As a host, your goal is to create an environment conducive to enabling your guests to fully enjoy themselves; and hopefully, along the way, create lasting memories. While assigned seating for weddings, Quinceañera, Bar Mitzvahs, and sit-down formal events certainly isn’t mandatory, assigned seating does make things simpler for the catering staff and guests alike.
There are no longer any hard and fast, set in stone rules, for implementing a seating chart, but you can create the perfect seating arrangement for your guests by following your heart and using some, or all, of the following, tried and true tips for your game plan. Don’t be afraid, it may seem daunting at first, but once you start, you may actually think it’s fun!
When and How to Create Your Perfect Seating Chart
1. Head Count. Have your guest list available. Once you know how many people are coming, then you can figure out how many tables you will need and how to arrange everyone. Include even those who have not RSVP’d yet, (but who you believe will attend) as you may need to add them at the last minute.
2. Categorize Guests into Groups. By grouping guests according to how you know them, such as: family, college friends, work associates, parents’ friends, etc. it will make it clearer how to seat your guests
3. Floor Plan. It’s a good idea to get the floor plan of the venue and make several copies, so you can experiment with various arrangements before making your final decision.
4. Table shapes. Round, square, oval, or rectangle…Decide on the shape of the tables you would like to use, as the size and shape will actually dictate how many guests can be seated at each table.
5. Head Table or Dais. Usually, this is the centrally located table, to which others are built around and is near the dance floor, unless you intend to have a sweetheart table. For weddings, include the bridal/wedding party (and their dates, if you have space).
The best man is seated to the right of the bride; the maid or matron of honor sits to the groom’s left. The remainder of the wedding party is seated outward from the bride and groom, alternating groomsmen and bridesmaids.
For fundraisers/corporate events and other types of parties, the head table is reserved for the guest(s) of honor, significant others, close associates, friends and/or family.
6. Parents Table. There are two ways to approach this; traditionally, the immediate families of both the bride and groom’s share a table, with any siblings (not in the wedding party) and their grandparents. This helps blend the families, offering an opportunity to get to know each other better while they beam with pride.
Some brides and grooms opt for having a couple/few tables with the bride’s and groom’s immediate family seated at separate tables. This is certainly a clever approach when there are divorced parents and stepfamilies involved. This can be a little more complicated, but with a little finesse and discussion with your loved ones, pre-seating planning, you can successfully pull it off with little to no confusion or hurt feelings.
You can include the officiant at this table as well.
7. Friends’ Tables. Seat your friends, close by, near the dance floor, with their plus-ones and mutual friends. Set up separate tables for both the groom’s friends (and possibly co-workers) and for the bride’s friends (and co-workers) together. Resist the temptation to create a separate “singles table”, which might embarrass your guests, however, don’t seat your unmarried friend at a table full of married couples, unless they want to seat with them. Use your best judgment and try to be sensitive to guests’ feelings.
8. Relatives’ Tables. Usually you seat the bride’s family together and the groom’s family together with their children unless you opt for a separate children’s table.
9. Children’s Tables. If you have several children at your event, seat them together at a separate kids’ table. Plan ahead and have activities and/or crafts set up at their table to keep them occupied. More and more hosts are arranging for a sitter and/or entertainment specifically aimed at their young guests.
10.Table Cards Should Be Easy to Find. Make sure the table numbers, table cards and/or seating chart is easy to locate for your guests and staff.
Try to be accommodating, if friends or family have special seating requests, but don’t get it stressed you out. After all, after the meal, everyone will get up to dance and mingle anyway.
So, enjoy and let Special Events Tent and Party Rentals help you make your special day a huge success, from start to finish.
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