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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Help Me with My Seating Arrangements!

As you get closer to your wedding day, one of the most important things you will need to work on is the seating chart for your reception. If you are having a sit-down meal (either plated or buffet) it’s important that there is adequate seating for each person, and that each guest knows where he or she will be sitting. Handling your seating arrangements can be tedious work, but it will pay off in the end!

How should guests be seated?
The purpose of seating arrangements is to ensure that your guests feel at ease and comfortable with those they will be sharing a few hours with! Real-life example: I attended a wedding where a single person didn’t like where she was seated (although she was seated at a table reserved for special guests, she didn’t know anyone there!). She decided to move her place card (we’ll talk about those later) to another table, and when the guests at that table arrived, the seating was thrown completely off! Unfortunately, other guests had to be shifted around to accommodate this change, which didn’t make for happy guests. The moral of the story is….as much as possible, seat guests with those whom they know or with whom they have things in common. Be mindful of whether there are personal issues between people, so you will know not to seat them together. And finally, try not to seat a single person with a table full of couples (unless you know that they will feel comfortable with them).

What’s the best way to get started with planning your seating arrangements?
Some recommend that you begin by arranging guests as you receive their RSVPs. This is a good starting point, but keep in mind that you will probably have to do a couple of iterations of the chart as more RSVPs come in. Be flexible with your seating chart…in fact, I recommend that you not finalize it until a week before the wedding (just in case you get last minute additions or cancellations). A great software package that can help you with seating arrangements and RSVP management is http://seatingarrangement.com.

How to get guests seated in a timely manner
There are several things you can do to ensure your guests are seating quickly (the last thing you want is to you have your guests waiting a long time to find their table assignment).

Seating scrolls or charts – Charts can be posted outside of the reception room for guests to find their names and tables. There are several companies who will make a beautiful scroll for you…not only it is functional, but will add to the d├ęcor of your reception!

Place cards – These are small cards that contain the guest’s name and table name or number. They are typically placed on a table outside of the reception room, and guests can pick up their cards prior to entering the room. Or, they can be placed on the tables, so guests know exactly which seat at the table is theirs. But in order for that option to work, you will also need….

Hostesses/Table Escorts – If you decide not to post a seating chart or have place cards, hostesses are an excellent way to seat your guests. Hostesses would inform the guests of their table name or number. You can have a chart that depicts where the table is located, or you can have another hostess escort the guests to their table. I love this idea, as it makes the guests feel special! Make sure you have enough hostesses to expedite the seating process, and be sure they are friendly and personable! :-)

Taking the time to arrangements seating for your guests is time well spent! It will show your guests that you thought enough of them to ensure they have an enjoyable experience at your wedding.

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