Whats the point of a seating chart?

posted 3 years ago in Reception
Post # 3
7039 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

@cmoest:  So that when grandma walks into the reception last, she doesn’t find that the only free seat is with your fiance’s college buddies in the back corner.

OK that’s worst case, but a seating chart ensures people sit with people they know, as well as ensuring guests of honour like family are near the front. It’s just more comfortable for everyone.

p.s. If a seating chart is too much work, some people just do assigned tables.

Post # 4
31 posts
  • Wedding: October 2013

We are not doing a seat chart but we do have the 2 tables closest to the wedding party table reserved for family.  Like our parents and grandparents.  I wanted people to feel free to mingle and honestly they will gravitate towards the people I would have sat them with anyway.

Post # 5
3442 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

@cmoest:  We didn’t have one. We only had 2 tables designated for immediate family & the rest was open seating for the remaining 80 guests. It worked out just fine & trying to coordinate the seating and escort cards would have driven me insane.

Ironically, we did do seating for the first two rows of our ceremony so that we could be sure the family had a good view & would be in the most photos.

Post # 6
563 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

@cmoest:  I have only been to one casual wedding without a seating chart and the tables were only 1/2 or 3/4 filled and it was frustrating to have to break up couples or families to fit in the remaining seats during dinner. Typically, the bride and groom create a general seating chart indicating which table each person should sit at (most people don’t specify which particular seat you have to sit in, just which table) so that the tables are fully utilized without wasting space and the guests can sit by other guests that they get along with or have something in common with. For our guests who didn’t know anyone else, we made sure they were seated near their peers or people with similar interests so that they would have an enjoyable time during dinner. Creating a seating chart also helps you have more control over which table your parents sit at (if you want them seated near the head table), to make sure your grandparents aren’t seated by loud speakers or stuffed in the corner where it is difficult for them to watch the dancing (assuming they aren’t tearing up the dance floor), and you can place the younger crowd farther away from the action because it’s likely that they will be on the dance floor all night and never return to their table after dinner ends.

Post # 7
135 posts
Blushing bee

At a wedding I went to it was basically to say who was least important.  They dismissed the guests one table at a time to enter the buffet line.  The bridal party was up front and fed first.  The “friends of their parents” were all the way in the back smelling the buffet, but waiting an hour before getting food.  I think we deserved it, since I had never met the bride and only met the groom once– seven years prior.  Sometimes a wedding is a great place to learn where you stand– by seeing where you sit.

Post # 8
3519 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2012

@Dareebs:  exactly!

OP, they help to make sure every table is full and couples arent broken up.  I just assigned tables, not seats, and it worked out well.  Bonus, if you have singles, you can put them at the same table or with interesting people.

Post # 9
10219 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

Etiquette Snob here… lol

Seating Charts accomplish a variety of things.

  1. It means your Guests know where they’ll be seating (so no mad scramble)
  2. It means that there are no situations where one table is full and another is empty (or worse yet where people think they can squeeze in another place setting to an already organized table Undecided *rolls eyes*
  3. Means that you as the Host can figure out who you’d like to sit together… a long standing tradition for the Host is trying to match up people who don’t necessarily know each other, and ensure they have something in common (or alternatively, going the safer route, and making sure that those who have things in common are seated together… ie all the Bridal Party’s Plus Ones etc)
  4. Ensures that the most Honoured Guests (Parents, Reverand & Wife, Siblings, GrandParents, GodParents etc) are seated together in the best seats in the house
  5. With a seating chart you get to decide who gets the best locations… ie so not beside the door to the kitchen (Bad Thing), closest to the dance floor (Good Thing) etc.  So for example, Uncle Bob & Aunt Sue who flew in from Australia just for your big day don’t end up in the back of the room with no view… and the not so important “extras” that you gave to your workmates don’t end up sitting up front taking prime real estate away from those who really deserve it more.

Seating Charts are the last pain of Wedding Plan as they have to be done sooo late in the process.  BUT they most certainly are worth the effort.

Hope this helps,


Post # 10
563 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

@oldmatron:  I disagree with this. We placed our families near each other, but scattered the more outgoing guests so that dinner would be more lively.

Post # 11
2474 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

Seating charts ensure that people get to sit with people they know, and people don’t choose inappropriate seats. Being the person that gets stuck with a table of strangers while your friends hang out together at a separate table really sucks.


Post # 12
2685 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

I didnt do it. It would be waaaaaayyyyyy toooo hard to even try. Besides if its open seating people can sit and meet new people.

Plus what helped me make up my mind about this for our own wedding was that out of all the weddings Ive been to, not one of them had assigned tables or seating.

Post # 13
5781 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

If you’re doing a plated dinner, a seating chart + stickers on the place cards help the caterer put the right dish in front of each guest. 6 weeks after sending the RSVP card, most folks won’t remember if they asked for the chicken or the beef.

Post # 14
2992 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

In certain families – it is to keep bloodshed to a minimum. That being said, we do not need a seating chart as we are have a casual day-after pig roast insead of a formal reception.

Post # 15
6450 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: June 2013

We did it because certain people could not sit near certain other people. Also, all the weddings without seating plans that I have been too have not been great. At one, my family of four was not able to sit together. At another, there were tables meant for six that had two people at them because those two people didn’t know anyone and no one ended up sitting by them. I’m a big advocate of assigned tables.

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