The Importance of Wedding Reception Table Assignments

For the more casual and laid-back couples, you may opt to forgo seating assignments at your wedding reception. Depending on the size of your guest list, the thought of this organization task might not even get onto your lengthy to-do list. But before you officially decide to let the masses do as they choose when it comes to sitting for the reception, trust us and our wedding coordinators when we say that all couples should seriously consider wedding reception table assignments.

Here’s Why…

When it comes to weddings, most guests like to be told what to do in order to avoid any social faux pas. When a group of people are presented with a room full of empty chairs, (yes) they’ll find their seats (eventually), but at the cost of some serious traffic clogging, awkward shuffling around, and whispering until everyone is *sort of* where they want to be. Setting aside the time to thoughtfully prepare a seating chart goes a long way.

How to Get It Done (with the least amount of stress)

Do not wait until the night before your wedding (or even the last week!) to start planning!  

There are a few basic tables that are typically present at a wedding reception:

Wedding Party Table

Depending on the personality of the couple, this table could be smack-dab in the center of the room or pushed against a wall; it could be rounded to fit the room or straight. Either way, this area is the center of attention during the reception. The newlyweds will sit here along with (usually) their parents, close family, and/or the bridal party and groomsmen.

Family Tables

 The arrangement for these will depend on the relationship and amicability of the people. Generally speaking, these tables are for all family members and can act as a mini reunion, especially for those who don’t get to see each other often.

Rest of the Crowd

Seat people with familiar faces. The biggest key is to understand your guests and be sympathetic and courteous to their situations and relationships with other people. Try to avoid playing match-maker and putting all your single friends together; as The Knot perfectly states, “A little sensitivity and some good common sense are the best guides.” Also, when planning a kids’ table, think only the kiddies that aren’t in high school—anything older and it’s just embarrassing for them (trust us).

Types of Seating Arrangements

Photos by: David Champagne Photography, Kari Dawson Weddings, and Lars Kommienezuspadt

Once you’ve figured out how to mix-and-match your guests’ seating arrangements, now you get to decide the best way to lead your guests to their seats!

Place Cards

These await guests at the tables.

Escort Cards

Displayed near the entrance of the reception, these cards are in alphabetical order with the guest’s name and a designated table. You could opt for place cards at the tables with this option too.

Seating Chart 

For the visual, this illustrates guests’ names with their tables—a better option for smaller parties.

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