Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Take a Seat!

No one ever said planning a wedding was easy.
Add to that the slew of urban legends and
myths associated with wedding planning,
and it can be confusing. While some of these myths
seem simple enough and, on the surface,
sometimes even logical, don't be fooled.
Dispelling the myths of wedding planning
will help you avoid disappointment.
On to the myth...

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:
  • Get a floor plan from the venue that outlines 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. (optional, but usually a good idea).
  • Determine if their are any guests with special needs, such as your grandparents not wanting 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...Post it notes with the guests 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.

HIP TIP: Always be sure to formulate and print out (at least 2) alphabetized guest lists with the guests table assignment. Give the list to the wedding planner, location manager, or banquet captain...you never know when the guest is going to set down the escort card with their cocktail napkin...and bye-bye to the trash it goes.

So, once you have the seating plan down,
you need to direct the guests to the right seat...
and how are you going to do that?....
Look for the next post on escort cards and place cards.


Dragonfly said...

Oooooh - so many things to think about!
I know as a guest I much prefer to be 'told' where I'm sitting!
Have a great day :-)

megmichelle said...

So true. I know when I go to a wedding that has seats already picked it is a relief because you don't have to feel like you might be taking someone's seat.

Tamara McDonald said...

I am such a big fan of the seating chart, that when I have 16 people over for my house at Thanksgiving, they all have a seat assignment complete with a place card. I actually think guests like it and are relieved that they don't have to make those decisions. I can hardly imagine a wedding without one!

Rhiannon Banda-Scott said...

GREAT post!! Thanks for the tips :)

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