Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Seating Charts for Dummies: How to Create a Wedding Reception Seating Chart

Think back to a time when you walked into a room, you didn’t recognize a face in the crowd, you had nowhere to sit, no one to talk to … you felt invisible. Right? Well if you haven’t ever been in that situation-lucky you. For those of you who have-you know it stinks.

You don’t want your wedding guests to feel that way, do you?

Well here is a little secret.

If you don’t have a seating chart … they will.

I can’t tell you how many weddings I’ve attended that didn’t have a seating chart. I realize it is a pain in the neck for most brides. I realize some guests might know a lot of people and want to mingle. I do. I get that.

But imagine your 86-year-old grandmother arriving at the reception and all of the seats near you are taken.

What if there are only individual seats left at each table and nowhere for your favorite cousin and her husband to sit together?

What if your friend who flew 400 miles to be at your wedding walks in and has to ask strangers if they’ll “please” let her sit with them?

That isn’t cool.

Classy brides know they need a seating chart and will bear that cross with a grin ... or at least, a martini.

Here are a few tips to help you easily make your wedding reception seating chart.

1. Start Early
I know people won’t RSVP early-or even on time-or even, at all … but there are some people you know will attend. Feel free to call close friends and family members early and confirm they are attending so you can get them on the charts. The same can be done with out-of-town guests.

2. Make an Outline
Well … sort of. Make a graph and pencil in where you will put your VIPs. VIPs include you and your groom, both sets of parents, grandparents, siblings and special relatives, and your wedding party.

3. Let Your Guests Help
Not sure if you should put children at special “children-only” tables or with their parents? Ask them. I knew many of the kids at my wedding would know each other well and would want to sit together. I also realized that my friends’ children might not be comfortable with new people and would prefer to sit with their parents. Ask your guests what they or they children prefer and seat them accordingly.

Along those same lines, assign people you know well to help manage tables. For example, when I got married, my husband’s first cousin from Italy flew to Texas for the event. I knew he would spend several pre-wedding days with other members of the bridal party and I also knew the priest would want to speak Italian with him. I asked some members of my bridal party if they minded sitting with the priest and cousin to make the evening go smoothly for everyone. They agreed and in fact, probably had more fun than any other table.

4. Assign Tables-Not Seats
If the idea is just to have a seat for everyone and to help your guests mingle a little, then assign tables-not seats. This is much easier for you to do.

You don’t have to worry about putting people next to each other and hoping they mesh and you don’t have to make individual place cards. Just create escort cards-a card that includes the person’s name and table number ... and voila! You are done. Visit American Greetings to create your own escort cards or check out Documents and Designs for inspiration.

For even more seating chart tips, read through The Perfect Table Plan site or go to Softlist.Net for free seating chart downloads.

Have you thought about your seating chart? Or even better … have you created it?

Photos courtesy of supermuch and kisokiso

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