Our Four Step Guide to Mastering the Seating Chart
An interesting thing about everyone you love: they may not love each other. Now, this could be because they don't know each other or because they are holding on to a long standing grudge about a microwave (cc: Donna Meagle #parksandrecforever) but either way, interpersonal relationships play a vital role in setting a seating chart for your wedding. While it may prove to be a difficult task, we know you can and will create the most amazing seating chart this side of the Mississippi especially when you follow our fool proof plan.
Step 1: Organize this RSVPs.
Get your RSVPS sorted in a way that allows you to easily organize your guest list by categories (your family, your grooms family, co-workers, friends, etc) before you get to placing folks. Whether you're using an online tool (like this one from The Knot) or a simple Excel spreadsheet, get everyone organized before moving on to step two! ALD brides have our (not bragging by pretty phenomenal) client portal which easily organizes your guest list and sets up an easy seating chart for you to plug and play. Either way, you'll be thankful to have a clear list of who is invited, who has accepted your invitation and all of their contact information.
Step 2: Set up your seating chart!
Work with your venue to know how many tables you have to play with and how many seats will be at each table (side note: 72" round tables - your typical banquet table - that "seat eight" can fit up to ten so you may have some wiggle room. Alternatively, if you're working with a 60" round, six people is really the ideal number, and eight could feel cramped. Ask your rental company or venue what the absolute maximum is for each table.) If you are a hard copy person, you can create poster boards with tables and sticky notes to represent guests. Alternatively, set up your "tables" in that Excel spreadsheet. Start simple by designating tables that are just groom's family, just bride's family before worrying about "mixed-group" tables. A note to our perfectionist brides: tables do not need to have the same number of folks at them, so don't worry about sticking a random person at your groom's co-workers table just so you have an even 8 or 10 guests.
This is also the step to think about the physical placement of those tables in your venue space. Your college friends might love being right between the bar & the dance floor, where as your parents would rather be right up next to the Head Table so they can lovingly gaze at you all night. Consider things like distance to the restrooms and buffet lines for your guests who are older and may have mobility issues.
Step 3: Pair those familiar people up!
There will be some obvious choices, your aunts and uncles can all sit together, friends from your college workplace, people who know each other from whatever walk of life. If certain groups exceed one table, make sure to put them at tables near each other, they can have a little party corner! This is also the point to figure out if you care about where those folks sit once they're at the table. If so, identify that on a hard copy diagram for your venue coordinator or planner (lest we forget the near fiasco of Emily Gilmore's wedding). If not, the Excel list will work just fine!
Step 4: Fill in the gaps.
This is probably the hardest step because it makes you consider those previously mentioned "interpersonal relationships". This is when you are going to have to ask... "Who can deal with Nana's reminiscing?" or "Who will enjoy stories from my crazy college days?". Think of what each table will talk about and go from there. Personalities are sometimes easy to match up as well ie: this person is bright and bubbly and will help this quieter table loosen up and have fun! Just be careful to not try to match up folks who are totally opposite - your vegan, environmentalist, equality loving bestie may not fair so well against your Texan uncle who has a desire to "Make America Great Again". This is just like setting everyone you love up on the biggest blind date of their lives!
*BONUS STEP* Step 5: Forget the rest.
There will be a point where someone - whether it's your sister, bestie or the aforementioned Texan uncle - will ask you where they're sitting and try to make some suggestions. It's easy to get overwhelmed trying to meet everyone's needs and please everyone but that is not only impossible, but incredibly frustrating. Once you and your beau have set up a seating chart you are set on, stick with it and forget everyone else's opinion. You got this!
Hopefully these steps help you to create the ultimate party seating chart. As always, if you still have comments, let us know in the section below (how's that for a little Thursday rhyme?)!
Emma + Kaitlynn