Creating a wedding seating chart is an important part of planning. You will need to properly seat guests during the ceremony and the reception. All the standard rules and etiquette are not always so obvious. We asked professional wedding planners to bring you the best advice for creating your wedding seating chart.
Wedding Seating Chart During the Ceremony
According to the standard rules, the couple’s parents get a front row seat for this main event. Close family also shares the front row, which might include brothers and sisters who are not participating in the ceremony. A large family might fill the first couple of rows. These special VIPs get a reserved block with labels and special ribbon. It is important to share your wedding seating chart with the ushers. Traditionally, the bride’s family sits to the left side of the aisle, while the groom’s family takes the right. However, modern trends allow guests to sit on either side of the aisle, instead of adhering to a formal wedding seating chart. Make sure the parents always get the front row and sit near the aisle.
Seating Late Guests
Always have a plan for late arrivals. There will always be that one group that keeps time with the flow of the wind. Late guests should never interrupt the ceremony. Create a place for late arrivals to wait at the rear of the ceremony site. You can choose to have them slip in the back row to a special section, if it would not create a distraction.
Wedding Seating Chart for Divorced Parents
A wedding seating chart for divorced parents requires some thought and special planning. The bride’s mother usually sits in the first row on the left. If she has remarried, she should be seated with her new husband and her family, including her stepfamily. If she is single, she sits alone. If she is dating someone or wishes to sit with an escort, you might adjust the wedding seating chart accordingly. Traditionally, the father of the bride escorts the bride down the aisle. The wedding seating chart might include a space for the father to join his new wife and family in the row behind his former wife. It might be more tactful to seat the father behind his former wife, and seat the new wife farther back with her family. The same general rules apply for the groom's parents. The wedding seating chart for divorced parents should consider the unique relationship and circumstances of the divorced family.
Seating for Unique Situations
Sometimes the bride is raised by the father and stepmother, and lacks a relationship with the mother. When this happens, the wedding seating chart can take a slightly different shape. The father of the bride would sit in the front row with his wife. The mother would sit in the second row or take another place on the wedding seating chart. Unique circumstances and the bride’s feelings should be considered when deciding the seating arrangements.
Wedding Seating Chart for the Reception
Traditionally, the newlywed couple sits at a sweetheart table, facing the reception tables. Their table can be placed on an elevated stage, but is almost always in the center for all to view. There are a couple different ways to create a wedding seating chart for your wedding party. The wedding party can be separated with a table for the bride’s party and a table for the groom’s party or both parties can be joined and seated by alternating male and female at one table. Traditionally, the parents of the couple are seated at the same table with grandparents, the officiant and siblings that did not join the wedding party. Your wedding seating chart should take into consideration when parents are divorced, and place the parents at separate tables with their new spouse and any family.
Wedding Seating Chart for Children
Not every wedding has children on the wedding seating chart. If you are planning on a kid friendly wedding, seat children at their own table with activities to keep them busy. It might be a good idea to place the children’s tables near their parents. Keep in mind that small children will need to sit with a parent. When creating a wedding seating chart for children, be mindful of the tables that you place them near. You might also want to avoid seating children near the bar.
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