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Wedding Seating Chart Mayhem


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I admit when it came to the seating chart for our wedding it caused me some tears and frustration. For us we had an uneven number of guests from each side attending – as in there were heaps more from Mike’s side than mine. My biggest cause for sleepless nights and teeth grinding was the need to make sure that all guests were seated appropriately and that all were comfortable. Our bridal party had partners and we didn’t want them to spend the night separated from them, we wanted that balance with the numbers to work. We started out planning our seating chart on cardboard but quickly wore it to tatters as we dragged it out every night and shuffled and reshuffled to no avail (and stressed out calls to parents). We then set out and picked up a great big whiteboard which we kept in the lounge room and we could sit and write and wipe changes and ideas. We had left the table seating till all the RSVP’s had been tallied, so we knew exactly who was going to be there. Still didn’t make it any easier. See we had 60 guests and out of that 12 were my family, 12 were our friends and the rest were Mike’s family.

I was stressed as our families had not met before (normal for many soon to be wedded couples) and I did not want to mix them up at tables, I wanted to keep them together and use the intermissions and dancing as the way for them all to mingle (which they all did!). Out of respect for our bridal party we decided to have them sit with their partners and family and instead have our parents join us at the bridal table. I had my family sit at one table, Mike’s grandparents sat with their friends his aunts and uncles sat at another table. The cousins all chilled together and our friends and my uncles partied on at their table. The room was filled with lively chatter and when it came to dance, the dance floor filled up and over in the lounge family met and enjoyed wine and wedding cake beside the open fireplace.

According to the wedding planning books and sites, the seating chart is drafted closer to the RSVP date and all finalised at least a week before the wedding. It is a daunting task and can cause friction between bride and groom and their parents as they all just want everyone to get along. There are so many options you can choose like having the parents sit together, the grandparents sit together etc…If you have single guests don’t sit them at a table of couples, especially if they do not know them as it can be awkward – remember not everyone is an extrovert. Keep the singles at a table together to have some fun. If there are children attending try and have them at a table where the parents can make a quick exit with them to quell a temper tantrum or toilet break. Parents will relax if they have an easy access to an exit! Sometimes you just have to make the call and do what you have to do in order to fill out the tables. It helps to have an outside opinion (parents, siblings or a cool-headed bestie) that can sit down with you and cast their eye over your chart before you lock things in place. Every Bride should have on hand a wedding planner book or person to help sort their way through the drama that is seating plans. You have to consider the number of guests with the size of the reception room, type of tables (round, square, rectangle) and whether you are going to have your groups alternating throughout the room (like we did, we wove the groups so the families were together but around the room if that makes sense?) Some brides may walk in to the venue and mark the invisible line and go “his side, my side” and then storm off to have a battle with the florist, caterer of hapless family members who fall in her line of fire (yes, I am talking about that television show Bridezilla’s again!)

For those of you about to sit down and work out your seating chart – all the best! Hang in there, it will all fall into place and then you have to decide how you want to display the chart at the reception. A poster by the entrance with the names listed under table number/name/theme or arranged on a table lined with place cards, allowing the guest to take their name and then they go to their seat. Choosing the seating plan is hard, but with the help of Australia’s #1 Wedding Shop, making the display of the seating plans and the table cards is way more easier (and fun!)



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