I truly enjoy writing these Lady Luxe Blogs because a majority of them stem from firsthand experiences. Being a bride to be has allowed me to figure out the “how tos” of the wedding process and then simplify and share with you. As a bride, your nuptials are often your first debut in the wedding world. Everything seems overwhelming and new because it is! Just as you are nearing the final month of the planning process, you will find that you have to conquer yet another task that you know little to nothing about. The seating chart! For some of you, this may come easy, whereas others may be mystified. As someone who was more unsure than not, I will gladly break it down for you!
First, how many people are attending your wedding? For the sake of explanation, I am going to pretend you have 120 people coming. With 120 in attendance you will want to decide how many people will be seated at each table. Before you simply throw a number out there, examine your reception space. Based on the square footage of your venue, you may opt for more or less table—depending upon square footage. For example, if your reception room is approximately 5,000 square feet with 120 people, you may opt for tables of 8 to 10. This will allow the room to look full but not overcrowded.
Another important tidbit to keep in mind is that the more tables you have, the more floral arrangements you will need. It is important to make sure you are staying within your budget. The layout is yet another important factor to consider. Is there a giant statue in the middle of the room? Or, is the room an open layout? Factors such as these may change how many tables you want. Your final table number count should derive from your layout, square footage, and budget.
Once you have decided on the amount of guests at each table, you will ultimately want to decide the optimal seating arrangement. I found this task to be rather daunting at first and decided to start with our family. I Googled “best ways to seat family,” only to really find that the traditional method is to either to do a head table or to seat the parents, grandparents, and officiant together. In our case, our grandparents will not be in attendance and we do not have a close relationship with our officiant. So, I decided to write down both of our immediate families and see how we could best seat everyone. We decided early on that we would do tables of 10. Due to my fiancé’s family being larger, we were unable to fit immediate family all at one table. We decided instead to seat all of our brothers, sisters and significant others at one table, our aunts and uncles at another table, and our parents, god- parents and closest friends at their own table. There is no science in deciding how family should be seated; it is strictly preference and what works best.
Next, “Where do I seat the rest of my guests?” Rather than becoming overwhelmed by this task, do yourself a favor and start jotting down the names of people and friends you know would like to sit together. Simplify things by putting each set of parents in charge of grouping their guests as you take care of yours. Do your best to make as much sense as you can in grouping, but understand this will never be perfect. We’ve all attended one wedding or another where we haven’t known who we are sitting next to and guess what? That’s perfectly fine! Do your best to sit guests next to friends and family and to those whom you think they may get along with best.
Ok, so now you have your groups of people together but can’t decide exactly where they should be placed throughout the room. As rule of thumb, bridesmaids, groomsmen and family are typically closest to the bride and groom. Unless you are doing a head table, you will want to place them in the tables nearest you. If you have elderly guests attending, try to avoid seating them right next to the band or DJ. Also, seat guests in a way that will promote dancing. Lets face it, some people will be the life of the party and others not so much. Sit guests in a way that will encourage them to let loose and have fun!
I hope this helps you in your seating chart process. Understand this is an art, not a science! Consult friends and family who have also had to plan seating and ask them for their help. Best of luck!