Wedding seating is so much easier when you know what to do — and what to avoid! Read this informative post before you make a wedding seating chart and subscribe for the latest.
An effective wedding seating plan can feel more like a game of Tetris, figuring out how to get everyone seated together in one perfect arrangement. If you’ve been putting off wedding seating for too long, it’s time to tackle it! Today we’re sharing a list of wedding seating mistakes to avoid to help you out. We are also sharing a few guest gripes so you can plan accordingly. Get ready to cross yet another big to-do off of that list — that’s what we’re here for! Enjoy!
Wedding Seating Mistakes to Avoid
Wedding Seating Mistakes: #1 – No seating plan.
Three words to avoid at your reception: “No seating plan”. The idea looks nice on paper, oh, we just want everyone to sit wherever they’d like, but the idea becomes pure chaos. Have you ever been to a party where there is not enough seating, and everyone sort of stands around and when one chair becomes available people go to steal it? Free for all wedding seating is sort of like that, except everyone is dressed up, super hungry, and just wants to sit in a seat assigned just for them. Assigned seats make guests feel more welcome and you won’t have a hodgepodge of tables with uneven seating and extra chairs pulled up to other tables.
Wedding Seating Mistakes: #2 – Choosing individual seats for guests at each table.
Seating is essential for tables as a whole; for specific seats, though, guests prefer to choose. Some guests arrive early and pick a seat facing the bride and groom’s direction; other guests will want to sit by an adjoining table to chat before or after dinner from their chairs. If you let guests choose, it takes stress and guesswork off of your shoulders. You won’t need to agonize over whether you have picked the perfect specific seats at each table, and you won’t need to spend extra money on place cards and escort cards. It’s a win-win.
Note: if you have to seat guests at a specific seat because of plated dinner entrees, you may obviously disregard this one and instead focus on making sure the place cards are easy to find.
Wedding Seating Mistakes: #3 – Not checking in with your parents and in-laws first.
Your parents will be a most helpful resource for seating. And it is essential to check with them because they know more about guests, especially distant relatives than you do. They’ll know who will sit best by whom (and why to place so-and-so here instead). It’s best to ask their guidance when it comes to seating or has them glance it over your seating plan before it is finalized.
Wedding Seating Mistakes: #4 – Seating close family members too far away.
Always give close family members (immediate family including parents, siblings, and grandparents) the best seats in the house. Typically, this is the first two or four tables in front of the head table.
Tip: Use a ‘reserved’ sign on the tables to make them extra-special.
Wedding Seating Mistakes #5 – Skipping these essential seating chart / card tips.
Make Sure Guests Don’t Miss It
Make the seating cards or a seating chart easy to see or guests may miss it altogether and resort to seating themselves (which brings us back to mistake #1 above). The seating cards should be immediately visible upon entering your reception space; right next to a welcome sign is probably your best bet.
A seating sign is essential — something like “Please find your seat” or “Be seated” will ensure no one misses it.
Make Sure Guests Can Read It
If you’re using a script font, make sure it is easy to read. Some cursive is very intricate and hard for guests to see. Make sure the font is large enough (at least 12pt, minimum) and there is adequate spacing. If you’re hand-writing them, only do so if your writing is very legible (otherwise, print it from a computer). Also, make sure you use a dark ink marker that won’t rub off (these are fantastic and won’t bleed through!) and is visible to see, even in low light. Speaking of, make sure the area around the seating chart or cards is well-lit (or add any lighting such as more candles) so guests can read them. I know, this all sounds blatantly obvious, but you’d be surprised how many couples miss the mark on all of these points.
Wedding Seating Mistakes: #6 – Not seating similar people with other similar people.
This one’s easy. Seat similar people with other similar people: look for common hobbies, perhaps the same type of career, alma mater, from the same hometown, someone with the same favorite sports team, etc. Families with kids can be seated with other families with kids, but only if they are also similar in other ways. And, please, vow to NEVER make a singles table. That’s probably a number-one gripe of guests. As much as you may want to play matchmaker, a singles table makes everyone feel awkward.
Wedding Seating Mistakes: #7 – Forgetting a master copy.
Always bring a master copy of the seating plan with you on the wedding day. If someone loses a card, one goes misplaced, one is forgotten (it happens!) or the seating chart has an error, you’ll have the master seating plan to fall back on.
Bonus — Wedding Seating Mistakes: #8 – Obsessing over the seating too much.
And last but not least, don’t obsess over the wedding seating so much. It’s great to plan ahead with these tips, but it’s also good to complete it and cross it off of your list — and get it off of your mind. It’s not really that hard to make guests happy to be perfectly honest. And remember that your guests really only sit at their seats for speeches and dinner and then they mingle anyway, so if they don’t like their seats it is only temporary. And most guests are fine with where they sit, especially because you’ve taken the time to carefully choose a specific seat for him or her. In fact, go easy on yourself for EVERY wedding task; it’s totally not worth stressing over. Read: 50 Wedding Acts of Kindness and How to Be a Happy Bride from A to Z when you need a snap back to reality.