You may be surprised to hear that growing up, I always heard that the seating chart was one of the most difficult and tedious parts about wedding planning. Did anyone else get that impression as well? For me, the seating chart was actually really easy! Maybe it was because our wedding was only 80 people and consisted mostly of family and close friends. But, nonetheless, there are still some things to think about when planning out your seating chart. Do you want your guests to know everyone at their table? Or encourage them to meet new people by putting them at a mixed table (some people they know and some they don’t know)? Do you want to decide their seat placements or just what table they’re seated at?
Here are some general pros of a seating chart (where guests are told which seat to sit in at their designated table):
- No one has to worry about trying to find a seat.
- If you’re serving a plated dinner, it will be easy for staff members to deliver meals to the correct people! It helps with the organization, having the correct number of seats, knowing where meals go, ordering for those with dietary restrictions, and more. This is an extremely important positive of having a seating chart!
- Groups and/or families will always be able to sit together – rather than a family of four getting to the reception only to find that there is only one chair available at four different tables.
- Without a seating chart, guests may move chairs and try to fit more than the allotted number of guests per table. This can be chaotic and confusing!
- You get to choose where people sit in relation to you. That means your immediate family is guaranteed to sit close to your head table.
- You can use your guests seating marker/placeholders as favors! Two-in-ones are the best for saving money!
- You’ll know exactly which guests didn’t show up and which guests didn’t take a favor.
- It’s a fun way to further incorporate your wedding theme! We had a travel themed wedding (if you haven’t seen the blog about our wedding, you can check it out here). We did a map seating chart and custom luggage tags for placeholders which everyone loved! For our New Zealand reception though, we had no seating chart and no placeholders (the favors were placed in a luggage container on a table) as it was a more casual wedding. We also had an open buffet! You can check out the blog about our New Zealand reception here.
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You can find tons of amazing seating chart templates on Etsy here! And if you’re looking for seating place cards, you can find some here. You can also out Amazon for some incredible options! Below is an example of what we did for our seating chart and placeholders at the tables.
Images by Susannah Lynn Photography
Here are some cons of having a seating chart:
- It can take a lot of time and effort.
- You need to design and pay for something to notify the guests of where to sit (you’ll actually need two forms of this – one as they walk in to tell them which table to sit at and one at their specified seat).
- People may be placed at a table they don’t want to be at or with guests they don’t want to sit with.
- Guests may feel like you purposefully placed them somewhere specific (if you’re numbering your tables, guests may think that the later table numbers or further away tables are the less favored guests/seats/tables).
All in all, there is no “right” way to do it and it completely depends on the look, feel, and food option that you are going for! If this blog helped you to learn something new or get inspiration and you want to follow us for more wedding tips, tricks, and ideas, head to our Facebook page and don’t forget to join our wedding shopping group here. We can’t wait to see you there!
Mary Taylor <3