Weddings. Wonderful, magical, love-filled moments. I get to see my childhood friend walk down the aisle to the man of her dreams. Ah, so blissful. It was such a beautiful ceremony. I'm certain her gown would not have looked more perfect on Heidi Klum herself.
Time for the reception. Uh...I don't know a lot of people here. Where will I sit? What if I don't end up with a seat. What if I have to sit at the weird uncles table? Maybe I'll just go hang out in my car until dinner is over. Or I can sit in the bathroom like Lindsay Lohan on Mean Girls. Yeah, that's what I'll do.
So, that probably hasn't happened to you before, but let's face it, for some people, dinner is the most awkward part of the evening. Someone comes without a plus one or they take too long getting a drink at the end of cocktail hour, and BAM, the "good seats" are all taken. I've had multiple friends tell me they face great anxiety during this moment of any wedding day.
Instead of letting your guests wander around, looking for a place to rest their rump, perhaps you might consider doing a seating chart. To some, this is a stressful task that seems impossible when looking at a guest list of 208 people. But TRUST ME, you will be glad you did it in the end.
Three ways a seating chart will help the mood and flow of your wedding reception:
- Your guests will know what to expect. At least, if they don't know many people (or anyone else) at your party, they will know a seat was saved just for them. People like to know what comes next. We are creatures of habit and like safe things. A seating chart will allay fears for the one guest who doesn't quite have the most outgoing personality. I've been the loner at a wedding before, but I had an assigned table at that wedding. The bride had placed me with people in my general stage of life and I found I could relate to them. Was it perfect? No. But it was a lot better than some other alternatives.
- Uncle Bob and Aunt Jill don't need to make your first dance a time for their post-split bickering. I hate to say it, but I've seen this before. Parted couples who can't get along may not be on their best behavior. Perhaps your aunt and uncle need to be placed at different tables...across the room from one another. Adults don't always act like adults. A little precaution can go a long way!
- Your high priority guests will feel valued. Okay, I don't like to rank guests in order of importance, but for real, it is the way of the world. Obviously, immediate families are given preferential treatment, especially when mom and dad foot the bill. Also, when you place grandparents and special great aunts closer to the head table, it will validate them as part of your life. I'm a person who does not care how far away I sit from the VIP tables, but it does matter to some. I'm not saying it's bad for it to matter. You have to put yourself in their shoes. Did they change your diaper when you were little? Might want to consider their feelings when making your seating chart. At the same time, don't get too wrapped up in this or you'll be working FOREVER on that seating chart. It's a balance!
Is it completely necessary to have a seating chart? No! Some couples want a more relaxed, free-flowing feel to their reception. That is totally fine and dandy. But keep these things in the back of your mind when planning your wedding. Weddings can be dramatic and can get out of control, if you let them. Just think of a seating chart as one way to avoid the high drama and control the crowd. ;)