If you’re planning a wedding reception, one of the foremost things you’d have to take care of would be how your guests should be seated. Here are some tips for an easy, stress-free seating chart:
- Do an ocular inspection of the wedding venue. Bring along with you a sketchpad and pencil, and make a rough sketch of the layout of the place. No need to be artistic: it’s important to note down the tables and how they are arranged, the number of seats per table, the restrooms, the audio/ tech area, the white screen (if you’re going to have a slideshow presentation), etc. Do be sure to take pictures of every section of the room as well, to help you understand your sketch later.
- Number the seats. Using the sketch you’ve done, give names to the seats. You can simply name them by number. You can assign the table where your guests will be seated simply by indicating the number next to their name.
- Organize your guest list. Take a list of all the guests and note those who have already RSVP’d their attendance. Cross out those who can’t come, but assume everybody else is going to come. Then, try to arrange the names depending on how they are related.
- Think of how you would want your guests to be seated. Normally, guests who know each other are seated in the same table. That will mean having tables designated for the groom’s relatives, the bride’s relatives, college friends, colleagues at work, etc. However, it might be a good idea to arrange the seating so that the guests would get to know each other. If this is what you would like to do, take into consideration the age groups, common interests and personalities, etc.
- Take into consideration your guests’ convenience. If you were having a slideshow presentation for example, you would want each table to have a good view of it. This means you shouldn’t have any table placed too near the white screen. Also, consider seating the elderly guests near the restrooms and near the head table (where the bride and groom will be seated). Make sure also that no table will be situated too near the audio/ tech area. Make sure that children will be seated next to their parents. If they are over ten years old, however, you could seat them at a specifically assigned children’s table.
- Think of protocol. The closest relatives and family members should be seated closest to the head table. If you have guests who are ex-spouses or who have some personal disagreements with one another, make sure that they are seated very far apart.
- Have a final masterplan. You should have two finalized documents: the first is the map of the reception venue, one that indicates the numbering of the tables; and the second is the list of the guests’ names that will sit per table. If there are ushers for the reception, they should each have these two documents. You can also provide a receiving table at the entrance to the reception room where guests could line up and inquire about their table number.
- Create a table number sign and name plates. The table number sign should be highly visible right from the entrance of the reception room. Both the number sign and name plates can be designed according to the wedding theme.
There you have it! These are some of the tips to create a seating chart for your wedding reception. Good luck!