Planning out your seating chart is an art form. Brooke from Planning With Purpose suggests a glass of wine in hand always makes for a much more enjoyable experience! So, get yourself a glass (or make a nice pot of tea), get out your sketch pad, and take note of our top tips for how to nail your reception seating chart (without needing a degree in complex logistics!)…

Image: Damien Milan Photographer

What You Need

– A piece of blank paper (or even better – a whiteboard and marker!)
– A pencil and eraser
– Your venues floor plan with a sketch of how the tables will be set up
– Patience!

Image: Sarkodie Photography

Where are YOU sitting?

There are THREE options for couples when they are having a seated affair for their wedding:

1. The Sweetheart Table
A table just for the two of you. It’s cosy and intimate, and guarantees you actually get some good quality alone time with your newly wedded lover.

2. The Wedding Party Table
A table for the couple and their wedding party, and their wedding party’s partners (if you are feeling generous!).

3. Get In Amongst It!
There are no rules so if you want to sit with your families, your friends, or just right in the middle of the action, it’s your wedding – sit wherever you like!

Image via Planning With Purpose

Image by Olguin Photography 

The Special Viewing Areas

Regardless of which option you go for in step one, your VIPs at the wedding will want the best views in the house of the married couple, so place family members, your closest friends, and any other VIPs in a position where they have perfect views of you. Yes, you’ll probably have to endure many, many moments where you can see them taking photos of you, but they’ll love that they get to share in your moment (even if it is from afar).

Plan Out Your Dynamics

Keeping in mind “the special viewing areas”, we recommend next tackling the dynamics that you need to be mindful of. This can be ensuring couples, close friends and family, work colleagues, and friend groups all sit together. Sitting with people you know is always more fun! But it’s also a great time in the process to ensure that any delicate dynamics can be taken into account. This might be that two people need to sit on opposite sides of the room, or you need to ensure certain people can’t see one another. Whatever may be in play, this is the best time to mitigate any untoward feelings and ensure everyone has a wonderful time.

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Factor In Specific Guest’s Requirements

Of course, it is impossible to factor in every single person at your wedding, but taking into account any people who have particular requirements is a really nice gesture for your guests. We’ve included a couple of examples below:

Guests with kids: Place your guests with kids at the ends of long tables, or closer to the bathroom. This way, if kids get fussy, parents can make a quick exit or they can ensure the kids have plenty of play space near their tables so they can keep an eye on them. Or have a kid’s table and place their parents within earshot of the shenanigans.

Guests with different abilities: Consider guests who may need alternative access to the venue such as ramps, more room to move about or direct access to exits or bathrooms. Factor in wheelchairs or those who have walking devices when seating them – you may need to have a smaller amount of guests at this table to accommodate them.

Pregnant guests: Seat them closer to the bathrooms as generally, they’ll be the ones needing the loo a little more frequently. Also consider not placing them in the middle of the tables, making it potentially harder for them to get in and out of their seat.

Guests with dietary requirements: This is a little more for your caterer than your guests. Try and seat guests with dietary requirements within close proximity to one another as it makes getting those special meals out to them easier.

Older guests: Try to not place them too close to the band or DJ. We get a lot of older guests who ask to turn the music down or to be moved when they are placed too close to the music. Kudos to your Nan if she’s a rocker that loves a boogy, but I’m sure she doesn’t want to yell during dinner.

Image: Sarkodie Photography

Fill In The Gaps

Now, seat those who haven’t met yet that you know will get along together. Have a section with those who have met a couple of times and have mutual acquaintances, or play matchmaker and seat two single people next to each other. By now, you’ll be in the rhythm of things, so just go with your gut.

From here – it’s smooth sailing! Consider your seating plan sorted! Annnd, breathe, finish that glass of wine or tea – you deserve it!

About Planning With Purpose: We love the bold, the fun, the outrageous! Let our team of planners, coordinators, stylists, and florists help you to create something new, fresh and fabulous. It’s time to throw out the wedding planning rule book. – we want to see weddings that are a reflection of YOU.