MYTH: I do not need a seating plan. I have no time for it and no one cares anyway.
TRUTH: If you are serving a meal (i.e. the guest will need to find a place to sit and eat), a seating plan falls just short of being considered a necessity. A seating plan is a courtesy that simply alleviates any uneasy feeling or uncomfortable moments as guest find a seat at the reception. If you’re planning a cocktail party, or not planning to serve a full meal, a seating plan isn’t necessary, but you should have enough tables and chairs to accommodate all of your guests.
I won't lie, seating plans can be complicated and chances are not everyone is going to be happy, you just have to do your best at match and mixing up the guests. Once the responses are in and accounted for, try these tips to get you going.
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Tips for Creating a Seating Plan
• Get a floor plan from the venue. The floorplan will outline the layout of the room (dance floor, bar, guest book, gift table, etc.).
• Know how many guests can be seated at each table. A good rule to follow is eight to ten guests at a sixty-inch round table.
• Decide where you will be sitting, and where your family and bridal party will be sitting. Also determine what the seating arrangement will be for the wedding party and yourself - a head table, sweetheart table, feasting table, etc.
• Ask for input from your families when determining who should sit where.
• Determine if their are any guests with special needs. For example, grandparents who wouldn't want to be sitting next to the college "party" crowd, or guests with young children being seated right next to the bands speakers. Additionally, be sure to account for any guests with a disability.
• Match guests up by families, where you know them from, or by similar interests. From here you will be playing a card game of sorts, mix and matching until you have the right guests at the “right” seats. Try to avoid playing matchmaker with the single guests, it could be uncomfortable. I have seen brides work with all sorts of "tools" for placing the guests at tables, like post it notes with the guest's names, spread sheets, dry erase boards (think football coach)... you have to decide how you can best visualize the seating arrangements-- there is no right or wrong answer.
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