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The How-To Lounge: Seating at a Wedding

One of the fun, yet challenging jobs of preparing for your wedding is mapping out your seating assignments at your reception. Regardless of the kind of dinner you have, sit down, buffet, or station, you have to provide your guests with a place to sit and enjoy their meal and good company. I am here to help fill in any blanks and answer any questions you might have on seating etiquette.

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  • Before you start to map out tables, make sure you have the final guest list. You don't want to have the table perfected and then have a couple decline your invitation
  • This is not a task that should be done on your own. Enlist the help of your parents and future in laws. They will know how to best seat their friends and family members
  • Make sure your tables are clearly numbered and every guest has a place card that tells them exactly where they are seated. You don't want your guests to be wandering around aimlessly trying to find their place setting
  • The head table usually consists of the bridal party and their guests only. Obviously this is not a rule, but an easy starting ground
  • To avoid anxiety once your guests get to their assigned table, make sure to have personalized place cards at every seat
  • I always suggest seating in order of male/female. It looks clean and is typically better for conversation. If you decide to split up couples, make sure to seat them close to each other
  • If you choose not to have a sit down dinner and opt for buffet style or strictly passed foods, smaller tables without name tags is the best way to provide your guests with a place to eat, drink, and converse
  • Although it is poor form for guests to attend your wedding with an uninvited date, that situation is more common than not. Be prepared for extra seats at one of your tables as it is easier to remove place settings than to add them
  • Your family and close friends should be seated closest to the head table and I always advise to seat friends with friends to ensure they are comfortable
  • At every wedding, there is a "singles table". Try to seat "like people" at these tables to ensure good conversation and perhaps even a love connection!
  • Rectangular tables are best for conversation, space, and viewing the bride and groom and the dance floor

Since most of your guests will be playing a game of musical chairs, do the best you can with the seating arrangements, but rest assured that no matter who your best friend from college is sitting with, all your guests will have a great time at your wedding!


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