful Rules and Tips for Arranging Seats

If you are confused and not sure about the seating preferences of the distant relatives and family members, do not hesitate to seek help from your mother and/or mother-in-law. Engaging family and friends in wedding preparations can help in decreasing the stress as well as workload.

  • Make sure to start the preparation of wedding seating chart by assigning your guests into several lists (such as family, friends from different races of life such as high school, college, colleagues, neighbors, friends of bridesmaid, etc. This allocation helps you in assigning tables.

  • It is a good idea to assign the tables closer to the dance floor to younger guests. Likewise, elderly guests will be more comfortable away from the dance floor.

  • Make sure to avoid putting old flings and couples together who had a history. It can become a pretty odd situation for all the guests sitting on the table. Also avoid putting your single friend with a bunch of married couples or vice versa.

  • If you have several kids at your wedding, you can have a separate kids table (which is convenient for kids as well as their parents). However, if you have just a few kids, it is preferable to have them seated with their parents.

  • Don’t hesitate if you want to play the matchmaker by sitting certain people together, such as your girlfriend from high school who you always think would be a perfect match for your buddy in college.


Final Touches to Your Wedding Seating Chart

Once you have the entire layout and plan in your mind, it will be a great idea to actually put it together. If you are tech-savvy, you would be happy to learn that there are quite a few software/ APPs (such as Wedding Wire) that can ease out the task for you. You can also use Microsoft Excel (quite fancy Ha!).

If you are old-school, try the poster and sticky note/ post-it approach. You can easily shuffle the post-its if you are not happy with a certain arrangement.

Below is a template of seating chart for wedding reception:

How Many People Can Typically Sit at a Table?

Generally, as a rule of thumb, a 60 -inch round table ideally allocates 8 people. This type of arrangement is both cozy and comfortable, allowing every individual to enjoy their fair share of freedom and elbow space. The least you can go is 6 people per table. If you go for less than 6, the arrangement may look too distant and aloof. The upper limit for a 60 -inch table is 10 people (although the table may look a bit busy after the dinner is served).

The rectangular tables used at wedding have a fair dimension of 6′ x 30″ and is typically sufficient for a group of 6 to 8 guests. If counting the end caps, two more seats can be added.

How Many Tables Can You Fit at Your Venue?

This depends on the size of venue as well as shape and arrangement of your tables. It is very important to leave some walking space for guests so they can get in and out without disturbing other guests. Experts recommend that a distance of 60″ between the tables is ideal. Also, the tables that are facing the wall must be kept at a distance of at least 30”.

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