Seating Charts 101

Let’s talk seating charts shall we? More often than not, this particular part of wedding planning leaves brides scratching their heads and sometimes, in more than one argument. Who sits with Uncle Bill? Should I put single people together at one table? What happens if my parents are divorced? Read on, friends, because I’ve got answers!




1. Should I have a head table or not?

Well, this one is a personal choice, and sometimes has to do with space considerations. Sitting down in front of your entire guest list can be a bit intimidating, especially if you’re part of the bridal party. Take into consideration your bridal party’s wishes here – if more people want to be seated with their significant others at a regular table, then go with it. You, as the bride and groom, can choose to have your very own sweetheart table or to seat yourselves with your respective parents.




2. How many tables should I have?

This depends on your guest list and the size of your venue. Generally 8 people to a table is a good number – it allows for maximum versatility (i.e. friends can sit together) but isn’t such a high number that people feel sardined into their spot. If your venue is on the smaller side, consider rectangular tables instead of round, as these take up less space.




3. What do I do if my parents are divorced?

I guess the better question here is: Do your parents get along? Divorce situations can make seating charts tricky. If your parents get along or have decided on a one-day truce to make your day special, then seating them together (with their permission) is the best option for photos and overall seating arrangements. If, your parents prefer to sit separately – or, if one parent has remarried and there are lots of step-family members to incorporate, it’s best to have them at their own table. Either way, it’s best to have a conversation with them about it, to make sure everyone is on the same page for your big day.




4. How do I seat single people at my wedding?

You know your guest list best. If you think there’s enough single people (without +1’s) that will get along, seat them together. You might want to consider putting an ice breaker game at their table to help them feel comfortable with each other. However, if there’s a group of people your single friend would feel more comfortable with, and there is space at that table, seat them there instead. They are more likely to feel at ease if they have people they know nearby. Encourage the +1s for your single guests, especially if they don’t know a lot of your guests. This will give them a wingman/wingwoman for the event which will help them have a good time.




5. Where do my vendors sit?

Your team of vendors are a hardworking group of people, and some of them might be staying through your dinner service. So, what to do with them? Well, for starters: FEED THEM. It’s just common courtesy to give those people who you’ve hired a chance to sit for a short time and a hot meal. Where should they sit? Your venue might have a preference here, but generally seating vendors inside the venue with clear sightlines to the podium is best. You can seat the vendors together at a vendor table (coordinator, planner, photographer, videographer, DJ), or you can seat them at tables you already have laid out but might have space in. If you know your vendors well enough, I suggest seating them at a table where they might have something in common with the guests sitting there – it helps make the small talk go that much easier.


So what now?  Well, starting with these tips in mind, you begin with a blank seating chart from your venue, and beginning with your closest family and friends, seat them closest to you.  It’s nothing personal to your work colleagues or parents’ friends, but if you don’t put your next of kin closest to the head table there might be fighting words!  If you have a large guest list, and therefore lots of tables, you might want to use the time during dinner in between courses to visit your guests table to table – this ensures all your guests get an opportunity to pass along their congratulations.

These tips should get you on the right track – just remember, like with any other aspect of wedding planning, sometimes a little compromise and flexibility are key to ensure a fun, smooth and drama-free evening.

Happy planning!