The most important thing to accept when developing your wedding reception seating arrangements is that it is unlikely you will suit everyone.
Traditional Wedding Reception Seating Arrangements
Traditionally the bride and groom are seated at an exclusive wedding party table within view of the rest of your guests. The best man sits to the right of the bride, with the groom to her left and the maid of honour to his left. The rest of the bridal party is then seated in an alternating male/female pattern.
A table of honour is then sat closest to the bridal party table, including: parents, grandparents, siblings and possibly the wedding officiant.
Pros: it makes for good wedding pictures and indicates for other guests where to focus their attention during the reception. Parents and especially grandparents feel valued.
Cons: you may not have an even number of males and females, and if the groomsmen and bridesmaids don’t know each other very well it may result in stayed conversation. When parents don’t get along, having one table of honour can create a lot of tension.
Other Options: having an exclusive bride and groom table, seating bridesmaids and groomsmen with their spouses, or dispensing with the bridal party table altogether and instead mixing all guests together to encourage mingling.
Communicating the Seating Arrangements…
Your seating arrangement chart or escort cards, and/or place cards, are a necessary decorative inclusion that should reflect your wedding theme. Check-out Pinterest (here) for some clever wedding reception seating ideas. But remember, the most important thing is that people know exactly where to go (even if you’re only serving canapés).
What you need to decide:
♥ Will you display your guests in alphabetical order with their table number beside their name, OR will you show each table with the list of guests seated at each table
♥ Will you use place cards to specify where each guest needs to sit once at the table or will you let guests choose for themselves.
Place Card Pros: they can be combined with wedding favours; and by providing all names, helps unknown guests to become acquainted.
Place card Cons: there’s less pressure to get it right without them, and more flexible in case of no-shows or last minute additions.
Wedding table layout options
How you layout the tables at your wedding reception can make a big difference to the overall atmosphere of your celebration. You will obviously be constricted by space and numbers, however the following is a list of common table arrangements you may choose to utilise.
Usually the domain of outdoor tented weddings, this style is becoming increasingly popular, particularly for weddings with casual seating arrangements.
Pros: looks fantastic in photos, easier and often less costly to decorate, creates a more casual and intimate vibe
Cons: looks better in larger spaces, conversation is more limited, and no shows are more obvious.
The traditional seating choice for formal events, traditionally these tables hold up to 10 guests, but you could choose smaller more intimate tables seating 4-6 guests.
Pros: what most people are familiar with, easier to fit within a space for hassle-free mingling, and no-shows are less obvious.
Cons: don’t fit nicely against walls, and more consideration of centerpieces needs to be made to avoid obscuring view and conversation.
An increasingly popular choice, combining all different shapes of tables to create unique shapes, usually visible from a higher viewpoint.
Pros: stunning aerial photographs, unique to your theme, with a better ability fill the space completely.
Cons: it can look cluttered and messy with guests not sure where to go, and the variety of linens required can increase costs
Summarising Wedding Reception Seating Arrangements Pros & Cons
How you layout the tables at your wedding reception can make a big difference to the overall atmosphere of your celebration.
Devising wedding reception seating arrangements may be a necessity, but it can be made easier with our traditional seating pros and cons, expert tips and creative ideas.