Where to seat? How to make a wedding seating chart!
- Check on the floor plan
- Consider table shapes
- Calculate how many tables
- Strategically place friends and guests
- Create a “per-table” breakdown
- Consider a sweetheart table
- Think about the kids
- No singles tables
- Make a large seating chart
- Map it out
Yay! You are so close to the wedding day now! Time to plan the seating arrangements! Feeling Excited? Anxious? You’re probably waiting on some RSVPs to arrive even though you’ve set the date was sooner than it’s supposed to be? Lol. We get you. And it can get pretty annoying. But with all our crazy days and busy lifestyle, things are bound to happen!
DOWNLOAD THE ULTIMATE WEDDING SEATING SPREADSHEET BELOW! (keep reading..)
Now, are you ready to ask the dreaded question: Shouldn’t guests sit wherever they want?
Short Answer (and most likely!): NO (not a good idea!)
BUT WHY NOT? You ask. Mainly because you want all the seats accounted for, this will help your caterer place the right food where they should be. This will also help you group your guests that are supposed to be together. This will also allow you to separate people who are not supposed to be seated together in the same token. Lol. Fair right? It’s your wedding, after all. Crowd and guest control will help your day flow better.
We’ve rounded TOP 11 tips to help you navigate around seating your guests!
1. Check on the floor plan
Getting the detailed floor plan from the wedding venue with all details like venue dimensions, restroom location, and proposed layout of arrangement would be a good starting point for planning the seating and table assignment.
Your venue will also usually provide you with table placement so you can work around it.
Think of putting the kids beside the doors, so when they cry, the parents can take them out of the hall as needed – easier and faster. If there are elderly, you can seat them beside the door or/and washroom as well.
Just knowing where things are, will help you navigate around seating better.
2. Consider table shapes
Table shapes can change the whole layout of the room. It can also creatively open up the room if you need more space. You can do this by doing long banquet gallery tables for the younger group and having the elderly and kids at a round table.
Speak to a wedding designer consultant about your needs, and they will be able to provide you with design and layout options on how you can maximize your space and work around your preference/needs.
There are no right or wrong options in the shape selection of tables, and all have their own advantages. Work with a designer and unlock layout potentials that you would’ve otherwise not considered.
3. Calculate how many tables
The starting point of making a wedding seating chart is to calculate the number of confirmed guests depending on the guests. The total number of tables that can be fitted in and how many people can be seated comfortably on each table you are selecting.
There are different types of table sizes and shapes. Again, work with a wedding designer to give you advice on what’s best.
For example, a chair that needs a high chair might also need a space for a stroller. They can’t be seated beside each other too close as they need the space to pick up and put the kid in the high chair.
Another example is that there might be accommodations needed for some guests, and they will need extra space to travel from the door to their seat, which means they have to have a clear path so that guests won’t have to stand up and move each time to give way.
These things will play a major part in calculating how many tables you’ll need.
4. Strategically place friends and guests
Let’s be honest. As much as a wedding is a sentimental event, it is also a big day to party with friends and family.
Strategically seating them to hype the party while also not making other guests feel out of place will be a great way to get everyone started to party.
Seating the best party peeps beside the dance floor will make it easier for them to jump on and get other guests energized and influenced to get up and dance!
You can group your guests, so they feel connected. You can group high school friends, college friends, work friends, and the like. This will make them feel comfortable and not out of place. When they are around people they know, they will more likely loosen up and have a blast at your wedding. Again, we need happy and fun people at your wedding. It’s a big party, after all!
5. Create a “per-table” breakdown
We’ve created THE ULTIMATE WEDDING SEATING SPREADSHEET BELOW for you to help you on how to make a wedding seating chart! Complete with their choice of the menu! Now you get a summary of each table, so it will be easier for you to move people around if need be!
To add to that, we also included a drop down of menu choice + doneness and adult/kids. This way, you, your venue coordinator, and your caterer can clearly follow through and set-up accordingly.
For you, you can see exactly how many dietary restrictions are needed per table and might help you with grouping people together.
6. Consider a sweetheart table
We love a good long head table. But there is also something about a sweetheart table that makes all your guests admire the newlywed. Not to mention that this also give your photographer a lot of angles to capture the two of you at your wedding!
You can still assign a bridal party table where they can all be seated together. Seat them close to you as they will be your DIRECT HYPE AND PARTY PEOPLE!
7. Think about the kids
If you have OKd having kids at your wedding (that’s really nice and brave of you!), you will have to give them extra consideration when figuring out how to make a wedding seating chart.
You have options to seat them at a different table. But you have to think about the age group. NOT ALL KIDS ARE THE SAME AGE. Seating a 5-year-old beside a 10-year-old does not *usually* work. They both have different ways to enjoy themselves, and also they have different interests/activities.
The best thing is to speak to the parent; they will know what their kid will be comfortable in. If the kid/s prefer to sit beside their parent, you can have extra activities ready for them (based on their age) on the table, like coloring or activity books.
Most parents that go to events with their kids are pretty much prepared. They probably have tons of activities packed and have already downloaded lots of kids’ shows on their tablets.
What you can offer, however, are kids’ meals; nuggets, cheese burgers, fries, etc. These things are nice to add on and will keep them fed through the night. The parents do not need to worry about cutting the steak into small pieces for the kids to eat! Lol.
8. No singles tables
Depending on your group of friends, this might not always be a great idea. This can get awkward real quick. If you want to really pair up people, let your friend/s know about it and have them introduce them accordingly. That a much better way to break the ice than actually having a singles table. Unless you really want a ‘The Bachelor/Bachelorette’ vibe on that table. Lol.
9. Make a large seating chart
Making a seating chart is essential to make the whole event. There are websites like All Seated and apps like Table Planner, and for the spreadsheet, enthusiasts download our spreadsheet above! These simple drag and drop / detailed spreadsheet tools make life much easier for you to play around with seating arrangements – and of course, to finalize them.
You can only assign tables to guests, and they can choose their seats if that’s the vibe you are going for. But again, making a seating chart for your wedding is to consider the guests before making this decision. Pro and Cons: when everyone knows each other on that table, might be ok without assigned seating or place cards, but if you’re mixing groups, it might be better to have assigned seating so they can skip the awkwardness of asking if someone is sitting on that spot because there’s so place cards.
When guests walk in, they look for their name, and this is an initial experience. When they find their name easily, it makes them happier!
We always suggest to our clients how to make a wedding seating assignment and chart is to alphabetize. While it is great to have cute place/name cards, depending on your number of guests and age group, having a large seating chart for display in alphabetical order will help. You can still have cute small favors and use them as place/name cards, but having a BIG reference that is EASILY VISIBLE will better move the crowd along.
Remember that the flow is important, and you don’t want to have a large line up of the crowd trying to wait while others look from their names on the place/name card table.
11. Map it out
It will be a great addition to the alphabetized seating chart to have a table guide similar to the one below.
This will be most helpful if you have more than 10 tables. This way, when your guests walk into the room, they know exactly where they are headed. Again, getting that flow going and the crowd controlled.
You can have this printed together with the alphabetized seating chart and put it on an easel, or if you printed it on your own, you could place it framed on top of a high top! If you are printing smaller versions, print 2 of each and put 2 high tops (cruisers) on each side of the door to avoid crowding.
There you are! Top tips on how to make a wedding seating chart!