Setting Up the Seating Arrangement
The last thing that you want to be doing is scurrying to complete your seating chart the day before your wedding. Having a well thought out, organized arrangement will ensure that you and all of your guests have a fabulous time at your wedding reception.
By The Elegance in Bridal Show
Here are a few things to keep in mind when planning the seating order for attendees!
1. Haste makes waste.
We understand that you are juggling a million to-do’s in the months and weeks leading up to your ceremony. Adequate planning is key. Give yourself time to think consider the best possible seating arrangement. While some couples work well under pressure (I think back to my college exam cramming days) and are able to pull off a last minute seating chart two hours before their ceremony begins, most require little elbow grease to get the job done.
2. Do I Even Know You?
Consider the relationships among the guests in attendance. Everyone will be so glad to see you on your big day, but will they be glad to see each other? Let’s face it, although we love our family and friends, the years may lend themselves to unstable relationships and less than harmonious interactions. Save the drama for your momma, or better yet, no one at all.
Mix and match, or sit like with like, by placing old friends and co-workers together. There’s no time like the present to do some catching up! Be cognizant of capacity and physical needs (ex. are the tables easy access for anyone with limited mobility?)
3. It’s Party Time!
The bridal party can have a specific boy-girl-boy-girl arrangement if you prefer. However, it is not set in stone, and has some flexibility. You may choose to opt for a setup with you and your hubby front and center, with an alternating pattern of bridesmaid-groom-bridesmaid, and so on. Another option that many couples select is similar to the ceremony setup with the bridesmaids on the same side as the bride, starting with the maid of honor on out, and the groomsmen sitting alongside the groom, beginning with the best man seated at his left hand.
4. Parental Authority
Here is where it can get tricky. Remember, you have total control over what goes down at your reception, so please keep this in mind. Life happens, parents stay together, parents get divorced, parents separate and remarry, et cetera, et cetera. The general rule of thumb is to have the parents of the bride and groom share a table along with any siblings not participating in the wedding party, and the wedding officiant and their spouse (respectfully). However, a little creativity and communication can account for any minor adjustments that your family tree has undergone throughout the years. Gauge the level of comfort that your parent will have sitting next to an ex-spouse simply by asking them. You know your parents best! If tensions just cannot be alleviated, opt to have separate tables for each set of parents of the bride and groom, allowing them to host guests of their choosing (generally, close family, co-workers, and friends).
There are several viable methods to setting up your seating chart. I always think of a football team playlist with the x’s and arrows, zig zags and the like! Traditional paper and pen methods, and 21st century digital methods can help keep track of this process. I would suggest whipping out Google Docs (also, available as an app on your phone for on-the-go edits). With Google Docs you and your partner can communicate, share, and edit changes along the way. You can see any revisions made and make comments. Simply use the shape feature (circles or rectangles depending on your table shape), position them on the document, and insert names!
Another go-to option is the use of sticky notes. I would suggest getting a Dollar Store poster board, and adding the sticky notes to represent the tables, along with the names of attendees.
An organized seating arrangement makes life easy for your guests and event staff. Consider making a small card with the guest’s name and table location (it isn’t necessary to list the other occupants’ names) once the RSVP has been received. This can also be completed digitally (we will go into technological applications that make wedding planning a breeze), allowing your guests to access password-protected ceremony and reception information at the click of a mouse.
So, go ahead and get planning! By the way, we recommend to have your seating arrangement completed and sent out to guests at least two weeks prior to the ceremony. Just in case any last minute changes need to be made.
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