The words “wedding seating plan” can cause engaged couples to shutter in fear. The task of placing family members and friends at seats or tables without causing any discomfort or hurt feelings can be tough. But it doesn’t have to be! We found this method courtesy of Something Turquoise and it is pretty genius. Try it, along with these 8 other tips below, to make the seemingly daunting process of assigning table just a little bit easier.
1.) Find out table sizes and how many chairs will fit at each.
Here’s a helpful post about standard wedding table sizes that will help you start things off on the right foot. There a few additional tips to keep in mind, though. If your venue has or if you are renting large chairs with arm rests, fewer guests will fit at that table. If your meal features several courses, the place setting may take up more space, which means you won’t be able to squeeze in as many folks at each table. We suggest discussing the best scenario with your venue, caterer, and rental company!
2.) Get yourself a big piece of poster board, some markers, re-positionable page markers or small Post It notes, and your RSVP list.
Then follow Something Turquoises’s tutorial for creating a diagram of your reception space. Don’t forget to include things like the DJ table, band set up, cake table, etc.!
3.) Write each guest’s name on a page markers or Post It note before placing a single one at a table.
It’s just easier this way and it prevents you from getting carried away with assigning. Use your guest list to write each name one by one and put them aside until assigning time rolls around.
4.) Number the guest tables logically.
Your venue or caterer may have a preference on how this is done so be sure to ask first. Otherwise, start in the upper left corner and number the tables in a logical order, either from left to right or top to bottom. Do not number the tables arbitrarily – number 1 in upper left corner, then number 12 next to it, number 5 in the bottom right, etc. The catering staff needs to be able to find table numbers quickly and easily, so keep the pattern simple. Even if you plan on “naming” the tables later (after your favorite cities, song titles, etc.), use a number system too, just for the catering staff’s sake.
5.) Divide your guest list into subgroups.
Before placing any of the page markers, it might be helpful to determine who absolutely needs to sit with whom. You shouldn’t separate couples or families with children; these individuals should all sit at the same table. For example, assuming your parents are still married, they would obviously sit together. As would your grandparents, your aunt and uncle, your co-worker and her husband, your best friend from college, his wife, and their two children, etc. Group together the page markers for these individuals accordingly so you know to assign them to the same table.
6.) On the diagram of your reception space, find tables of honor and assign VIPs there.
Certain guests, such as your parents, your fiance’s parents, your grandparents, and sometimes even the officiant, are seated at what is called a table of honor or honor table. In order to make these guests feel extra special, these tables are usually closest to the head, sweetheart, or king’s table and the center of the room. Determine where these tables are on your diagram and assign your most VIP guests there. Fill in the remaining seats at the honor tables with the most appropriate guests, like your siblings, godparents, or anyone giving a speech. We recommend that you start with these VIP guests/honor tables first, and then work your way through the rest of your list.
7.) Pair the remaining subgroups together.
Use your “this person absolutely needs to sit with this person” list and begin to fill in the remaining tables. Pair your college friends and their significant others together. Your dad’s two brothers and their families could likely sit at the same table. Co-workers could fill out a table nicely, as would your cousins who haven’t seen each other in a decade. You get the idea. We suggest pairing up the subgroups first, forming complete or almost complete tables, and then going back and assigning them to a specific table on your diagram. The reason for this is that you’ll want to keep tip 8 in mind…
8.) Speakers are loud, and bars are fun.
Try to seat elderly guests or those with small children away from the DJ’s or band’s speakers. On the other hand, your friends will likely have no problem sitting close to the bar. Keep things like this in mind when making table assignments.