Seating you guests on your wedding day, at the Wedding Ceremony was traditionally done with the Bride’s family and friends on one side, with the Groom’s would be seated on the opposite side. Today, seldom do our wedding officiants see this. More often than not, it just wouldn’t be balanced, and so guests are encouraged to sit where they would like.
Seating your Guests
There are though a few seats designated within most wedding ceremonies. Generally the first row is reserved for Mom, Dad and possibly the grandparents, while the second row may be saved for siblings (unless, they’re standing in the wedding party), or close Aunts or Uncles. Beyond these, most are OK being seated throughout your venue.
The typical plan for seating at wedding receptions has probably been the same for thousands of years … from tents in the desert to medieval castles … the bride and groom are seated at a head table, bridesmaids and groomsmen on either side, and the guests facing them. Traditionally, the parents of the bridal couple were also included at the head table, but that is less common in the last 100 years.
The parents and immediate family are assumed to be seated as close to the head table as is possible – and round tables make the most of your space. Round tables are also aesthetically pleasing, and allow your guests to mingle among themselves in a more intimate gathering rather than long, rectangular tables.
If you are using country barn on your wedding day, then use long rectangular tables around the edges of the room with the dance floor in the wedding. The same set up would apply to a medieval or theatrical themed wedding as it is a more traditional way. At a modern hotel it is more contemporary to have round tables in front of the head table.
Seating your guests, those not at the head table, can be quite a chore! Give yourself at least an hour and two glasses of wine to get through this task! For round tables, couples are usually seated side by side. If you have a table or two of single friends, seat them “boy -girl – boy -girl”. If you are using long tables, couples are seated next to each other, and if you using both sides of the table, then across from each other. Remember that younger children ‘should’ sit with their parents and that grandparents need to be at the table with their own grown children. The one exception, may be having a ‘baby-sitter’ or two sit with a group of kids, keeping them busy with colouring, toys, and puzzles! Try not to get too exasperated – most wedding planners and venues have professionals on hand that can assist with the seating plan.
You may find it worth every penny to have a professional set up the seating plan for you. If you have over 100 seated guests, I would suggest it’s almost imperative. And then when you consider that couples that used to be together will be there, new partners in tow, it may be wise to let someone else deal with the seating drama.
Keep in mind they are only seated for the meal and speeches, after that people can dance, mingle, change spots to visit with friends and relatives they may have not had a chance to visit with since the last family occasion.