It never fails. No matter how many hours you put into your seating chart, it is never going to turn out perfect. Don’t get me wrong; I think seating charts are very important, especially when you have a large crowd. Just keep these tips in mind:
1. Don’t stress over it too much.
It seems pretty simple, but i see it all the time. Brides and their mothers pour over lists of names, Post-It Notes and stress about who sits next to who. And as soon as guests get into the reception, they are playing musical chairs with their seating assignments. There is no way to avoid it, so do not lose sleep over it!
2. Give yourself time.
Guests are terrible about RSVPing to events. In the age of instant this and whenever you want that, people aren’t used to planning ahead like they were before. Social media and e-vites has made everything more casual, so guests simply forget to respond. When you send out your invites, make sure to set your RSVP deadline a month prior to your event. It sounds like a lot of time, but most venues require a guest count two weeks out from your event. That gives you a couple of weeks to hassle people (yes, it is completely acceptable to call people to ask if they are coming to your event), roughly a week to work on your seating chart and a couple of weeks to get everything printed.
3. Letters are stronger than numbers.
Everyone’s first instinct is to list seating charts numerically by table. But when your guests are looking for their name in a sea of assignments, it’s much more time efficient to list names alphabetically. It will save from congestion.
4. Bulk purchase sticky notes.
As you mull over names and table numbers, there are going to be lots of changes. Instead of scratching names out all over lines of paper, draw out your table layout on a large piece of paper or poster board. Then, write each guests’ name on a sticky tab. Arrange them around preferred table but still have the ease of changing your mind.
5. Leave wiggle room.
Chances are, there are going to be some people who show up who didn’t RSVP or didn’t think they were going to be able to make it. Instead of panicking when you see your cousin with a date he didn’t RSVP for, have comfort in knowing there are extra seats. I always suggest filling out the rest of a partially seated table or adding an additional table all together. If you have a table with six guests at it, still set it for eight. That’s two additional seats. And if your last table only has four guests at it, set it for eight. That will give you a little extra room for someone who doesn’t RSVP or a chance for a vendor to grab a seat with your guests.
And in the off chance you have some unexpected guests, you could take this route too 🙂