Guest-Approved Seating Arrangements
Hands down, one of the most challenging parts of wedding planning – and from the start, what can seem like the easiest (sure, we’ll just put all of our friends together!) – is acually a lesson in patience, organization, and some tried-and-true tips from the people who do this all the time (us!) Of course, accommodating everyone is the goal, so planning in advance is the key. Take our word for it and make this a priority at least 2-3 weeks before the big day, once the major majority of your guests have RSVP’d. No one wants to be switching out their besties and safta and saba at the last minute
Take Specifics into Consideration
Important guests like your grandparents and elderly family members will want to be up close and center to get a good view of everything, but also probably closer to the bathroom or buffet table (if you are going with that route for dinner). This also applies to anyone who may have special needs, such as wheelchair access. Start off organizing tables based on guests who will have specific needs as a priority. That will eliminate discomfort and frustrations from the get-go. Before creating your seating plan, it’s a good idea to obtain the floor plan and make several copies. This way, you can experiment with various different arrangements before making your final decisions for who will sit where.
Divide & Conquer
Family and friend dynamics can be tricky. To eliminate unwanted stresses on both sides, start off by divvying up the tables between the bride’s guests and the groom’s guests. Set aside a few tables for mutual friends. This way, each one of you has a plan for who will go where and you can prioritize your own set based on specific relationships and needs. Organizing through a Google spreadsheet is ideal because you can sit together and cut and paste names accordingly.
If you have been meaning to introduce so and so with another guest for some time, this is a smooth and subtle opportunity to have them sit side-by-side. For singles or couples who will be attending that are not part of a larger group, choose their tables according to common interests and/or personalities with the hope that they will hit it off from the start – and even have some conversation-starters ready to drop in by visiting their tables first.
Be Sensitive yet Firm
People like to know where they are being seated, but they also like to be considered on of the VIPs. Without excluding anyone and taking into consideration those who will attend without a plus-1, have a reason for why you place people next to one another in case they take offense with where they are seated and would like an alternative option. If you are thoughtful about placement, it gives less room for arguement later.
Be Okay with Asking for Help
If your parents and future in-laws would like to be involved, this is a great way to let them have a say without taking full control of something you would rather take full reign of. In the case of their friends, let them choose where to place them and in effect, take some weight off of your shoulders. They will be happy to get involved, and you will have less on your plate to organize!
Israeli weddings typically include children of all ages. If you would rather not have guests under a certain age, it is imperative that you make note of this on the invitation and even personally call those families who you know may plan to bring their children despite prior notice. If all ages are welcome, set aside a table or two just for young ones so that they can be part of their own crazy tribe and arrange for their parents to be seated nearby so that everyone can feel at home.
Seating Arrangements as Decor
Don’t forget, decoratively, seating cards and arragements are prime opportunities for beautiful additions to the wedding decor. From adding color and design to creative ways of letting everyone know where they will sit, the seating arrangement is often times the first thing guests see when they enter the wedding venue. Use it as a show-stopping opportunity for ‘making an entrance’ in more ways than one. BE Group recently produced a stunning winery wedding and the seating arrangement perfectly complemented the location and decor. The theme was rustic elegant, with bursts of color. For the table, BE Group created logs with indents cut into them into which handwritten cards were casually placed. Dark red calla lilies and exotic flowers and plants were scattered around to create a wild effect. On the side of the arrangement, flower corsages, wrist bands, and boutinierres in bright colors were placed for guests to help themselves to and enjoy as an added treat.