The Seating Chart Dilemma

Your wedding day is almost here, the RSVPs have begun to pile in and now it is time to decide how you would like to seat your guests.

Are you planning on having Escort Cards? Do you think having a Display with everyone's names at the entrance of your venue is closer to the vision you have for your special day? No matter what your aesthetic, the seating arrangements for your wedding day can turn out to be a stressful time during wedding planning.

When doing the seating arrangements for our wedding in June my fiance referred to the seating plan to be "as intense as war room tactical plans". Between family dynamics and trying to keep guests within the same age group, there is an endless supply of reasons why this process can turn into a nightmare. Since we can't control the "decade old feuds" within our family history, we can at least make the process a bit easier by choosing the right tools for the job.

The best advice I received for putting our seating plan together was being told to use Post-It Flags. They come in an assortment of colors and are the perfect size for placing around a diagram of tables. I suggest color coding your guests into three different categories, Bride's Family, Groom's Family and Friends. Even though this seems a bit like overkill, it will be worth it in the long run. Color coding the different groups of guests enables you to take a step back and see your seating arrangement, not based on names, but based on group. After looking at the names for so long they can all begin to look the same, but with different colored flags you can see the flow of your seating arrangement through the groups of guests and make adjustments accordingly. Another great advantage to using the Post-It Flags is that you can rearrange them over and over again without affecting the diagram below.

Once you have your Post-It Flags labeled with your guests names, grab a large piece of poster paper and draw out how many tables you will be having at your reception. Be sure to draw them to match the type of tables you will be using during your reception, i.e. rounds, rectangles, etc.. It is important to keep the number of guests you can fit at a table in mind so if you notice one table may need to be larger you can notify your venue. For us, we are having round tables that only seat 6 guests, not your standard size tables, so when we started putting our arrangement together we realized some of them would have to be changed into rectangular tables that could seat 8 guests.

Now that your tables are drawn and your Post-Its are labeled it is time for the fun part! I found it easiest to place people we knew would be a perfect fit together. Grandparents and Great-Aunts/Uncles together, Aunts & Uncles grouped with each other, cousins who are all the same age at the same table and friends who all have known each other for years reminiscing together. Even grouping your Bridal Party into the mix can be one of the easiest groups to place. You may not be able to fill every table on this first pass, but it will get the bulk of your guests onto the board. After your initial pass you can take a look and see where your group