The Key To Successful Wedding Seating
Your big day is approaching, most of your guests have RSVP-ed, the perfect centerpiece for each table is selected, and now the question remains: how to seat for success to avoid social disaster. Here are a few tips:
Think ahead and document your plan
Start working on your seating arrangement chart early. Use a spreadsheet, a wedding journal, a software program, or an app. Remember to have a hard copy handy on the big day, along with a helper whose role is to take over when needed in order to play “musical chairs.”
Make the charting fun by role playing the dynamics at each table and predicting the energies you would like to create. If you’re a movie buff, consider the film that would represent each table. Your college buddies could be “The Hangover” (this will remind you not to seat your “Fiddler on the Roof” great-aunt with that bunch).
For guests you do not know well (like friends of parents), do not hesitate to ask your parents for seating input.
Remember your goal: seat guests so that they will be comfortable and have fun.
Group guests for surprising fun, avoid shocking mistakes
Your wedding is an opportunity for some of your guests to catch up with each other, they will be honored and grateful to be seated with some of their favorite people whom they have not seen for a long time. It will make your magical day a memorable and fun one for them too. Your thoughtfulness and consideration will not be forgotten.
Do not use your wedding seating as a peace building event for guests to resolve their life-long conflicts. Be sensitive and tactful.
Group your guests using common sense
No matter which walks of life your guests come from, they may be more comfortable seated with others close to their own age group or interests – perhaps a “sports fan” table or one for musicians?
Another technique is to seat guests according to how you know them (for example, a table for high school friends and a table for work colleagues).
Tips for seating wedding guests
- Seat divorced parents with their partners/families at different tables (or, better yet – ask them how they prefer to be arranged)
- Seat younger guests at tables closer to the dance floor
- Seat older guests away from the noise and away from loud speakers
- Always seat couples together and be sensitive to avoid seating exes too closely
- Avoid entire tables of strangers. However, if one of your guests is likely not to know anyone at the event, seat them by a group you know to be more outgoing, to help make them feel more comfortable
- When in seating doubt, seek help from your mother or future mother-in-law. Don’t assume you know what is best for someone you have never met
- Seat guests of similar interests and background together
- Consider ice-breaking games or activities at your wedding tables, such as having guests guess how many candies are in a jar and submit as a group, displaying photos as conversation-starters, or suggesting a wedding-themed scavenger hunt
- Use your best judgment and be sensitive to your guests’ needs
The table of honor
Make the table of honor best reflect you. It can be just for the two of you. You can add your Best Man and your Maid of Honor, your entire wedding party, or the closest family members from both sides.
The traditional head table is usually a long one (the others are usually round and/or square) and placed in a central location for everyone to see. Don’t forget to honor the Jewish tradition by allocating a special table for the large challa to be cut during the blessing for the meal.
Ideas for unique seating charts and place cards
Often the first thing your guests will touch once they walk in is their place cards. The cards are an excellent opportunity to incorporate your wedding theme into the rest of the elements you are displaying. Some of the most memorable cards are the ones that are also a little take-home memento of the event.
Popular themes for place cards in weddings in Israel are often around the beach, tree of life, crystals and healing herbs, candles (Shabbat candles that your guests get to take home to light and bless in your honor on your first Shabbat as a married couple), personalized key chains or other Judaic theme (like a small mason jar of honey for each guest for a sweet life together). You can also create a bookmark for each guest to take home as a souvenir.
If your wedding is scheduled for a hot summer day in Israel, the cards can be tied around a chilled bottle of water or a wine cooler (if appropriate). Or yarmulkes can be included with place cards so that guests can use them during the ceremony.
If you opt for a seating chart instead of individual cards, you may want to create a giant tree of life that would show your guests how you grouped them. Each branch can be an assigned table and can display the connection by relations and group. Consider adding photos and images.
The sure way to successful seating
There are so many ways of seating your guests for success. Your seating chart can reflect your creative energy, personality, and special attention toward your guests. They will be able to see that you thought of them and grouped them to have fun.
Our wedding coordinators can help you design place cards, dream up souvenirs, and avoid seating catastrophes. Contact us today for seating success.