Reception Planning

All Of Your Seating Chart Questions Answered

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All Of Your Seating Chart Questions Answered

Planning a wedding, while fun at times, can just be stressful. There are certain tasks and events that are well known for coming with loads of anxiety, and most of them involve your guests. How many will you have? Who will make the cut? And finally – where will they all sit? You might be wondering how you’ll even begin to make a seating chart, and whether or not it’s even important enough to have. Allow us to enlighten you on some reasoning and strategy behind seating charts in order to make this entire process easier for you.

Do I Really Need a Seating Chart?

Here’s the deal: you’re dealing with two or more different family dynamics, all of your friends, the high emotion of a wedding and, likely, an open bar. Can you see where it might be disastrous to not have a seating chart? A seating chart is your only way to control, to some extent, what happens at your reception. Having a cluster of guests all seated at random often invites an open discussion of differences, opinions and ways of life that, frankly, have no business at your wedding. It all stems from typical “Get to know you” conversation, but often ends in futility. Do yourself and your guests a favor… arrange their encounters for them before they ever happen by telling them who they can sit with.

Isn’t it Outdated?

Seating charts are anything but outdated! While you may not be used to seeing them often in a culture who appreciates the flexibility and spontaneity in casual encounters, there’s something classically formal about them that is widely appreciated in a wedding setting. In essence, with two identical weddings, there’s something thoughtful and more formal about one that includes a complimentary guest seating chart. Why? Guests really do enjoy knowing that you thought of them in advance – where they need to sit, who they need to sit with; that way, they don’t have to.

How Do I Group People?

You really have a great amount of flexibility when it comes to grouping your guests. Typically, bridal party will sit together, family will sit together as you deem appropriate, and guests who know each other and get along will sit together (work people together, church people together, etcetera). Don’t overlook deciding who you will sit with! Talk to your partner and families on what makes the most sense as far as where you two will sit; oftentimes, this discussion is forgone and there’s disappointment (usually among family) when bride and groom sit amongst the wedding party. Knowing expectations in advance will help in alleviate any surprise or disappointment. Will you have your own private table? Will you sit with parents? Will you sit with your bridal party?

What About the People Who Don’t Really Know Anyone?

Typically, you never want to isolate any couple or family at a table where they don’t know anyone, although this is usually impossible to completely avoid. If you do need to do that, be thoughtful in your placement to put them with some folks that you know they’ll get along nicely with. Never simply have an “overflow” table, where you place these people who don’t have any specific place. This tactic can appear obviously thoughtless to the guests who are thrown together, and doesn’t often result in a pleasant time.

If you plan in advance to create a seating chart, it really isn’t as stressful as it first seems to be! As an added bonus, your guests will feel well taken care of and treated to a lovely formal evening with friends and family.

Meta-description: Wedding planning can be stressful, especially when it comes to making a seating chart! Here, all of your seating chart questions are answered.

Kate Wilke is the senior digital content producer at 301 Digital Media, and she's the editor of, and When she's not paddle boarding or skiing, she's informing someone about global warming (or cats) over a local double IPA. Follow her on twitter — @Kate_Wilke