When it comes to the wedding reception, most brides are already dreading one of the most tedious tasks included in the wedding planning process – creating the reception seating plan.
Photo: Christy Wilson Photography
Basically, having a seating plan for the wedding reception is optional for any couple, or for any other occasion or gathering. It is up to the hosts to decide whether they would want to organize a seating plan for each guest or if the guests can simply find their own seats upon arriving at the venue. With free-for-all seating, the guests are welcome to choose who they would want to sit with or sit away from, thus creating a more relaxed and more laid-back atmosphere. The drawback is only for the guests who come to the venue late, who are left with filling in vacant spots in others’ tables or for groups who are not seated together as well.
Having a seating plan allows you to have full control of all the guests while maintaining a somewhat formal tone as the guests come into the reception. Because you know everyone who has been invited, you and your husband-to-be can call the shots when it comes to who sits where. In turn, this creates a more harmonious and cohesive seating plan, knowing that you will know where to find your grandma and that you don’t have to worry about your college roommate feeling left out during dinner service.
Photo: Caley Newberry
To achieve a stellar seating plan, it all boils down to how great you and your bridal team are in planning. Here are a couple of great tips we can give you when it comes to creating a kickass seating plan for your wedding reception dinner.
Start early to finish early.
The seating chart may be started as early as the first RSVP card returns to you. These might come in one after another or it might come raining in at a single week, so it would be best to have a system of how you take note of these responses and how you can store them all neatly together for easy referencing in the future. It would be overwhelming to do them all in one sitting, especially for weddings with upwards of 200 guests, so getting the work done inch by inch throughout the entire planning months is key.
Easy, peasy, handy apps.
What might be dreadful during the entire process is the complicated processes and systems. Before, brides would use wooden boards, miniature models of the venue, or even those old school styrofoam cut-outs. Now, take the planning out of the house and bring it wherever, whenever through spreadsheet files and mobile apps. It actually makes sense because if tweaking is easy and the charts are accessible, then it’s easier for you to spend 5-10 minutes per day updating the plan and adding on RSVP responses.
Have a plan B.
Just in case a couple of guests don’t show up or in case a random cousin who said she won’t come suddenly appears, have a predetermined place for the wild cards. Don’t be afraid to list their names down on a piece of paper or pin the list down in your group chat with the bridesmaids or your planner so they know where to direct the guests, just in case.
Sprinkle in a little bit of creativity.
Now, the fun begins. Incorporating the seating plan into the wedding theme is the main challenge here as you try to find a great way of showcasing the seating plan – be it through escort cards, place cards, or through the seating chart displays that greet the guests upon arrival.
Be a little extra.
Take it to the next level and reinforce your stellar seating plan through various other ways of incorporating it. Personalized favors double as name cards when placed on the guests’ exact seats. For intimate weddings, you and your hubby-to-be may leave a handwritten note for the guests right at their own assigned seats. It might mean getting to do more work on your part but your beloved family and friends will cherish that sweet little note they got from you on your memorable wedding day.