Take Your Seat: Five Essential Tips for Wedding Seating Arrangements

  |   Wedding Planning Ideas

Wedding planning, for the most part, is a lot of fun. Choosing flowers, food, cakes and colors is a source of great enjoyment for most couples. Figuring out where everyone is going to sit at the reception is usually not. Whether mom is nagging you not to seat feuding Aunt Nellie and Aunt Edith next to each other, or you just can’t figure out what to do with that lone friend from graduate school, planning seating arrangements can be a drag.

Generally, though, you should do it anyway. If you don’t, some people will rush for the “prime” seats. This could result in your great-grandma relegated to a back corner with your co-workers and some of the groom’s frat brothers. Some couples may have to split up to find seats. Shy guests may be uncomfortable approaching a table of strangers to ask if they may sit there, and once seated, may feel excluded from the conversation. The bottom line: help your guests have a good time by designing seating.

Here are some tips:

  1. Seat VIPs First. Aside from the head table, there are parents, grandparents, clergy and other guests who deserve a little extra consideration. Figure out first where they’ll be (likely in the front, near the head table) and work from there.
  2. Think of the Children! If you have families with children, or pregnant women, at your reception, seat them as conveniently as possible to a bathroom. With little kids, too, it’s often best to seat their families toward the back of the room so they can relax without fear of the kids being disruptive.
  3. Respect Your Elders. Older guests and relatives will want to be seated in a place where they can hear speeches and toasts, but where they won’t be blown away by blasting speakers when music plays. If you can’t achieve both goals, seat elderly guests far away from the music so they can at least relax and chat while other guests dance the night away.
  4. Make Seats Easy to Find. Rather than putting guests’ place cards directly at their seats, have numbered place cards arranged in alphabetical order by last name right inside the reception area. Then have the table numbers prominently displayed on each table so guests can find theirs.
  5. Mix and Match. Everybody likes to sit with someone they know. But consider putting small groups who don’t know each other together at tables, so they can meet someone new, too. We know a couple who met in just this way—and fifteen years ago, they had their own wedding.



Rob Alberti, event director, lighting designer, author
Rob Alberti’s Event Services, DJ & Lighting
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