Preparing and working with a seating chart for your upcoming wedding reception is an excellent way to save you tons of unnecessary drama. By taking adequate time to plan, you will seat the right people together so that your reception is a joyous occasion! The most important thing is that when you send out the wedding invitations, make sure you send out RSVPs. This way, you will know exactly which guests you are working with, which will help make the best choices.
Typically, the tables that you will use for your recetion will be round or rectangular shaped, with most of these tables seating from six to eight people. However, if the rectangular tables are long or placed together, you could easily have as many as 20 people at one table. To get started in the creation of the seating chart, find a place where you can lay things out and work. In most cases, a large dining room table, the living room floor, or even your local library would be ideal workstations.
Start with a large piece of poster board where you will create a rough outline of the room being used. Draw the tables, which would include shape and location, along with the wedding party table, the DJ station, cake table, buffet tables, and so on. The goal is to have a true vision of the reception hall. Next, buy some Post-It notes in a variety of colors to represent the brides family, grooms family, and then friends, each with a different color. If you plan to seat male/female alternatively, then you could use two additional colors to represent male/female.
In one corner of the poster board, draw a square to coordinate with the Post-It color and label it so you know at all times the representation. After the colors are identified, write your guests names on the coordinating color and then keep all of one color together. If you have a married man and woman, then keep those notes together. Once this is done, you can now start creating the seating chart.
In most cases, the tables located the closest to the wedding party table will be reserved for immediate family members. You would choose the appropriate number of tables depending on how many family members you have. If there were no divorced parents, then you would probably have two tables, one of the brides side and one for the grooms side. However, if there were divorced parents, then you would set up additional tables.
Just keep in mind that couples that are divorced should not be made to sit at the same table, unless the relationship is completely amicable. If not, what happens is that the couples are very uncomfortable and sometimes embarrassed. Unfortunately, this can lead to an ugly situation for you, which you do not want.
By tradition, the brides family would be offered the best table. From there, you would start with the mother and father of the bride, seating them to face the wedding table. Next, the grandparents would be seated, then the minister, and if the table were large enough, the siblings and their significant others. If the brides parents were divorced, then you would have two tables so each parent could host their own table. The remaining people at the table would be split so the grandparents of each parent are at the table along with some of the siblings and significant others. Next, you would organize the grooms family table, just as you did the table for the brides family. Then just off from these two tables, you would set up another table or two to include aunts and uncles, cousins, additional siblings, and very close friends.
If there will be children at the wedding reception, you have two options you can have them sit with their parents or create a childrens table special for them. If the children are older, such as teenagers, then you could organize a table just for them. For the friends, you would now arrange your Post-It notes into groups, seating them as best you can, based on age and common interests.
Finally, if the DJ, emcee, or other such people are not seated at the wedding table or one of the family tables, they can be seated at a table near the front but off to the side. As a courtesy, make sure you do not seat the elderly or disabled individuals that would have a difficult time moving too close to the DJ or speakers. Additionally, to ensure the elderly can hear toasts offered to the bride and groom, you should seat them close to the wedding table or make sure you use microphones.