Here's a diagram of the layout we ended up using, plus a few tips that helped me in putting both of these items together -- working in conjuction with our venue staff, of course.
· Plug guests into the seating chart as you receive RSVPs. Yes, you’ll have to arrange and rearrange a few times as you discover that certain people can and can’t make it. But for me, doing it this way was much easier than waiting until the end and starting from scratch with an entire guest list of names.
· Before assigning spots, be sure to double check with your venue to see how many people their tables can comfortably seat. At our venue, most of the tables held only eight guests, but there were four larger ones available that could hold up to 10 people at a time. This is not something you want to find out after you’ve already spent tons of time perfecting the seating chart!
· Need to fill extra space? Ask about strategically placing a couple cocktail tables here and there throughout the room. We ran into this issue, but were luckily able to avoid the appearance of a too empty reception hall. Plus, these tables gave guests a great place to stand and mingle with their drinks!
· Along these lines, don’t forget to discuss with your venue coordinator, or figure out on your own, how many square feet are available in the cocktail hour and reception areas. No one wants a too crowded room or a room overflowing with empty space. And a too big or too small dance floor? A definite recipe for disaster!
· Be sure each person has at least one friend or acquaintance seated at his table. Or, if he doesn’t know anyone else at the wedding, make sure he’s seated with guests he might have something in common with. It’s also a good idea to group tables of families and friends together for easy mingling and conversation.
· The last thing you want to do is seat grandma by the DJ’s speakers, or risk having the cake knocked over as guests rush to the dance floor, so be sure to troubleshoot as you perfect both your seating chart and room layout.
What are your tips or concerns about seating charts and room setup?
(Graphic & Photo Credits: Los Robles Greens & Alex Neumann Photography)