The dreaded seating chart! Here are our tips to get you started:
First, you will need to decide the format of how you would like your guests to find their seats. We know a lot of people like to keep it casual and have open seating, but we STRONGLY urge you against this decision. It is always a bit messy with people not being able to sit with their friends, close enough to you, or even finding a chair at all. I have never once seen it flow smoothly. It isn't necessary to assign seats if you don't want to, but assigning at least tables can help a great deal.
Here is how it works:
If you would like to assign the seat, you need two forms of information for your guests. First, a sign listing the guest names and their table number. Then, when they get to their table, there is a place card at the seat assigned to them. If you assign the seat, you can give the chart to the caterers ahead of time, and they can serve off of that sheet or use the cards to let them know what dish to serve. (For example, cursive writing means steak, and print means fish)
If you would just like to assign the table, we recommend choosing the method that works best with the foodservice style:
Buffet: With a buffet, the caterers do not need an order from the guests. This means, that you can just have a sign at the front of the room with the list of the table numbers and guests.
Plated: With plated, we suggest place cards laid out in alphabetical order on a table at the exit of cocktail hour with guest names and their table number. This way you can use a code like the one mentioned above to help foodservice flow smoothly.
The other thing to think about is how you would like seating for the head couple and bridal party to be set up. Here are the common options:
King's Table - This is one long table that has seating for the bridal party, their plus-ones, and the couple. This table is usually at the front of the room and is set up where people are only sitting next to each other (not across), so the bridal party and couple is open and facing all of the guests.
Sweetheart's Table - This is usually set up as one small table for just the bride and groom at the front or center of the room.
Throughout - This option is when the couple and bridal party are worked into the tables with the rest of the guests and families.
A combo of the two - This option is my favorite! It is usually done in two ways:
1 - A sweetheart table at the front of the room, and a long table coming out from it into the middle of the room with the bridal party seated on both sides.
2- The other common option is to have a sweetheart table at the front of the room, and a long table coming out to each side for the bridal party. It is very similar to the king's table but creates some space away from everyone else for the couple.
Most importantly: It is your day. Arrange the seats however will make you and your guests most comfortable!