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Reception Seating Chart: Yes or No?

  • 3 min read

If you know anything about wedding planning, then you’re aware that the wedding reception seating chart can be one of the biggest headaches when it comes to planning. It’s a giant puzzle piece that has to be jigsawed together right when you’re down to the last few weeks. So the question we always hear from brides - is a reception seating chart necessary?!

While we know it can be a total pain, in today’s blog, we’re here to share why it’s one of the necessary evils when it comes to wedding planning. 

Avoid reception chaos

Toasting to the bride and groom at wedding reception

Let’s imagine two scenarios:

  1. You don’t have a seating chart at yourreception. Guests walk into the cocktail hour, or if you’re not having a cocktail hour, they walk into the reception space and instead of relaxing, meandering, oohing and awwing over the gorgeous venue, they all bolt to find seats so that they’re sitting next to their friends or family. Groups arrive at tables and realize there’s not enough spots for everyone so they start moving chairs from one table and cramming it into theirs. They don’t have enough place settings now but they don’t care, it’s not their problem. It’s like the middle school lunchroom all over again -mass chaos.
  2. Now imagine scenario two. You do have a reception seating chart. And to avoid some of the pain when it comes to reception seating, you don’t even have to have assigned seats, just assign your guests to a TABLE. Now, when they walk in, they're not stressed and clamoring over each other to find a seat. They grab a drink, chat with a friend and then casually walk over to the seating chart or placecard table to find where they’re supposed to sit. No one is left out because everyone has a table to sit at, place settings are all accounted for, and no chairs are stolen from one table to the next. 

Assign tables NOT seats

Now, we know it’s definitely more of astressor for you as the bride (and groom) to have to figure out seating assignments when you’re just days away from your wedding BUT wouldn’t you rather have scenario two on your actual wedding day?! A little pain today for a lot of gain on the big day, trust us! 

Wedding reception table outside near a lake

To save you some of the headache, however,you do not need to do assigned seats. Instead, simply assign tables.We know this is still work, but it is a little less work ;) 

Assign your guests to groups like work colleagues, college friends, etc. and start seating them at tables this way. If you have more guests in a group then you can fit at a table, break them up and put them at tables next to each other. It is a bit of a puzzle at first but we promise it will be worth it.

List guests alphabetically, not by table # 

Woman in little black dress toasting to bride and groom at wedding reception

One more tip to remember with your seating chart, instead of labeling it by table numbers with names underneath, write out yourguests’ name alphabetically by last name and then put the guests’ table number out to the side of their name. This way guests can easily find their name and there won't be a backup at the beginning of your reception with people desperately trying to find their name.

There is so much more to unpack when it comes to wedding reception seating charts and planning so if you feel like you need more help, be sure to check outThe Wedding Planning Formula Membership, which walks you step-by-step through the wedding planning process.