Step By Step Guide To Creating A Wedding Seating Chart
We are excited to bring you a step-by-step guide to designing a wedding seating chart!
Designing the wedding seating chart should be an exciting task in the wedding planning process. However, for most wedding couples, the thought of setting up a wedding seating chart is overwhelming.
With so many factors to consider like guest dynamics, venue layout, and more recently, social distancing, we want to help make the process as easy as possible.
Allseated’s collaborative floorplan design and seating chart tools help event professionals and their clients to save time and reduce stress when planning a wedding seating chart!
We put together this helpful step-by-step guide to help make the wedding seating chart process simple and efficient.
Where To Begin
Organize your guest list in advance.
Since drafting your guest list should be one of the first things you do, make sure you put it together in an organized fashion. Group your guests as you list them – college friends, family, colleagues, special needs guests – these categories will help you later on when it is time to assign your guests to their tables.
Allseated’s guest list builder allows you to easily enter all guest information including notes, RSVP’s, and important information with filtering options. The guest list links directly to the seating chart for easy arranging within the wedding floorplan.
While traditional table groupings may involve categories such as family, colleagues, college friends, and family friends, another important category is “specific needs.”
Using the label of “specific needs” is important to make note of those guests who may not be able to walk far into a room, may need close access to a bathroom, or have hearing issues that affect how far away/how close you need to seat them in relation to the band.
Consult your venue
Contact the wedding venue to get a clear idea of the venue layout for your wedding. The venue will also give you ideas regarding the most popular wedding layouts that work and look best in their event space. You can also work with your venue within your event in Allseated to collaborate on the details. Your venue contact can create the layout for you in Allseated and you can work collaboratively on finalizing the floorplan design before moving on to seating guests.
Using Allseated to design the wedding floorplan will ensure that the layout is t0-scale. The floorplan will also make it easy to visualize where everything is located and account for distances from the bar, kitchen, dance floor, and tables to outlet locations.
Design the wedding reception layout
As mentioned in the previous section, when you have a floorplan designed to scale, it will help you to accurately design your layout because you can determine the size of your tables and how many will fit in the space. In addition to including your tables within the floorplan, you should also include the dance floor, the band space, bars, and buffets (if needed), entrances, and exits. It’s also important to mark the entrances, exits, bathrooms, and kitchen.
The wedding floorplan layout should be created once the wedding couple has a pretty good idea of guest count which is usually three to four weeks before the wedding. While it can be done earlier, there will most likely be last-minute changes that can substantially throw off the entire seating plan.
Of interest: 20 Wedding Reception Layout Ideas
When you are creating the floorplan, it is a good idea to start with a few extra tables.
If you have 100 guests and believe that you will need 10 tables, start with a floorplan that has 12 or 13 tables. Even though a 60” round can hold up to 10 guests, you might find that you have a group of nine cousins that need to sit together or you have eight work friends who should sit by themselves. Having the extra tables will give you the flexibility to seat your guests in the best way possible. Also worth noting — brides like to mix table sizes!
You might have a total of 10 tables, but eight will be 60-inch rounds, and two will be 72-inch rounds because you need to have a few larger groups. Again, your options will need to come from the banquet manager at the venue as they will know what will work best in their space and the floorplan has to reflect the needs of the wait staff moving between the tables to serve and clear properly.
Design Wedding Seating Chart
It’s time to start assigning seats! Seating guests in a floorplan when using Allseated makes the process efficient and fun.
Start with the bride and groom
The bride and groom may wish to sit with the bridal party – this may require a special table that can be created using rectangles. Tell your banquet manager that you would like to create a head table that will seat 17 guests and see what they suggest. Or the bride and groom may wish to sit by themselves at what is called a “Sweetheart Table”, or the bride and groom can sit at a family table.
After the bride and groom are set, seat your families, and any remaining bridal party members. The tables around the bride and groom should have immediate family or close friends. As you encounter tricky dilemmas along the way — and you know you will – try seating the difficult person at different tables until you find the space that is best.
Sometimes the room is divided so that the bride and groom are in the middle of the room facing the band and the bride’s family and friends are seated on the right side of the room and the groom’s family and friends are seated on the left side. And sometimes the room is mixed. Again – there is no right or wrong way to do this.
Give the bride’s family and the groom’s family, especially the parents and grandparents, prime tables.
Make sure that they are seated closest to the dance floor and not rows of tables behind the dance floor, not near the kitchen or the exit. Take into account where the music will be playing from!
Seat your young adult guests near the music and don’t seat the older guests too close to the music.
The younger guests will be less likely to mind and probably spend more time out on the dancefloor or mingling. Older guests rarely prefer to be seated near the music, and you want to avoid making anyone uncomfortable.
Take into consideration the relationships and dynamics of your guests.
Keep guests’ interests in mind when putting people together. For example, your Aunt Sarah loves to go skiing and your friend John just got back from a trip. You can put them at the same table so they have the chance to connect. If you have friends from college attending, seat them together to reunite. If you put some thought into matchmaking your guests’ interests, you’ll see a definite payoff and create a friendly atmosphere. Using Allseated, you can clearly assign each guest to their seat in your digital floorplan layout.
Convey all table assignments clearly
Regardless of how you choose to create escort cards, arrange the guests’ names in alphabetical order with legible table assignments in a format that will guide guests to their seats smoothly
Last-minute changes will always occur so be prepared!
A guest may drop out because they get ill or have a family emergency. Or, you have invited a friend as a single but they show up with a date….Be sure to go over the seating plan the night before the wedding, just to confirm any changes that have happened at the last minute.
Plan to bring extra escort cards and a nice pen to make any last-minute changes.
Learn even more about seating charts in our Seating Chart Software Guide.