Just one more item that you need to check off of your to-do list, or shall we call it “decision list”?
A seating chart for your guests at the wedding- yay or nay?
Ultimately, it comes down to preference, and there is never a right or wrong answer.
But let me tell you about my experience.
We did a seating chart, and here’s why.
A couple years before our wedding, we went to a wedding where we knew practically no one. I knew the bride, my then boyfriend – now husband had maybe met her once or twice prior. So yeah, that qualifies as knowing pretty much no one. The reception was held in this grand room with tables surround a big dance floor. And there were A LOT of tables, but to be fair there were also a lot of guests.
Picture this: we walk into this grand room and look around at not only all of the tables, but all of the people mingling around them who knew each other and were catching up like old friends (because they were). We looked at each other like “now what”. We didn’t know where to sit, there was no guidance. So we chose a table that had yet to be claimed and we sat there, assuming that at least a few other people would fill the remaining 8 chairs at the table.
The most awkward part? People looked at those empty chairs, and then at us, and realized they didn’t know us so they kept walking. In my opinion, there was nothing that eluded to the fact that we could have been saving those chairs for someone, not one bit. We consider ourselves to be very friendly and outgoing people, and we had hoped that someone would fill those chairs so we weren’t left looking like a couple of Steven Glansberg (a Superbad reference, a kid who eats alone at lunch). But nonetheless, no one sat down. Oh, hello, Steven Glansberg #1 and #2. It was awkward.
Two plus years later when it came time to plan our wedding, I knew without a doubt that I wanted a seating chart. Did my mom agree at first? No, not quite. But here are the PROS, and the reasons why I think having a seating chart is necessary (although more work on YOU, but more beneficial to everyone later on)
- You’ll have no Steven Glansberg’s at the wedding
- You can help facilitate new friendships
- No one comes looking for you in a frenzy asking your opinion on where to sit. They read the board, the cards, or whatever, and know where to go
- It’s cheaper!
Without a seating chart you have to account for 2 or more extra tables because although you’d like to think everyone would just fill in all of the chairs, they won’t, and there will be tables leftover with empty chairs (like ours). So say you have 180 guests coming, you’ll need enough tables and chairs to seat 200+. And yes, that also includes the extra linens, silverware, etc. that you’ll have to buy or rent to go with those extra chairs.
Let me just finish by saying….
Do a little extra effort yourself up front, to avoid annoying and frequently asked questions on your wedding day (OmG, like WHERE do i SiT?!?!) and also save people the embarrassment of watching people look at the them and then deliberately not sit with them like a bunch of high school cliques.
My one extra tip, is to be an over-planner and over-organizer with the seating chart, and relay that information in the clearest possible way to whoever is setting up the tables. I say this because I had to split my extended family into multiple tables (my family is large) but the idea was that they would be in 3 tables in a triangle with each other. Well, the layout of the tables got screwed up (even though I used this online platform where you literally place the tables, the head table, the cake, etc. where you want) and so one of the tables ended up clear on the other side of the room. My mom was like “why did you put X,Y,Z so far from everyone else?” Well mom, they weren’t supposed to be.
Plan, organize, plan, execute.
Happy wedding planning! Got additional questions for a recent bride-in-planning? Holla at me! firstname.lastname@example.org Instagram @lifeofcarlyb_ Or check out recent wedding related posts here: "to the girl planning her wedding" "the one thing I wish I would have done on my wedding day"