Seating Tips For Engagement Party and Wedding Reception Planning For Brides and Grooms

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Planning wedding reception seating tips. Assigned sitting at your wedding is not mandatory. However, most brides and grooms prefer it, but are clueless about all the details they need to consider. If you are looking for the details you will need to know for preparing your Reception such as deciding who will sit where, arranging your Seating chart and informing your guests, this article is for you. Keep reading!

Most brides and grooms prefer assigned seating because:

  • Guests prefer to be told where to sit rather than search for seats to occupy because it is less stressful,
  • Having assigned seats is more efficient and will eliminate possible confusion at the reception.
  • Seating tables with people who know each other will make them comfortable. However, it will not do much to encourage mingling.
  • Be sure to assign at least a few people who are familiar per table because a table where no one knows anyone else might be a bit intimidating for most people!
  • Unless guests seated at a table are related, assign guests by approximate ages and interests as common denominators, so that they will be likely to get along and have fun!
  • Though you may place singles that you think will enjoy each other at the same table, seat them with couples or groups. Avoid SINGLES ONLY tables.
  • The tables closest to the Bride and Groom should be reserved for the closest friends and family.
  • If you are planning a theme wedding, give each table a name relating to that theme or a designated color. Though table numbers work well, names or colors will remove the perceived hierarchy of tables.
  • Once decided, create a large name card to be placed in the center of for each table, so that guests can easily find the table they were assigned to.
  • If you are assigning guests to specific seats at their respective tables, provide them with name place cards.

Start creating your seating chart as soon as possible. You may need to modify it when the wedding invitation RSVPs start coming in. Always allow for a few extra places because you may possibly have to make last minute changes if guests do not arrive or if a guest brings a guest of his or her own.

Before you begin preparing your Reception Seating Chart, you will need to know:

  • The size and layout of the hall
  • The maximum number of tables that can be placed allowing for band and dance space
  • Where the Head Table, the Table of Honor, the Cake Table, the Gift Table, a Memory Table if you plan to have one, the dance floor and other components will be placed. Include them on your floor plan chart.
  • If you will have a buffet, find out the number and sizes of the buffet tables and where they will be positioned.
  • If you will have a bar, find out where it will be positioned.
  • The shape and sizes of the tables
  • The number of guests
  • How many guests per table (round is usually 8 sometimes 10)
  • How many will sit at the bridal table
  • The number of children if you plan to have a children’s table
  • The table arrangement specifications of your venue
  • A simple – written chart is sufficient.

Arranging Your Seating Chart

First Step

  • Decide whether you want to pre-arrange:
  • Only the seating arrangement for the wedding party head table and the table(s) of honor.
  • Also a table assignment where each wedding guest is assigned to a specific table but selects the seat.
  • Or actual seat assignment where each guest is assigned to not only the table but the specific seat at that table.

Second Step

  • Make a list of all your guests including your families and wedding attendants. Remember to list yourselves too.
  • Use the size of your Bridal table to determine how many people will occupy it.
  • Use the size of each Guest table to determine how many people will occupy it.
  • Determine how many tables you’ll need by dividing the number of guests by the number of people at each table.
  • Draw your chart using the above information.

Third Step

  • Assign seats to guests who you feel will enjoy the company of each other, thus have a good time at your wedding.
  • Make sure that couples will sit together.
  • Divide your guest list as follows, into the number of people per table:
  • People who will share the bridal table.
  • Family of the bride
  • Family of the groom
  • People who work together with bride and their spouses
  • People who work together with groom and their spouses
  • School friends of the bride and their spouses
  • School friends of the groom and their spouses
  • Guests invited by the parents of the bride
  • Guests invited by the parents of the groom
  • Guests with similar interests such as sports, associations, lines of work, leisure activities etc. and their spouses.

Fourth Step

  • Make a chart that shows the shape(s) and number of tables at your reception.
  • Name or number each table for easy reference.
  • Find the guests with the closest common denominator and seat them together.
  • Seat guests who you know do not get along at separate tables apart from each other.
  • On each table on your chart, place the cut out names, or the name labels you prepared for each guest according to the way you grouped them. This step is not your final draft. Do not write the names or stick the labels yet, as you may need to adjust or make changes.

The Bridal Table

The traditional bridal table is a long rectangle. The traditional order of seating is as follows:

  • The bride and groom sit in the middle.
  • The maid of honor sits next to the groom.
  • The best man sits next to the bride.
  • The bridesmaids and groomsmen sit at alternating seats to the end of the table.
  • The parents have a special table that includes the officiant and his or her spouse. You may also include siblings who are not in the wedding party.
  • If any or both sets of parents are divorced, and should not be seated next to each other, let them either sit at each end of the bridal table or have each head up a guest table, to which you assign their families and friends.

What to do after the chart is completed and confirmed

Create escort cards indicating the table name or number each guest is assigned to.

  • Prior to the guest arrival at the reception, place the cards in alphabetical order of the last names on a table at the entrance to the hall, where guests can see it as they arrive. You may assign an attendant to direct guests to the escort card table.
  • If you assign a specific seat to each guest, have place cards with the guest’s name displayed on the table, in front of his – her designated seat assignment.*
  • f your guests chose a main course selection, these place cards will help the catering service staff provide each guest with his – her menu selection.
  • If your wedding reception is held outdoors be sure to weight the cards, place them in card holders or protect them from wind. Just one gust of wind and your guests may never find their seats.
  • If your wedding reception is held outdoors be sure to place the cards in card holders or protect them from wind.

* To save money, choose card holder that will serve as favors such as mini picture frames, card stands, candy boxes, etc.

Creating your Seating Chart

  • Purchase a poster board.
  • For a keepsake, use decorative color ink for charting and text.
  • On the center top, write your first names and wedding date as per Sample.
  • Draw a rectangle large enough to write the names of your Bridal Table Guests.
  • Draw a circle large enough to write the table’s name or number and names of your Guests assigned to it, for each round table, in the exact position it will be placed at your wedding reception.
  • Write or print your wedding guest list leaving enough room around each name to cut it out, or print the names on small individual labels. Either will help you organize the tentative seating arrangements.
  • Be sure to invite your parents to contribute information about and help you assign appropriate seating for their guests.

HAVE FUN!

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