How to Create a Guest-friendly Seating Chart

Now that you’ve decided who’s invited to your wedding and who’s not, your next big challenge is deciding who sits where for dinner. You don’t need to fight over your seating chart. All you need to do is follow some simple guidelines.

You want happy humans.  Seat married couples together. They’ll be able to share stories and experiences with other married couples at their table. To that end, avoid having an odd number of seats at each table.

Seating the “A” list.  The bride and groom’s parents and grandparents and close relatives and best friends are typically seated closest to the newlyweds. But here’s an important consideration: if you know where your venue plans to place your DJ, don’t seat the grandparents right in front of the DJ’s speakers! They already have a hard enough time hearing table conversations; and adding music from 5 feet away will only make it worse.

Accommodate disabled guests.  Be sure they’re seated where they have unrestricted access to the exits, and a clear view of the head table.

What about the strangers?  If you have a guest who doesn’t know very many people at your reception, identify one or more of your most gracious and talkative guests, and put them at the same table. They’ll make your guest feel welcome and more involved in the festivities.

Bad blood and alcohol don’t mix.  If you’ve invited a divorced couple, or two people who just don’t get along, seat them at opposite ends of the room. That way, when the drinks start flowing, they’ll be too far apart to get into a fight.

Singles like singles.  A single guest does best at a table with other singles. They don’t all have to be single; but putting a single guest at a table full of married couples will make him or her feel left out; and you don’t want that.

Friends like friends.  Dinner hour is not the time to try to force everyone to meet someone new. If you have a group of good friends who know each other, go ahead and seat them all at the same table. They’ll get plenty of time to meet everyone else at the bar and on the dance floor.

Why not just have open seating?  Good question. Here’s a good answer. Open seating increases the likelihood that guests will have to cruise the room for one open seat at a table. Couples may have to sit at separate tables. And people will be paired with a lot more strangers. Open seating is the least desirable option.

Use colored Post-It stickers to experiment with seating options until you’ve settled upon just the right mix. Then create a seating chart that you can post at the entrance to your banquet room. Happy planning!

To learn more about Fourth Estate Audio’s incomparable service, call me at 630.654.4440. I’m here to help.

© Fourth Estate Audio, 2014 – Jay Congdon is president of Fourth Estate Audio, a professional Chicago DJ and Chicago Wedding DJ company.

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