If you are planning a low-key buffet-style event with only fifty guests in attendance, you could probably forego the formality of a wedding seating chart. However, a formal dining experience with table service requires a little planning to forego the chaos. We have some tips for creating a wedding seating chart that avoids disaster.
Wedding Seating Chart During the Ceremony
It is becoming a trend to allow guests to choose their seat. A small informal wedding does not need to follow all the formal rooms. However, if a larger wedding is not organized properly, chaos can ensue. To avoid splitting families and leaving dueling uncles with the last two seats next to each other, there are a few rules to follow. Traditionally, an usher escorts guests to a seat. According to the standard rules, the couple’s parents get a front row seat to this event. Close family also shares the front row, which might include brothers and sisters who are not participating in the ceremony. These special VIPs get a reserved block with labels and special ribbon. It is important to share your wedding seating chart with the ushers to avoid confusion. Traditionally, the bride’s family sits to the left side of the aisle, while the groom’s family takes the right. Even if you are allowing your guests to seat themselves, you should keep the front rows reserved for special guests.
Seating Late Guests
It is never considered fashionably late during a wedding ceremony. It is always an interruption, and important to avoid it. Without fail, there will be that one group that keeps time with the flow of the wind. Late guests should never interrupt the ceremony. Create a place for late arrivals to wait at the rear of the ceremony site. You can choose to have them slip in the back row to a special section, if it would not create a distraction.
Seating Divorced Parents
Be considerate when seating divorced parents. The bride’s mother usually sits in the first row on the left. If she has remarried, she should be seated with her new husband and her family, including her stepfamily. If she is single, she sits alone. Traditionally, the father of the bride escorts the bride down the aisle. The wedding seating chart might include a space for the father to join his new wife and family in the row behind his former wife. Always consider the unique relationship and circumstances of the divorced family.
Seating for Unique Situations
Sometimes the bride is raised by the father and stepmother, and lacks a relationship with the mother. When this happens, the wedding seating chart can take a slightly different shape. The father of the bride would sit in the front row with his wife. The mother would sit in the second row or take another place on the wedding seating chart. The bride’s feelings should always make the decisions. The closer a person is emotionally, the closer they should be physically.
Wedding Seating Chart for the Reception
Traditionally, the newlywed couple sits at a sweetheart table or with the wedding party at a head table that faces the reception tables. The table can be placed on an elevated stage, but is almost always in the center for all to view. There are a couple different ways to create a wedding seating chart for your wedding party. The wedding party can be separated with a table for the bride’s party and a table for the groom’s party or both parties can be joined and seated by alternating male and female at one table. Traditionally, the parents of the couple are seated at the same table with grandparents, the officiant and siblings that did not join the wedding party. Your wedding seating chart should take into consideration when parents are divorced, and place the parents at separate tables with their new spouse and any family. Avoid a “singles” table. Instead, mix singles at other tables.
Wedding Seating Chart for Children
If you are planning a kid-friendly wedding, seat children at their own table with activities to keep them busy. It might be a good idea to place the children’s tables near their parents. Keep in mind that small children will need to sit with a parent. When creating a wedding seating chart for children, be mindful of the tables that you place them near. You might want to avoid seating children near the bar.
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