There are a plethora of decisions to make while planning a wedding. Finding the perfect venue, caterer, planner, bridesmaids, ring bearers, theme, flowers, decorations, oh and don’t forget about the dress. As a wedding planner and event coordinator, I believe that the perfect wedding is possible with all of the above. BUT, you cannot have the perfect wedding without spending the time to make a seating chart. Do you really want your extremely conservative grandmother sitting next to your loose-lipped drunk roommate from college? It could make for a good story down the road, but will probably cause unnecessary chaos during one of your special days. Seating arrangements solve very simple issues that no one really thinks about; guest want to feel organized – even if they don’t know it. In the end, it reduces stress all around.
For your guests, seating charts will simplify the experience of deciding where to sit and who to sit with/next to. I have watched this situation unfold time and time again: your guests arrive unsure if there is a seating chart, wait about 10 minutes, come get a drink, set their belongings down somewhere, realize their family and/or friends will not fit at the chosen table, and be forced to move elsewhere (after already messing up the napkin and spilling on the table). Just writing this list gives me a headache from uncertainty. Friends and family members should feel relaxed; a simple chart placed at the entryway of your reception will solve this. Plus you or your planner can get super creative with how you show people to their tables!
Dinner without organized seating can turn into a free for all. Sure, you can have the DJ announce what table to get in line for a buffet-style dinner, but there’s always that one table that breaks the line. Working an event where there were no table numbers, the DJ had to walk from table to table for the guests to go to the buffet. No seating arrangement and a served dinner? No go. The coordinator, AKA me, has to walk to each table and try to see what they ordered on their name card that they grabbed at the front. Even worse if the coordinator couldn’t see the card they have interrupted the conversation to ask what that guest had. Most of the time they don’t remember or pick something different. This ultimately delays the scheduled time for the rest of the reception.
Let’s just say you are totally not into a seating chart because this is a wedding, not the 3rd grade! Here is your plan: make sure you have a couple extra tables. Say you have 150 guests coming to your reception, and at every table is 10 people. Plan on having at least 17 tables, this will help the overflow that way guests can sit with who they want instead of having to be separated because there is 1 spot at table 3, and the other at table 7. Or even worse they make that table of 10 a table of 11. I’ve seen it go as high as 14 before and it looked very uncomfortable.
At the end of the day, you got married and get to spend the rest of your life with your partner. However, whenever I ask my couples what’s most important to them, they say “I want my guests to enjoy themselves and have a good time”. So do your family and friends a solid and organize them or spend a little extra money and get those extra overflow tables.