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What's Up Weddings

Creating a Seating Chart

Mar 15, 2012 11:05PM ● By Anonymous

Strategy is the invaluable talent of any great military leader; and since everything is fair in love, as well as war, it is time to strategize. Think of a reception-seating chart as strategic planning that will keep your guests from playing a painful game of musical chairs. You can have an unforgettable wedding reception by taking the time to plan a seating chart.

Start early. Set up a workspace wherever you feel most comfortable (and where your efforts won’t be disturbed) because a good seating chart takes time and there will be a number of revisions. Do not prepare the chart by yourself. This daunting task is best done with help. Enlist a reliable family member (or future one). They can offer a deeper knowledge of inter-family politics. In making a seating chart, know your options. Wedding-planning software is readily available and allows you to design and redesign the layout for your reception. Spreadsheets are a clean way to organize your guests. Or if you are a fan of tradition, go out and buy yourself a large poster board and Post-It notes in a variety of colors and color-code your guests. With these elements in hand, the next this is to have a clear picture of your reception area.

Ask your reception site for a copy of their floor plan and consider where you will sit. The aptly named bridal table is generally located in a prime, focal area of the room and can seat the entire bridal party or only part of it. For a more intimate table, consider a sweetheart table just for the two of you. Once you decide where you will sit, recognize that the tables closest to the wedding table are often reserved for family members. Tradition also dictates that the bride’s family be offered the best table. If one or both sets of parents are not so amicably divorced, consider having each parent host their own table to diffuse any volatile situations. Taking your family into consideration is always important. The same is true for your other guests.

When planning your chart know that individual tables will more than likely be round or rectangular in shape. Each will likely seat six, eight or 10 people. You will want a “balance” between new faces and old friends. This will enable people to meet and mingle with relative ease. An ideal table of six will have one to two married couples and two to four singles. From this group of six, include two to three people who already know each other. Consider seating guests according to their interests, but try not to have a singles table or seat a single at a table full of gushing married couples. Being single at a wedding is hard enough without having a Bridget Jones moment.

Simply put, a little sensitivity and solid common sense will be your best guides. Maintain your focus and remember that you want to make the evening comfortable for everyone. Ask for help, do the job to the best of your abilities, and once you are finished, let it go. Eat, drink and be merry on your wedding day.  

—Monserrat Urena