A wedding reception seating chart can be one of the most daunting tasks for any couple planning their wedding! It may seem like a straightforward process – but when you consider different family dynamics, friendship groups, and personality types, it can be a lot more complicated than you think.
With this in mind, where exactly do you begin with allocating seats for your guests? From your bridal party to parents and kids, read on as we share our ultimate guide to who sits where at your wedding reception below.
Wedding Reception Seating Chart: Who Sits at The Bridal Table?
First, let’s talk about the bridal table (also known as the “head table”). This table should be centrally located, allowing you to look out at your family and friends. Typically, this will be at the top of the room or in the middle of your guest’s tables – depending on your venue and floor plan.
When it comes to bridal table seating arrangements, you have a few options. Traditionally, the bride and groom would sit in the middle of this table, with the bride seated to the groom’s right. Depending on the size of your bridal party, the remainder of this table would then be filled with your bridesmaids and groomsmen.
You can opt for a male/female pattern by seating the best man next to the bride, and the maid of honor next to the groom – or, have the groomsmen on one side with the groom, and the bridesmaids on the other with the bride. Of course, if you’re a same-sex couple or have a non-traditional bridal party, you can seat this table however you like!
If you have a smaller wedding party, you may also want to include your bridal party’s partners on this table, or even invite your parents to sit with you. Alternatively, you can also scrap tradition altogether and simply sit amongst your family and friends.
Wedding Reception Seating Chart: Where to Seat Your Parents
As your “VIP guests”, it’s customary to seat your parents at the next best table – ideally with the best view of you and your spouse.
Traditionally, you would seat both sets of parents together at the same table, along with other immediate family members such as siblings and their partners. Alternatively, you may prefer to give each set of parents their own table, allowing them to sit with more of their immediate family and close friends.
And what about divorced parents? Well, this will really come down to your family dynamics. If your parents are amicable with each other (and their new spouses, if relevant), they can absolutely share a table. But if the situation is more tense, you may prefer to have each parent host their own table to prevent any awkwardness.
Wedding Reception Seating Charts: Where to Seat Other Guests
Now that your immediate family has been seated, you can move on to seating your extended family, friends, and other guests.
We’d suggest grouping your guests into relevant categories – for example, childhood friends, cousins, mutual friends, and colleagues. This will give you a clear picture of who already knows each other and gets along. You can do this with our digital guest list manager here at WedSites.
Next, disperse these guests across your remaining tables according to their ages, interests and personalities. Try to offer a mix of new and familiar faces at each table to ensure everyone feels comfortable, while also encouraging mixing and mingling!
Wedding Reception Seating Charts: Where to Seat Kids
If you’re hosting a kid-friendly wedding, children will also need to be considered when planning your wedding reception seating chart.
The best place to seat kids will really depend on their ages. Older kids may prefer to sit together at a dedicated kids’ table, while younger toddlers and infants will need to sit next to their parents. When in doubt, simply send a quick message to the parents asking them to confirm their preference.
It’s also a good idea to seat parents with young children at the heads of tables to allow room for highchairs or prams. And if you have planned a dedicated kids’ table, be sure to provide some age-appropriate activities to keep them occupied during the evening.
Wedding Reception Seating Chart Tips
Finally, consider these tips to help you plan your wedding reception seating chart with ease!
- Start early. Trust us, creating your seating chart isn’t something that can be done overnight! You’ll want to give yourself plenty of time to gather the information you need, such as RSVPs, dietary requirements, and any other special requests. Try to start the planning process as early as possible, so you have time to make adjustments and changes as needed.
- Use a digital seating chart tool. Our digital seating chart creator here at WedSites makes it easy to map out your floor plan. You can drag-and-drop tables and chairs, assign seats to guests as your RSVPs roll in, and track dietary requirements and special requests (no post-it notes required!).
- Ditch the singles table. Grouping single guests together on a dedicated table can make them feel more than a little awkward. Instead, simply seat them amongst your other guests according to their personalities, ages, and interests.
- Get creative with your seating chart display. Displaying your seating chart at the entrance to your reception will make it easy for guests to find their place. From DIY designs to escort card displays, check out our seating chart ideas for all styles and budgets here.