Here at Tara M. Events in New York City, we want to take away the stress of creating a seating chart with some helpful tips and reminders for our brides and grooms.
The time has come, the invitations have been sent out, the RSVP cards are flooding your mailbox, there are only a few weeks left until the happiest day of your life. But, you are overwhelmed with stress wondering “where does everyone sit?” Creating a seating chart is personal and no one knows your family and friend dynamics better than you, so unfortunately this is not a task you can hand off to a friend or wedding planner.
Are assigned seats mandatory?
This is your day, and you are allowed to organize it however you wish. If you are having a seated dinner it may be important to you to have assigned tables or seats, but if you are having a buffet style dinner or cocktail style celebration, opting for open seating is perfectly acceptable. Not assigning seats or tables allows your guests the freedom of choosing where and with whom to sit. However keep in mind that guests who are invited without a plus one or who come alone and don’t know many other guests, may feel confused or uncomfortable about where to sit. By creating a seating chart, everyone knows exactly where to go and who they are seated with. If you decide you do not want to assign seating the number one tip from our wedding planning team is to make sure that there is a place for older guests and grandparents to be seated comfortably. This way they can enjoy the wedding events without worrying about finding a seat when dinner is served.
Where do I start?
Start with you – after all this is your big day. Initially, start with where you want to be seated and who you want to be seated with. From there, work on the most important people in your life, start with where you want immediate family to be seated, and then your close friends. From there make it a point to seat couples with similar age groups or other interests with each other. Try to group at least 1 or 2 couples who know each other with new couples and guests. This helps create new and interesting groups other rather than seating guests who all know each other all at 1 table. Your guests will be making new friends and getting to know each other which is really what a wedding is all about – bringing people together.
Where does the couple sit?
If you want to sit with your parents and your family members maybe a head table close to the dance floor or stage is the best option. Perhaps you will spend a portion of the evening seated on the wedding stage if you are having a South Asian Wedding. Maybe you would like to sit surrounded by your bridal party and close friends, or you may opt for more private time together in which case a sweetheart table could be the best option. With a sweetheart table, you will be seated in the middle of the reception which creates an area for people to come to you and find you. By being seated with family and guests it allows you to continuously celebrate your special day with the most important people by your side.
Ask for Help
Your wedding planner will not know your guests like you do but your parents along with your close friends will know at least the majority of the guests, and who they are friends with. Don’t overwhelm yourself while making your seating chart, ask your family and closest friends for help. They would know if Aunt Linda would get along with your Cousin Sue or if those personalities need to be on the opposite ends of the ballroom.
Assigning Tables v.s. Assigning Seats
If you are assigning just tables all that are necessary is either a seating chart or board or escort (name) cards. A seating chart states the table number and a list of guests seated at each table, whereas name cards list each individual guests name and table number and are typically picked up by guests during cocktail hour. If you are assigning specific tables a seating chart can also be used so guests know which table to look for. But in addition to this, at the table, you need to include place cards that allow yours guest to know which seat is for them.
Mix and Match
Try not to create a “single’s only” table, or put one single at a table of only couples, or a table full of guests who already know each other. Create balance and assign tables or seats based on personalities and common interests for a fun wedding atmosphere. You could place people who are friends with each other together with old high school friends or coworkers. This will give your guests the opportunity to reconnect and also make new friends.
How Many People can Fit at a Table?
The shape and size of your table determines how many people can fit per table. If you are sticking with round tables a 72 inch round can fit comfortably between 10 to 12 people, a 60 inch round table can fit between 8 to 10 people. If you are opting for rectangular tables a 6 foot table fits between 6 and 8 people and an 8 foot table fits between 8 and 10 people. Using these numbers allows for enough space in between each guest for them to be comfortable all night and for décor and tableware such as centerpieces, candles, menus, chargers, favors and glassware.