Reception Seating Arrangements

Ever been to weddings where you'd rather be sitting with your best buddy than the ex you'd rather not be seen dead with? Believe us, we've seen it all: guests swapping name tags around prior to seating, pulling extra seats up on tables they weren't assigned to or rudely ignoring those besides them. As a Bride/Groom you should always do your best to keep guests happy when deciding their table and set. However, remember it is YOUR wedding. Your guests are there to share your special day whether they like those they are sitting with or not. But if you want to do your best to avoid any nasty situations, here are a few things to think about: 

Assign guest to A Table, Not a seat

Image source:  Popcorn Photography

Image source: Popcorn Photography

If you are really worried about the dynamics of your guests then why not assign them to a table and allow them to choose who they sit with? Not only do you give them choice, but they will feel like you haven't forced them into a situation they are not comfortable with. This will also save you money as you won't need to worry about putting out little place cards and printing costs. Just put up one seating chart and advise the guest of their table, not their seat. Winning!

Be Easily Seen

Position yourself so you are easily seen anywhere in the room. Everyone at a wedding loves watching what the bride and groom do and how they interact with one another. Guests want to be witness to your love and devotion so give them front row seats! 

Studies have actually been conducted to find out if the bridal party should be amongst all the other guests, have a separate table, face the room or simply be in the middle of the room. The answer really concluded that it depends on the venue. You need to understand what works best in your venue so that you can give your guests the view they so desire. 

Allocating Seats

This is the traditional way to host a wedding, and it does work a treat. Why? It reduces the guests stress of finding a table where to seat, who to seat with and who to avoid. It also makes things easier for the waiting staff to deliver meals to specific guests in case there are people with food allergies or special diets that need to be attended to. Allocating a seat ensures that speakers and VIP guests are seated in the most appropriate seats and just for a bit of fun it is a good opportunity to do some matchmaking!


If you can't fit all your friends on the same table, then try to put them on tables that are positioned close together. That way they can feel still close to their buddies and once mingling starts they are just a short distance away. If you have any family members that don't get on, then try to put them with those who they do like and maybe put the tables on the opposite sides o the room (such as divorced parents or feuding friends). You can avoid making this obvious by spacing tables out nicely throughout the room and placing the two feuding tables at even distance from the bridal table. That way they will not think you are taking any sides.  

Round tables are much more social than square or rectangular tables. Even if your guest is sitting next to someone they don't like, they can chat with people across the entire table, not just the sides and in front. Avoid placing flowers that will block any view on the table (such as at direct eye height). 

It is also advisable that you keep the elderly away from the kitchen, the dance floor and the band. They will generally prefer to sit back and watch the activities but may need to be positioned in a space that is a little quieter and not so hazardous. 

Ultimately it is up to you to decide what layout you'd like for your tables. Just be sure to clearly advise your venue on how you plan to arrange your guests so they are able to coordinate food on the night and determine if there are any hazards or exit issues. If you need our help with your seating chart or determining the best layout for your venue, contact us for some consulting time



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