Who sits where at a wedding reception? Is open seating at a wedding reception acceptable? Or should you assign seats for wedding guests? So many questions — but this one’s easy to answer, loves! Read on to find out if you should assign seating at a wedding reception.
Assign Seats at a Wedding Reception
According to proper wedding etiquette, guests should have assigned seats at a wedding reception. The tables, at least, should be reserved in the names of guests; from there, you can opt to seat guests at specific place settings or let them decide which seat at that particular table.
Personally, I think it is best to avoid all confusion and have guests seated at tables and specific seats at a wedding reception. However, if you choose to let them decide on the seat, that’s up to you!
How to Seat Guests at a Wedding Reception
It’s easy to assign seating at a wedding reception. Here’s the who, what, when, where, and why of wedding seating 101. :)
Who Arranges Seats at a Wedding?
The couple is who is in charge, ultimately, of who sits where at a wedding reception. It is extremely good advice to ask your parents their thoughts on the seating chart before it’s finalized, though: they’ll have some suggestions on who would be best seated where, or perhaps help you fill in spaces where there are empty seats to make your tables more lively and fun.
What is the purpose of seating at a wedding reception?
The reason why seating is so important — and why to assign seats at a wedding reception — is to ensure your guests have a place to sit that is reserved in his or her name. It is a nice way to feel welcomed at a wedding, expected, and have a nice place to be seated to enjoy the festivities.
A seating chart, which you’ll design and we’ll discuss in a minute, is an easy way for guests to find out where they are expected to sit and is easy to find at the start of your reception space.
When to figure out wedding table seating
When should you finalize the seating arrangements? Great question: the best time to make a proper seating plan for your wedding is once you have the final headcount. This is typically two weeks before the wedding when you are expected to give the headcount to your caterer. The reason why waiting until this point is that you’ll have a final guest list; if you arrange tables prior to then, that is fine, but you shouldn’t finalize it and print the chart or escort cards until you have the final number.
Why? This is because you could have some last-minute cancellations and your tables may be uneven, with some tables missing and others completely full. You want your reception space and the tables to look cohesive, so waiting just a bit until that final RSVP total is in will help to achieve this goal.
Where do wedding guests find their seats
You’ll place a seating chart or escort cards near the entryway of your reception site. On a seating chart, like this one you can edit yourself (easily!) from Minted, names of guests are sorted alphabetically to make it easy to find. A guest finds his or her name, then sees which table number to find their place.
If you opt for escort cards instead, these are cards that are also placed in alphabetical order. Escort cards look like this (design by Lulu and Isabelle):
Of course, there are dozens of different designs you can choose to coordinate with your color palette and theme here
Escort cards are different than a seating chart but accomplish the same goal: helping to their seats.
Instead of scanning a list, guests will take the card from the table and then locate their seats.
How to Assign Wedding Seats
TL;DR Okay, let’s recap: as a rule of thumb, you need to assign seats at a wedding reception. To accomplish this, you’ll need the following:
1. Your Final Guest List
Approximately 2 weeks before the wedding
2. Mock-Up of Wedding Seating
You’ll need to write down who sits where before you make escort cards or a seating chart.
HELPFUL TIP: Use paper plates + these sticky note tabs to make ‘mock’ tables and ‘seat’ your guests, so you can keep rearranging them until you get the best groups sitting together
3. Seating Chart or Escort Cards
Choose either a seating chart on an easel OR escort cards, like these.
4. Optional: Place Cards
If you want guests to sit at a certain seat within a table, use place cards. Once guests reach their table, they’ll find the place setting with their name card. This is helpful if you’d like particular guests to sit next to one another. (Does Uncle Roy have a lot to talk about with Uncle Ted, and you don’t want them to have to talk across the table? Got it.)
Assigned Seating at Wedding Ceremonies
Wondering if you should assign seating at a wedding ceremony? That’s a different topic: you can feel free to have open seating like this, or stick to the traditional idea of one family on the left side, another family on the right side.
I love this new sign from OldSouthDesignCo for your ceremony!
Traditionally, the bride’s family sits on the left. However, you can seat guests at a ceremony in any way that works best for you.
Where to Shop
For custom, personalized seating charts or escort cards (and place cards!) that are stylish and easy to edit, shop Minted here.
Hope it helps. If you have any questions on how to assign seating at a wedding reception, just let us know in the comments below.
This is a sponsored post with Minted.