Happy Tuesday Folks!
The task of planning your seating arrangements can be both daunting and time-consuming. Unfortunately, it is one of those jobs that no one can do for you and that you can’t actually attack until all your RSVP’s are accounted for! As the bride and groom, it is up to you to group and place all your friends and family in a way that both makes sense and allows for them to have the best time possible at your celebration. There are four parts to planning your seat assignments that you should know in order to set up yourself up for success. So enough beating around the bush, let’s dive in!
Part 1- Give Yourself Time
You never know how long it is going to take for you and your partner to nail this down. Some couples breeze through it, while others takes hours to complete (once I had a couple tell me that it took them almost seven hours to finish!). Keeping this in mind, it is important that you allow yourself enough time to do it right. You also need to account for the time it may take you to consult others, compromise, etc. Seating your guests, whether it is by individual seats or by tables, isn’t always straight-forward, so we want you to be smart! It may take you only 30 minutes, but then again it may not. Don’t put unneeded pressure on yourself by only allotting an hour to do this. Depending on your guests, this project can be tricky, so give yourselves plenty of time.
Part 2- Think It Through
Be thoughtful when you do decided whom to put where. This means you are thinking about who will have a good time with who, not just who knows each other already, who is single, who is together, who has kids, and who doesn’t. Clumping people together by a simple category like that can not only make your guests uncomfortable, but it isn’t offering them the most of your reception. You invited all these great people, so use what you know about them and let them all mingle. Think of your seat arrangements like a good puzzle or a game of chess. Think ahead! Don’t just do the obvious.
Part 3- Get To Grouping
In the same way that this project takes time, it takes work. You have to sit down with your seating arrangements and your guest list and just start. In order to make the most of your tables, especially if you don’t want to pay for extra ones, you need to fill them to capacity with guests. This means you need to talk to your wedding planner, rental company or caterer about how many people fit at each table, and do your best to abide by that number. You can be off by one or two, that is fine, but scooting people in to maximize your table is just not going to work. On the other hand, you also don’t want to under fill a table. It really is like a puzzle folks! Because being overcrowded is equally as uncomfortable as too much space, so remember: full, or missing one or two- that is the rule. You don’t want your guests wondering why there are only 6 people seated at a table for 10… trust us, they will most likely not be good thoughts, and you want your guests to be happy and comfortable right? So do the work! They will be grateful, and you will be happy you did.
Step 4- Seek Advice Wisely
Let it be said that sometimes parents want to be involved in this process, and if that is the case, we highly suggest and encourage that you don’t give them free reign over your whole seating plan. We suggest limiting them to a specific number of tables that directly reflect the number of guests they need to give input on. For example, if they have family members they’ve invited or want to seat, give them the amount of tables they need, say 4, and tell them they need to fit their guests into those tables. You can also talk to them about who they want at what table, or who should be at what table, if you need their input. Especially if you have a large wedding, you are most likely going to need the aid of your family, so please utilize them, but we just urge you to be smart about it. Having too many chiefs is going to cause an issue, so communicate what you need from them, what you have already firmly decided and go from there.
Now that you know the four important parts of planning your seating assignments, we are going to break it down for you into a step-by-step process:
- Step 1 – Have all your data: guest list, how many guests at each table, your layout.
- Step 2 – Sit down and don’t allow yourself to get distracted: no phone, no email-just you and your significant other.
- Step 3 – Start thinking and grouping: who would go well with whom, and where you want them.
- Step 4 – Consult: If you have people who you don’t know how to place and need your family, set those names asides with the amount of tables needed to seat them, and ask for help.
- Step 5 – Don’t touch it: It will be tempting, but don’t do it (unless you absolutely have to due to a last minute cancellation or addition). There is no need to second guess yourself once the task is completed.
One last tip is to keep in mind that sometimes people are going to change their minds. Someone thinks they can or cannot come to your wedding, and then all of a sudden the situation changes and their RSVP is not what you thought it was a month out. Whatever the case, it is important to wait to print, draw or write out your place assignments no earlier than 2 weeks before your wedding day. You will be glad you waited. With all that said, we hope you feel a bit more comfortable with tackling the task of planning your seating arrangements. Like we’ve said, it isn’t necessarily fun, but it sure is necessary. And just remember, you want your guests to have fun! So set them up for success too.
Photo Cred: Image 1 by Andrew Abajian, Image 2 by Ronca Productions, Image 3 by Kim Fox, Image 4 by Iris & Light, Image 5 by Iris & Light, Image 6 Amanda McKinnon Photography , Image 7 (left) Kristyn Hogan, Image 8 (right) by Melani Lust Photography