Pro Tips For Creating Your Wedding Reception Seating Chart

March 8, 2023 | nicole

Image by Pablo Laguia

While most aspects of your wedding (i.e., decor, florals, and attire) come together with the help of a mood board, your wedding reception seating chart requires a different skill set. Much like putting together a puzzle, a seating chart is about getting all the pieces in the right place. While there’s a good chance that your guests don’t know everyone attending, placing them at the right table will help ensure that they enjoy the celebration. That’s why we’re gathering tips to help create your seating chart to make the process as stress-free as possible.

Tips For Your Wedding Reception Seating Chart

reception seating chart

Image by Joel & Justyna

Tip #1: Consider Your Guests

We’re listing this tip first because it’s kind of a no-brainer: seat people together who know each other (or who should know each other, but don’t yet)! It’s also a good idea to check in with each other’s in-laws to avoid any accidental tension between family members you or your future spouse may not be aware of. And, of course, don’t forget about dates for your wedding party.

Tip #2: Consider Yourselves

Are you planning to sit at a sweetheart table for just the two of you, or do you need to work yourselves into the seating chart? If a sweetheart table isn’t something you’ve considered, here’s why you might want to. If you do plan to sit at a main table at your reception, will it be with your family or your wedding party? These are all options you should discuss between you and your partner.

Tip #3: Consider Your Space

Before you start grouping your loved ones, double-check the size of each table you will have access to. Each different table size comfortably fits a different number of guests. Use the guide below as a cheat sheet for knowing how many guests can fit around each table. Keep in mind that you won’t want to have anyone sitting at the heads of your rectangle tables.

Tip #4: Consider Your Surroundings

Once you’ve taken your space into account, it’s important to set your tables around the room appropriately. For instance, older guests will likely appreciate being seated near the bathroom and/or exit and away from the dance floor, loud speakers, and children’s table. On the other hand, younger guests can be dance floor ready with a seat nearby. Seating children at their own table is fun for everyone, but be sure their parents have easy access to check in on their little ones.

Tip #5: Talk To The Professionals

Once you’ve taken your guests, yourselves, and your space into consideration, talk to the professionals. Your planner can likely give you a basic seating chart that you can then personalize based on your guest list. They’ll be able to share a layout based on your venue and they’ll know exactly where to place tables to maximize the space.

Image by The Salt Studio

Tip #6: Skip Assigned Seats

You’re going to make things far more stressful for yourself if you decide to not only assign tables, but assign seats as well. While there’s nothing wrong with giving guests a specific table to sit at for the evening, your guests are going to want the freedom to sit where they please once at the table. If they don’t like the seat, they may end up moving it, which means that you went through all of that effort for nothing.

Tip #6: Be Prepared For Change

No matter how perfectly you map out your seating chart, there are some things you can’t control–such as a last-minute cancellation or plus-one addition. Write your seating chart in pencil, discuss any changes you foresee with your planner or coordinator, then hand the chart off so you can focus on getting married. Changes happen and, for the most part, guests are willing to go with the flow–especially when they’re the ones responsible for game time shake-ups.

Now that you’ve figured out how to tackle your reception seating chart, it’s time to think about how you want to point your guests to their table. We’ve seen our fair share of incredible seating charts, which is why we’ve rounded up some of our favorites for you to use as inspiration!

Image by The Tinsley Co.

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  1. Thanks for this! I’m struggling with my seating now, it’s been really challenging for me. We want the bridal table to be a big, long table while the majority of the others will be smaller and round. We’ve been using the wedding seating chart maker from AllSeated. Essentially, it’s a wedding seating chart template that helps you plan your layout and upload your guests. It’s definitely helpful, but it hasn’t given us specifics like this regarding which sizes are best. Thus, I greatly appreciate your advice! Do you have any other tools (aside from this one I found from AllSeated) that you’d recommend? Any recommendations would be tremendously helpful. Thanks!!

  2. A debt of gratitude is in order for this! I’m battling with my seating now, it’s been truly trying for me. We need the marriage table to be a major, long table while most of the others will be littler and round

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