I love attending events with assigned seating. I can immediately relax knowing a seat has been reserved for me. While there may be a trend toward more casual entertaining with open seating, especially if you are planning a buffet, I still encourage you to be the more thoughtful, gracious host and assign seating. You may be thinking, "why make my wedding more complicated, it's a huge pain and the idea of sitting there moving people around like puzzle pieces already gives me a headache?" But at the end of the day, you will have a much more fun wedding with all the right guests seated together.
Here are seven reasons why working on your seating chart will ease your wedding planning worries and help you sleep better at night:
1. It balances the energy of the party. We all know that some of our friends and family are outgoing and will be able to fit into any social situation with ease. However, we also do know those shy social butterflies that need a little encouragement (and maybe a cocktail or two) before they can break out of their shell. When you properly plan the seating at tables, you can create magic by curating the right personalities.
2. Planning seating is the sign of a thoughtful and considerate host and hostess wanting each guest to have the best time. It shows that you've taken the time to plan out every important detail, the most important being the comfort and fun of your guests. One of the greatest things about working with Oprah Winfrey is that before every party, she double-checks each and every table to confirm the right mix of people. That, dear friends, is true class.
3. It eases family politics. Parents divorced? Or maybe your Uncle Ed doesn't get along with your Aunt Sally twice removed? Assigning seating ensures they won't have to cross paths. (On a side note, I always encourage dueling exes to set aside their differences for just one day. They both love their child and can surely be in the same room together for a few hours amicably).
4. Escort card tables are a great way to channel your creativity. I could write a whole book about escort card tables and the different ways you can set them up, but overall, I think this is an ideal opportunity to let your imagination run wild and enhance the theme of your wedding. Add a personalized touch. Instead of merely numbering the tables from1-20, you can name them after favorite locales you've both visited, meaningful places in your hometown (e.g. where your first date took place) or use numbers that are meaningful instead of just numerical, (e.g. your birthdays, parent's birthdays, the day you got engaged, etc.), or even the names of honeymoon destinations.
5. It gives you a chance to introduce new friends to old ones. One of the best things about having a wedding is having every single person you love in one place at one time. Your best friend from elementary school gets to meet your roommate from college. Your old neighbor gets to meet your favorite co-worker. The alchemy of mixing and matching these personalities can really bring a smile to your face, especially when your old friend from college says, "I just spent 30 minutes talking to your Uncle Lester. He's hilarious...who would have known?"
6. You can choose favorites for your own table. I don't really believe in sweetheart tables where the bride and groom sit off to one side, separate from entire party. Instead, I think it's great when the bride and groom sit at a table with their favorite people, sharing the entire experience together and making for some hilarious stories after the wedding is over. They will have many nights on their own for the rest of their lives, this is not the night to entertain in quarantine!
7. It's easier than you think to organize this chart. Luckily, the Internet has a tool for almost everything. All you need to do is Google "seating chart tool." However, if you prefer going a little old school, I suggest a system I've used often: Start by writing each guest's name on a 3" x 5" card, using one card per guest. Like a deck of cards, start making piles for each table, moving the cards around from table to table until you're entirely happy.
For more tips and expert advice from Colin Cowie, visit his new site, www.ColinCowieWeddings.com