How do you seat single guests at a wedding?
If you’ve ever been a single at a wedding, it can be uncomfortable, especially when it comes to seating. Everyone around you is talking about love and marriage and you’re there, solo, sitting at a table with other couples.
Yikes! No one wants to feel like a third-wheel!
When you’re planning your wedding — especially when creating the eating chart — use these tips to make seating single guests at a wedding less awkward and make guests more comfortable at the reception.
In this blog post, we’ll cover:
• DONTs: Mistakes to Avoid When Seating Singles
• DOs: How To Seat Guests Who Are Single At Your Wedding
• Why Some Engaged Couples Don’t (or Can’t) Invite Plus-Ones
• The Hidden Costs of Plus-Ones
• The Fun of Bringing a Date
• Don’t Worry!
Mistakes to Avoid When Seating Singles at Wedding Receptions
Here are the biggest DONTs to avoid when choosing where to seat single guests at your wedding.
• Don’t Play Matchmaker
Tempting, but don’t do it! I have heard of many happy couples, now married, who met at a wedding. But the onus is not on you to set them up by putting them at a singles table together. It’s awkward and not fun at all.
Instead, let the magic happen organically. If they’re supposed to meet and fall in love, they’ll still find each other at the reception, but it likely won’t be during dinner when they realize they’re attempting to be set up by the newlyweds.
• Don’t Seat Guests at a Singles Table
Unless you have a large group of college friends who all know each other and do not have dates, or your gal pals are all hanging out solo for the evening, avoid making a Singles’ Only table with random guests who didn’t or couldn’t bring a plus-one.
They’ll feel totally out of place. Conversation will be dull. They’ll be hurrying through your 3-course dinner as fast as possible just to get out of there.
• Don’t Seat Singles at a Table With All Couples
On the flip-side, one single guest at a table with all couples will feel even more out of place vs. a table with all singles. It feels like a third wheel.
Now that you know the mistakes to avoid, let’s talk about what to do instead. Here’s how to seat single guests at a wedding without making them feel awkward.
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How To Comfortably Seat Single Wedding Guests
Here’s what to DO instead.
► DO Seat Single Guests with People They Know
It’s far better to seat a single guest with a couple they know vs. guests they’ve never met.
Try not to make them the only single at the table, as aforementioned, to avoid the impression of a third-wheel.
► DO Seat Them With Guests They Have Shared Passions
Consider who to seat guests based on their shared passions or commonplace attributes. Did they grow up in the same hometown as other guests? Attend the same high school or university? Do they work in similar career fields? These things will allow for guests to make connections, which leads to flowing conversation, and maybe even new friendships.
► DO Display Guest Names Separately
Avoid using “And Guest” or grouping couples together on the seating chart. Instead, list each name on its own line so guests don’t feel isolated if they’re the only one listed as a single.
Here’s an example (seating chart by the lovely WeddingsDecorStudio):
► DO Consider the Table Location
Make sure single guests are given just as much awesome seating as couples. You do not want to seat single guests at a poor table, like in the way of the bar line or near the restroom. Instead, make sure they have a great spot near the dance floor so they feel like part of the party or have music to distract them if they find conversation challenging at their table.
► DO Realize Seating Is Temporary
As the couple planning the wedding, do the best seating you can! But realize that seating is very temporary and, once dinner is completed, guests will be up and mingling or dancing the night away. The way you seat single guests at a wedding vs couples is a fleeting thing: it’s important, but it only lasts for a portion of the evening, so don’t over-complicate it or worry about it too much. :)
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Now that you know how it’s done, let’s talk about why single guests are more prevalent at some weddings than others simply due to no plus-ones being included.
Singles vs. Plus-Ones: Why Some Couples Don’t Allow Guests At All
In a perfect world, a single guest would always have the opportunity to invite a “plus-one” as a date to the wedding.
Unfortunately, this isn’t always an easy solution for couples planning their wedding, with budget constraints and venue capacity limits. In this section, we’ll talk about why some couples do not invite guests to bring a date.
Some venues are small and simply cannot house every single guest and a date, while others have a budget that can’t afford to invite all of those extra people, even if they want to.
If you have many non-married couples on your guest list, it can actually create an enormous amount of strain on your budget if you allow everyone to bring a plus-one.
Here are some of theof plus-ones.
The Hidden Costs of Plus-Ones
When you invite a single friend plus a date, the costs can really multiply.
Since you need to keep the invitation list fair for all, you’ll need to invite a plus-one for each single guest, too.
In addition, one extra guest equals another plated dinner, drinks, dessert, wedding favors, place settings, seating — the list goes on. Now, multiple that by each plus-one you have on your guest list and you’ll see why some couples nix it altogether.
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But let’s not dismiss how fun it is for guests to bring a plus-one if they wish! Here’s what that may mean for single guests in attendance.
The Fun of Bringing a Date to a Wedding
While it can be costly, allowing your single guests to bring a date can also be priceless. This is because having someone to join them will dramatically improve their wedding-going experience. It’s fun to bring a date or a friend to pal around with at the wedding, to enjoy dinner conversation with, take silly snapshots at the photo booth, and dance.
Others may not mind opting out of a date, and that’s OK. Giving guests the option to bring a guest if they choose, or attend the party by themselves, is perfectly fine, too.
If you’re able to [budget-wise], invite a plus-one for each single guest in attendance. It may be the major difference in enthusiastic RSVPs vs. dreading the party as solo guests.
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And last but not least: don’t worry so much!
And lastly, whether you can invite plus-ones or single guests need to attend solo, don’t overwhelm yourself about it. All weddings and budgets are different, so you’re not right or wrong whichever way you choose.
The most important thing to remember when seating single guests at a wedding is to make sure they’re placed at a seat where they can enjoy a meal and lively conversation with others so they feel included.
FOR MORE TIPS ON SEATING, read: How To Create a Seating Chart for a Wedding. It’s jam-packed with great tips on creating a seating plan for all guests.