Once you get all the RSVPs back, it’s about time you started sorting out who will sit where. Considering family dynamics, friendships, accommodating groups, and other concerns can be a massive challenge.
A lot of wedding couples and their planners are toying with their seating charts right up until the last minute!
Listing names is best done in conjunction with your wedding’s level of formality. Formal weddings should stick to full names with prefixes, while more casual wedding seating charts can take liberties like using only first and last names.
Organizing your tables and listing your seating chart are two small wedding planning details that contribute to the overall reception.
When done right, your wedding seat chart will help guests find their place and make everyone excited about what’s to come.
Here are some guidelines to help you find the best ways to list your wedding seating chart so guests can find where they need to go faster or locate someone else they aren’t sitting with.
Make Your Wedding Seating Chart Easy to Read
The most important thing for any wedding seating chart is for your guests to be able to read it quickly and easily. Then, they should enter the venue, spot the seating chart, and know where they are supposed to go in seconds.
If it’s hard to read, you’ll have a crowd in confusion around the seating chart. Here are some things that will help make your seating chart easy to read.
Don’t overdo it with the font. You’ll want something that looks attractive and fits your wedding theme. Some fancy calligraphy fonts are just plain hard to read.
Keep things simple and balanced to help everyone from younger children to older guests read the chart without too much trouble.
Once you walk up to a seating chart and see some As and Bs at the top, you know what to do. Your guests will too.
You should list the names alphabetically in one column and their table number in the other column to the right.
If you have a lot of guests, you should put larger letters on the left side of the names to denote where each section of names is in the alphabet.
The larger letters will shorten the time it takes for guests to find their names.
By Table Number
The next best option is to list names on wedding charts by table number.
However, with table numbers, it’s going to take a bit more time to find their names, which is why alphabetical name charts are so popular.
Guests can end up going through every table at the wedding until they find their name on the last one.
However, if a wedding guest knows who they are sitting with, they can scan the chart for names they recognize. It can also help them figure out who is sitting at the table before sitting down.
Some people like knowing who they’ll be next to for the next several hours.
Skip the Wedding Party Tables
If your wedding has reserved tables for the party, you can skip both the tables and the names on the seating chart.
It will save you space and help your guests from having to scan so many names.
Instead, just tell the wedding party where they will be sitting at the rehearsal dinner. Typically, the wedding party tables are right up front, so most people will naturally know where to go.
Grouping Seating Charts by Couples
Some wedding couples and their planners choose to list names by the couple. They still follow alphabetical order, but it’s nice to see couples’ names together when you go into the venue.
Other guests also appreciate couples and families grouped together so they can learn people’s names before they meet them for the first time.
The best way to do this is to first list the name of who you are closest to.
So, for instance, if your cousin is bringing a guest who you haven’t met first, the cousin’s name will go on top, and the guest’s name will be on the bottom.
People hosting weddings who are from more traditional families will list couples with Mr. and Mrs. followed by the husband’s name.
This is regarded as the most formal way to list names in some circles but may feel a bit outdated at modern weddings.
Instead, you can list names like this:
Mr. Stephen Thompson
Mrs. Mary Thompson
Mrs. Mary Williams
Mr. Carl Williams
Of course, if they have different names, use them. Listing names according to who you know best is an easy way to get away from always listing names based on gender.
For more casual weddings, feel free to drop the prefixes and just use names.
Avoid the temptation to only go with something like “The Smith Family” because you may end up with more than one family with the same name. Your guests will also be looking for their first names, so include them.
Consider a Seating Chart Diagram
It will help your guests tremendously if they know which table they’re assigned to, and they know where the table is.
Finding a table is no big deal at a wedding with ten or fewer tables, but a large, fancy wedding makes this much more challenging.
In a dimly lit venue, guests wander around, peering through the darkness, looking for table numbers.
You likely don’t want your table numbers to be huge or anything, so placing a seating diagram on a table next to the charts is an enjoyable way to guide guests to their seats.
Make Your Wedding Seating Chart Digital
If you have your seating chart finished in time, you can also create a digital chart where people can take a peek at where they’ll sit ahead of time.
Doing this, however, opens the door for people to make special requests for seating changes.
Other Things to Keep in Mind
There are a lot of supposed rules around wedding seating.
If you ask friends or look online, you’ll see and read all types of opinions on who should sit and where. They’ll tell you to put friends closer, have a kids’ table, and sit all the singles together.
Those, however, are simply suggestions. There are no actual rules when it comes to wedding seating.
Ideally, you’ll seat people where they can be around a mix of people they know and other people who you want them to meet.
Preferably, you’ll have enough time to consider who should sit where and build your wedding seating chart accordingly. That will mean semi-aggressively hunting down any non-responses from your invitation list.
Getting people to RSVP in a timely manner is one of the biggest challenges in planning wedding seating.
It seems like every wedding is a scramble due to last-minute invitation responses. You’re always stressed about finding a seat for your friend from college who decided to send in their RSVP past the deadline.
In the End
You can’t get too caught up with seating charts. Just do your best. If possible, you can have a couple of tables in the venue with a spare seat here or there where people can squeeze in.
If you build that consideration into your planning, you won’t be so stressed out when it inevitably happens.