So you have managed to make it through Part 1 in drafting your guest list – congratulations! Now you have the fun task of looking at where and with whom your guests will be seated.
There are three options for sit-down receptions:
- Assigned Table & Assigned Seat
The most ordered of all options, is to assign guests to a particular table and a particular seat. This can be good if there are a few family politics or conflict between friends so as to avoid confrontations. It is also a good idea if your guests are each only acquainted with a couple of others which allows them to comfortably be seated with people they know. Place cards are a must here.
- Assigned Table & Choose Your Own Seat
This option allows guests the freedom to sit next to who they want on a particular table whilst maintaining some sense of order. It works well with people who know each other, yet still allows for separation of guests that are better not seated too close together. Individual place cards are not required for this seating style, but you will need to name or number the table accordingly.
- Choose Your Own Table & Seat
The most informal style chosen for two main reasons – either you want your guests to mingle and meet new people, or trying to seat so many guests with differences is proving impossible. This option needs to be communicated clearly so guests know they can sit wherever they please. It is wise to reserve seats for special people such as immediate family so they don’t end up at the back of the room.
Whether you are having round, square, or long tables, traditionally the closer guests are seated to the bridal table indicates the level of their importance to the couple. As much as we would like to think that everyone is equally important at a reception, it is realistic to expect that immediate family will take prime position.
Your friends may be more understanding of being seated further away if you highlight the benefits to them (E.g. we seated you closest to the dance floor or the bar). Consider ease of access for disabled guests or proximity to the bathrooms for pregnant ladies. You may wish for children/babies to be seated at the outskirts so there is room for prams or a quick escape if the little one becomes unsettled.
Traditionally the bride and groom sit at a long bridal table. More recently, newlyweds have the option to be seated at a round bridal table, a u-shaped table, or even rotating through different tables for different courses. Consider the location of the bridal table when choosing your venue and your wedding seating arrangements.
Ultimately, the comfort of your guests contributes to their enjoyment of your day, so the effort you go to in planning how your guests will be seated will be appreciated (even if you don’t get thanked firsthand!).
Images by Vellum Studios
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