How to Create a Wedding Seating Chart


Wedding seating charts can be one of the most complicated tasks of the entire wedding planning. You must sit down with your partner and arrange who should be next to who. You might event feel that you are wasting time, because we both know there are more important issues than where guests sit.

Your seating chart is important & we’ll cover what you need to know

If you have no idea where to start and how to create the perfect wedding seating chart, we have your back with our simple guide to finding a seat for each guest and enjoying your big celebration without stressing out. So follow our guide below and avoid the chaos of who sits where.

Average Read Time: 5 minutes 30 seconds

The Basics of a Seating Chart

Let’s be honest, every family is different. We recommend grouping your tables together by categories. For example, family can gather at a table & co-workers of the bride and groom at another table. You can even make a “fun” table, where all the friends of the bride and groom sit. Last but not least make a special table for children & out of town guests.

You might even consider leaving the seating chart to the side and allow your guests to take the seat they prefer. However, this can become a decision that you could regret later. What if guests feel uncomfortable and later complain. Also we recommend you have some seating seat aside for your team of events pros to plan vendor meals.

Who wants to take a seat by themselves at a table full of strangers

An orderly list of the guests and their seats will make things easier for your catering staff if there are assigned entree choices. If you choose to let your guests take any seat they prefer, you might end up with single seats scattered around tables. This can be uncomfortable for guests to sit at a table with people they don’t know. Even worse, this is difficult for couples to find a open area with 2 available seats.

Where to Seat Your Family

Most families are easy-going and stress-free. It is traditional to have your head table centered on the room with one side of family on the left and one on the right. You can have a bride and groom table and assign one table to each nuclear family.

Seating your close family and friends near the dance floor allows them to get in the pictures during formalities. Just imagine their reaction in the background of your photos to effects like dancing on a cloud or even with indoor fireworks!

There are situations where parents have uncomfortable relationships because of separation or divorce. To help with that, we suggest two alternatives to avoid any conflict. First, set them at two different tables & place them with people they know. This can be anyone they have a close friendship with. Keep both people the same distance from your head table. It is all about making them feel equally special ❤️

Sit down & talk to any family beforehand so there are no issues

A second option to avoid separating family is to seat them at opposite ends of the table. This will help to minimize interaction while having them at the same family table. Finding the right seat for close family is always the hardest task. Once you get past those tables we promise your wedding seating chart will get easier.

Where to Seat Your Guests

After you figure out where to seat the parents and nuclear family, it is time to move forward with the rest of your guest tables. The best way to start is by grouping them. For example, family, close friends, family friends, coworkers, etc. This sounds simple, however similar sized groups will take some extra time.

You can even have fun and group tables by themes like famous cities so there is less focus on assigned seating

Once your groups are ready, it is time to fit guests at their tables. Consider some groups might be smaller or larger than the number of seats per table. This is when you might need to do a little bit of math. Perhaps your family table has ten seats, and you have 12 family members. If you have a couple of close friends and family who have met and get along, you can sit them together as (2) sets of 10 people. Consider age, common interests & the place where they met to complete tables.

DIY Tip: Have 8 guests to a table if you have too much space and need more tables, 10 guests to a table is typical, 12 guests to a table is the max (but can be uncomfortable).

Put Yourself in Their Shoes

You might still have a couple of guests left to accommodate after seating groups and solving family table issues. The best you can do is put yourself in their shoes and figure where they would enjoy being seated. There is nothing worse than sharing dinner with a group you do not get along with.

Think about their personalities. Are they energetic and dancers? Do they like to meet new people or prefer the comfort of long-time friends? Or do they prefer less attention? Answering those questions will let you know if you can place them with your cousins, aunts or close friends. Knowing if they are attending with a partner is also important because single guests need extra attention. Seat them with a group that will embrace them.

The location of their seats is also important to provide them with a comfortable time during your wedding. For example, we recommend to place elderly guests away from your band & speakers. You can also accommodate people in wheelchairs or on crutches near bathrooms for easy access. If you are setting a special table for children, make sure it is near parents and in a safe location.

As a plus tip, do not forget about your vendors. They will need to have a seating area to rest. This is important for those burning a lot of calories working your reception. You can even provide privacy for them with a partitioned wall from drapery. A temporary wall with pipe and drape is good because they are still in the room. The drapery still allows them to know what’s going on during dinner.

Get a Third Opinion

Seating charts are not an easy task; if both you and your partner are over it and do not find a solution, you can always rely on a fresh set of eyes to figure it all out. Your maid of honor, mother, mother-in-law or close friend might be just what you need to solve the issues. Whenever you feel overwhelmed by wedding plans be certain your close loved ones will help.

Asking for help is always a good idea

If you feel individual seating is too much to deal with, then skip seating assignment and assign tables instead. This way your guests and staff will know which tables your guests should sit. You are still giving them the flexibility to choose their actual seat. This works perfect when you are less worried about awkward relationships between family & friends.

Create a Diagram of Your Table Seating Chart

So let’s recap, we have already talked about how important it is to make a seating chart. Another important element to add to your guests experience is chemistry. Consider several groups to make them feel more comfortable at the party. Let’s translate all these ideas into something visual.

You can physically diagram this digitally, draw it, or even use Legos! Make sure the size is right by seeing what the tables and guests will look like at your actual wedding. Sometimes having a visual idea will prevent you from making big mistakes.

How Will You Seat Your Guests

When it comes to wedding planning, seating charts are a lifesaver. They bring organization and control to your celebration. This allows you to rest knowing everyone will get along at their designated table. Finally, keep in mind seating charts are useful only during dinner. After that, everyone will grab a chair and seat where they prefer.  Do not overthink it and most importantly have fun.

- XO Team Ship

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