Thursday, October 7, 2010

Wedding reception seating

With some tact and common sense, you can make a seating plan that will make nearly everyone happy.

You may feel that if you supply enough seats, everybody can determine where to sit on their own. But, if you take the time to create a plan, you'll ease your guests' anxiety of attempting to find a seat, and it ensures that couples who want to sit together can. If you have under 50 people attending your wedding, a detailed plan may not be necessary. Additionally, you could choose to just identify the bridal table with place cards and let other guests seat themselves; some couples choose to have a cocktail party or buffet with few tables, hoping the guests will "alternate" sitting and eating. If you choose to do this, be sure that elderly guests have somewhere to sit-- you could even designate an individual table for them.

So, who sits where?

The bridal table: The newlyweds might sit at a long, rectangluar head table, at a round table in the center or have their own "sweetheart" table. On the other hand, some couples don't have a table at all and leave some empty seats at each table so they can interact during the reception. Typically, the bridal table is set apart from the others by the type of decoration.

Family tables. Usually, the parents of the couple sit opposite of one another at a big family table with grandparents, the officiant and other close friends. Another option: The couple's parents "host" their own tables with their family members and close friends. And when it comes to divorced parents, each parent might host his or her own table which would help prevent discomfort.

Mix or match. When it comes to everyone else, you may be wondering if you should put friends together or put them with people they may not know. You should do a little of both. Yes, it's a good idea to throw in a few new places at every table, but people are more at ease when they know some of the people they're dining with.

Singles vs. Couples. Perhaps you've really been wanting to set your college roomate up with your fiance's best friend. It's okay to discreetly seat them next to one another. One thing you don't want to do is make a separate "singles" table; this may embarrass guests. Additionally, be careful not to place an unmarried friend at a table with a bunch of giddy newlyweds.

Children. If several children are at your reception, seat them together at a separate kids' table. If, however, only the flowergirl and ringbearer are there, they can sit with their parents.

Once you've figured out where everyone will go, you have to choose how you're going to guide them to their seats:

Place cards: These are tented cards, and they can be used by themselves or with escort cards. They are displayed close to the reception entrance in alphabetical order and typically include the guest's name and table number. When they reach the table, guests generally choose where to sit.
Escort cards: These are used in the most formal seating arrangments. They usually have the guest's name on the outer envelope and the table number on the card inside. The place cards on each table indicate where each guest sits.
The seating chart: These are generally displayed alphabetically in a nice frame close to the reception entrance and are lists of the guests' names with their tables. Additional place cards can be used at each table to signify assigned seats.
Do not, under any circumstance, use nametags. Your guests can make any introductions you haven't made beforehand.

Prior to making your seating arrangements, you should get the floor plan and make some copies. By doing this, you can try out different arrangements before you make the final choice. If you have any doubts, trust you instincts. And remember, it doesn't matter how perfect your final plan seems, someone will probably ask you to alter something to make a guest happy. You should try to be accommodating, but don't let it drive you crazy.

Source; Photo Credit

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