How to avoid wedding seating disasters

How to avoid wedding seating disasters Ohhh, the dreaded wedding seating. It’s one of the last items on your to-do list as you near the big day, and try as you may, there simply is no simplicity! There are many layers of complication to a wedding seating plan template and numerous variables to take into […]

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How to avoid wedding seating disasters

Ohhh, the dreaded wedding seating. It’s one of the last items on your to-do list as you near the big day, and try as you may, there simply is no simplicity! There are many layers of complication to a wedding seating plan template and numerous variables to take into consideration when editing one. If you follow along carefully, you’ll avoid unnecessary seating errors and aggravations:

1. List each guest name along with their meal choices and allergies. ALL of this information is essential

2. Don’t forget to indicate how many ppl are seated at each table.

3. Remember to include a “spot” for babies, even if they are too young to receive a meal. They’ll likely be traveling with a stroller/highchair, etc and if there isn’t sufficient space for the baby gear, their parents are sure to have a rough night.

4. Be aware of how many guests you’re putting at the tables. The size of your tables vs the type of chairs you’re using will dictate how many ppl can be comfortably seated.

5. Placement of seats & tables. You’ll never make everyone happy. Place guests at seats/tables as you see fit. The choice is yours and remember: they will get up and move around each time they visit the washroom, bar, or dance floor. These seating arrangements are merely for an hour or two.

Place cards? Seating Cards? Seating diagram?

The method of seating indicator you use should be reflective of your needs.

Escort cards dictate exactly which seat a guest is to sit in at their table. These are set at their place setting to structure their exact location. Not everyone requires this level of precision.

Place cards are intended to be set in the lobby – they list the first and last name of each guest along with a table number. They are then free to sit anywhere at that particular table. This is the most common seating indicator.

Seating charts indicate table numbers with a list of names below it, showing guests which table they are to go to. Another very common seating indicator.

The differences: place cards and escort cards can easily be edited if a last-minute guest drops off or adds on to your list. A seating diagram would have to be reprinted if there is a change, and last minute changes are very common. If you have a wedding of more than 100 guests you’ll need to print two seating charts to avoid mass-hovering and delays.

Always list cards/names in alphabetical order. A table in the lobby with place cards in table order causes more confusion than you can possibly imagine – their entire purpose is to inform guests about which table to be seated at – they don’t know which table number to look for – this should always be alphabetically organized.

How to track changes:

One person’s last-minute addition can lead to a bit fuss and state of confusion. So many components are affected by each addition. Some common items to consider are listed below:

1. Kitchen needs to be notified of one additional meal.

2. Allergies or special dietary requirements must be identified.

3. Chair and subsequent table settings must be added.

4. A place card needs to be printed (possible escort card or seating diagram).

5. They will require a wedding favor.

6. Make sure the table you’re seating them at can accommodate the additional person. This means they may not be able to sit with guests they know if those tables are full.

7. Notify your wedding planner or designated rep – they’ll need to account for this in all their records.

Always remember to cross-reference all forms of seating. Your written template of names/allergies/table numbers must match the floorplan you create with the venue, which must also match any place/escort cards, or seating diagram which you may have.


*Article contributed by Leena from Let’s Party Consultants, Inc.

With over 15 years experience, Toronto wedding planner Leena from Let’s Party Consultants Inc. is a highly esteemed and sought-after industry expert who has been featured in numerous publications and media outlets. Her strategic approach to event planning, paired with her unique concepts, lead to a completely customized experience for each couple. She has received glowing referrals from vendors in the city & abroad and continues to exceed Client expectations with each flawlessly planned event.

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