Thank you to Minted for partnering with me on this post. Tips, opinions, and experiences are 100% my own.
Photos by Anton Drummond
Planning seating for your wedding can be one of the hardest tasks as it gets closer to your special day. You’ll run into issues of who can’t sit next to who because they don’t get a long. And you’ll talk to your soon-to-be spouse about whether, if you sit two people at the same table, will their personalities clash.
You’ll change the seating plans about 3-4 times, and people will drop out of coming at the last second and you’ll have empty seats in places. These things happen.
To avoid the extreme stress of your seating arrangement, here are some tips that I received before planning and some that I figured out a long the way.
1 – You Don’t Have to Follow Traditions
Some couples like to do sweetheart tables. We did not. But if you choose to, you don’t have to put your bridal party at the table right near yours. And you don’t have to have the parents all sitting at the same table – they may want to sit with their other family members.
You can place people where they will be the most comfortable. And if that includes letting one of your bridesmaids sit at table 6 next to her plus one then that works out perfectly. When it all comes down to it, you all will be up and dancing and talking and mingling. The seats are just for the 30 minutes of eating and the toasts.
2 – Pick A Simplistic Table Number Theme That Works for You
When I started trying to put together the decor for my tables, I started with the table numbers and place cards. I had been so memorized by the various Pinterest posts from various blogger brides and articles that showed these extravagant place cards and table numbers, and I felt that I needed to have them too. But when looking at the cost, I began to think whether I wanted to spend all of this money on the etched glass place card that, at the end of the day, would either get lost at my guests’ homes or end up in the trash.
For our wedding, we decided to go with a simplistic but beautiful place card and table number set from Minted.
The table numbers were able to be customized with our names and our wedding hashtag which saved us money from having to create another card to put on the table with the hashtag separately. The suite also included matching table number cards that were easily able to be uploaded into the website suite and sent within a timely fashion.
We ordered our place cards and table numbers about 2 weeks before the wedding, and received them within a week of ordering. And they came out perfectly.
3 – Don’t Stress About How You Think People Will Feel About Their Seat
Many brides fall into the trap of worrying about how a family member or friend is going to feel if his or her seat is too far away from the head table. Honestly, the tables are close enough that they will see you and again, once the eating is over, no one is going to be in seats anyway.
Additionally, everyone is going to have a different vantage point depending on the layout of your venue. For our wedding, a certain selection of tables were closer to the food – so they were able to eat sooner. Another set of tables was closer to the dance floor, so they were able to see everyone dancing and only a few steps to take when they needed a break. Another group of tables was closer to the head table, so they were front and center for the toasts. Then another collection was closer to the door that we entered through, so they were able to take the better pictures of our entrance.
There is not going to be one table that is going to have the perfect view or seat for everything in the wedding. So don’t stress over where you feel like you need to seat people in relation to the head table or any other aspect of the reception.
4 – Group the People Together First, Then Place the Tables
I found that it was easier to make a list of tables (without attaching the tables to table numbers) and then start listing people that would be great at a table together.
You want your guests to feel comfortable with who they are sitting with primarily. Where the table is will no longer matter once they are deep into conversation and having a good time with the people at the table with them.
Then once you have everyone in a seat put together those place cards, and then start placing tables according to the floor plan set by your venue.
Put the biggest dancing group further away from the dance floor as they will make their way there either way – then the non-dancers can sit up front and be able to watch. That may entice them to get on the dance floor themselves.
If you have guests that get hangry (we all have those people in our lives – I’m one of them) put them in the tables that will be called for first dinner. Don’t need anyone having a fit because their stomach needs to be filled.
After all is said and done, enjoy your day and don’t stress about these things. I realized that after all of the stressing about my seating arrangements, it didn’t really matter when the party started. No one was really in seats and everyone got along magically.