What is proper wedding seating etiquette? We’ll explain what you need to know from start to finish. Subscribe here for the latest to your inbox!
Are you planning your wedding seating and wondering how to do it? It feels like a tough task until you see just how easy it really is. I’ll show you how it’s done!
In this blog post, you’ll learn wedding seating etiquette: tips, what NOT to do, and how to make escort cards or a seating chart for your wedding (plus, the difference between them).
Let’s get started!
5 Etiquette Tips for Wedding Seating
Here are the 5 tips to keep in mind when you’re planning where to seat guests at a wedding.
1. DO make a seating chart for a wedding
If you’re wondering, do I really need a wedding seating chart? The answer is: yes. Can you technically get by without one? Yes, but I do not recommend it. Guests have a certain sense of anxiety when they realize there is no assigned seating; cocktail hour becomes hurry and save all the seats you can with your purses and jackets. Don’t do that.
Let guests enjoy and relax during cocktail hour, knowing once dinner is ready they can casually be seated in their assigned seats and enjoy the evening.
PRO TIP: Use a seating chart planner like this to make it easier. You can print out the template and fill it out as you seat your guests. Easily change, edit, and reprint to your liking until the seating chart is finalized.
2. DO seat similar guests together
Keep in mind which guests will work best in conversation with other guests. Don’t try to put couples together that have nothing in common; look for familiarity and try your best to seat people together when you are able to.
3. DO seat closest family members near the head table
Make sure your VIP family members — parents, grandparents, siblings — are sitting close to you, whether it is the head table or a sweetheart table. They want and need a close-up view of you, the toasts, and the celebration. Plus, this ensures they are front and center in additional wedding photos.
4. DO be mindful of the needs of guests
No one really wants to sit directly next to the speakers, in the line of the bar, or in the direct route to a bathroom. When you are able to, be mindful of people who may need certain accommodations: an older guest may have easier access walking toward the food line if it is located closer to his or her chair.
Moreover, elderly guests or families with small children may not want a speaker blasting into their ear from the DJ or the band all evening.
You can’t prevent all situations, but it helps to be mindful of the placement of seats. Guests definitely appreciate the thought!
5. DON’T obsess over it
Once you’ve made your wedding seating chart, and you’ve done your best to seat guests in a mindful manner, let go! Be done with it! Guests will have fun. Don’t overanalyze the seating chart or you’ll drive yourself into unnecessary stress.
How to Seat Wedding Guests
Now that you know the proper etiquette for seating your guests, let’s talk about how to show them their seats. You’ll want to use either escort cards or a seating chart. You do not need to use both.
How to Make Escort Cards
An escort card — aka a seating card — is a paper card that is tented so it can stand upright on its own. The major difference between an escort card and a place card is an escort card is put near the entrance of the wedding reception so guests can find their table. An escort card has a table number on it; a place card does not. A place card, on the other hand, is set at the guest’s seat at a particular table.
You do NOT need to have escort cards and place cards, although you can if you’d like. Read more about it here.
You will need one escort card for each guest OR one card for each couple. On the card, you will list the guest(s) name(s) and the table number.
For instance, it may look like this on the front:
Mr. Jonathan Miller
Mr. Jonathan Miller and Mrs. Patricia Miller
Here are some examples. You can find more designs at Minted here.
To make your own escort cards, simply do the following:
1. Choose a design.
You can find a card design to suit your style here.
Customize the cards with the color you like, add foil if you wish, choose the quantity, and more. Click “Next”.
3. Upload your guest list.
Do you have to type in each guest’s name? No way! Thankfully, Minted makes it easy to pre-print your guest names and table numbers. All you need to do is upload your guest list. Click “upload guest list” button on the left of the screen here, as shown in the example below.
Add any accessories (like matching table numbers, table number holders, etc.) and “add to cart”. Done! Now isn’t that easy?!
Some couples prefer a seating chart, as it’s quicker to set up at your reception than individual cards. With escort cards, you need to set them up individually in alphabetical order. On the other hand, a seating chart is a large sign that is placed on an easel.
How to Make a Seating Chart
For a seating chart, the tables are written out in numerical order with guest names’ underneath each table heading.
You can make a wedding seating chart at Minted quickly + easily in 3 easy steps.
1. Choose a design.
Pick a design that complements your wedding vision, theme, or color palette here.
Then, start customizing!
Choose the size (16″ x 20″ or, standard, 18″ x 24″), the color theme (you can change the color and see it reflected in your example in real-time), choose the sign type (how many guests from 0-50, 51-100, or 100+), type of layout, silhouette, then click “Personalize”.
From here, you’ll input your guest names and table number assignments. Take your time and double-check spelling; you’ll want to ask someone to look it over before you submit it just in case!
When you’re done, click “Next”.
You’ll see a preview of your seating chart.
Click the box to confirm everything looks good, add any design notes for the printer, and then click “Add to Cart”. Place your order and you’ll receive a digital proof once it is ready.
Then all you need to do is wait for the seating chart to arrive! Place it on an easel like this at your reception.
See? Making a seating chart is so easy!
Here are some examples of completed seating charts:
Now you know how to seat guests, how to plan it out on paper, and how to make escort cards or a seating chart. Looking good! If you need any help along the way, just let me know in the comment box below and I’ll swoop in to help.
In the meantime, you can start browsing designs to make your own cards or seating charts here.
Hope it helps!
This is a sponsored post.