Wedding seating charts can be like a puzzle– difficult to navigate at first, but fun once you get in the groove.

These puzzle pieces are important to creating a seating arrangement for your wedding reception that works for everyone. After all, you want your guests to get along well and have a great time with their fellow wedding day attendees.

The group will bond over their love for you, but it’s also time to get strategic about where to place everyone. If you’re hiring a wedding planner to help work out the details, they can be a tremendous help with arranging the seating chart. But ultimately, no one knows your family members, close friends, and loved ones better than the bride and groom.

Ceremony seating charts are simpler to build because the family always sits closest to the bride and groom, but everyone else can usually choose where they sit along the aisles. If you want to map out a seating chart for your ceremony as well, try to go about it with a looser approach (a general idea of where to sit but no specific place cards).

There are a few different methods to the madness and approaches that you can take when creating your wedding day reception seating chart.

1. Start with the floor plan

The first place you need to start when approaching your seating chart is the floor plan of your venue: how many tables will you have? How many guests will be sitting at each table? Before you start to decide who will be sitting with who, you need to know those key factors. Generally, reception tables hold 8 or 10 guests.

2. Putting couples together

When you get to the actual placement of guests when building your seating chart, the easiest place to begin is by putting couples together at a table. This makes it easier to plan for event groups, and of course couples will want to sit together. Another thing to consider when doing this is what other couples are friends with the couple you’re trying to place. If they have a few more couple friends, you could easily form a table of 6-8 of just those 3-4 couples. Of course, place your guests with their plus one if they RSVP’d with one.

3. Putting families together

If you have some wedding guests that are not in a couple, place them at a table with their other family members if you can. If there are a few members of a family at your wedding, you can put them at the same table and mix and match with other friends who may be close to the wedding guest. This is where the puzzle idea comes into play, because there may be 2-3 single men or women who have 1 family member or close friend at the wedding. You can add these guests to a table that needs to be filled.

4. Similar interests

Let’s say you’ve already placed all couples and family members at a table together. You still have guests who are going to be there alone, and it’s up to you to find a great seat for them. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself– but it is a kind gesture to try and place guests with others who may have a few things in common with them. Think about a similar line of work, passionate hobbies, hometowns, etc. These guests will likely have a lot to talk about if they sit at the same table for the reception.

5. Seating chart display

Once you’ve worked through who will be sitting with who and where on the floor plan their table will be, the final step is to decide how you will rely this information to your guests. Most frequently, there will be foam board printed in your wedding suite with everyone’s names and associated table numbers grouped together (either in alphabetical order or by table). You can also take it a step further and provide something called an “escort card” where the guest finds their name card, sometimes attached to a trinket or welcome drink, that has their table number on it that they then place at the seat they choose. The final, and most specific approach is placing name cards at each seat for your guests but be mindful this requires a lot of work on your set up staff and day of coordinator to ensure they are all placed at the correct seat.

Remember that while this can seem stressful, it can also be fun! Feel free to relax while you tackle this task and if you are finding the process grueling treat yourself as you accomplish tables, or groups of people along the way.

©CTW Features