I have noticed that the one big “no-no” for seating is putting the old people near the DJ. They hate it and will constantly ask you to turn the music down, even if they are half deaf.
Also, did you know that wedding caterers (who know a lot of about food, but not a lot about sound) often set tables right in front of the DJ booth? Did you know that this is bad because it blasts the guests in those tables, and creates less good sound on the dance floor, due to obstacles in front of the sound waves?
Writing a successful seating arrangement for your wedding reception sounds like an easy task, but without a little research, IT AIN’T! A working knowledge of sound equipment & where to put your DJ, family politics, friendship issues, divorces… There are a million rthings to think about.
This is a good guideline to at least think about, before going about making an effective wedding seating or floor plan:
1) Seat the Bridal Party First
Decide where you want the bride, groom, and the bridal party to sit, first, and then the rest of the tables can make sense. Do you want the whole party sitting together? Or do you want the bride and groom to sit at a table by themselves, with the bridal party members scattered among the rest of the guests? Dates of bridal party members will need to be seated with other guests, but it is nice when they can be near their loved ones.
2) Seat the Parents and Close Family
Next, lay out the tables for your families. Usually, Table #1 is for the bride’s family and Table #2 is reserved for the groom’s. These tables are for parents, grandparents, siblings, and other immediate relatives. Be careful: if you leave someone out who believes they belong at this main table, there will be hurt feelings. If you have divorced parents, stepparents, or anyone else in the immediate family who do not want to be seated together, consider using multiple tables.
3) DJ Close To Dance Floor
Always put your DJ as close to the dance floor as possible and do not put a table directly infront of the DJ booth. Ideally, you should have a clean open pathway from the DJ’s booth to the dancefloor with no obstacles in the way, and particularly no guests!
Make sure and discuss this request with your venue provider’s event organizer. Quite often, their agenda is very food & service-driven. This means they do not always have in mind the best interests of optimal entertainment requirements.
Ask any good DJ and they will tell you it is NEVER a good idea to be far away from the dance floor or have seating directly in front of the booth. For more on this common problem, check out our article, Where to Put Your Wedding DJ.
4) Get Help!
Don’t try to do the entire seating chart all by yourself. Make out a rough draft and pass it around your family, first. It’s actually even better if you can enlist one person from each side of the family, like the two mothers or perhaps a couple of siblings. Family members will know who needs to be seated where and together, and who needs to be seated on opposite sides of the room! Older family members probably know family politics better than you.
5) Put Families Together
Take your index cards and make little piles of families. If you have small groups of families who are friends with the bride, you may want to combine them other small family groups of the groom’s to encourage mingling. If you do this, try to choose families that seem similar in interests.
6) Put Random Friends, Coworkers, Neighbors, and Others Together
Take your index cards and make little piles of friendship groups. Keep these people together. To encourage mingling, seat small groups of friends together that seem compatible. Do the same thing with groups of coworkers, neighbors, people you know from a particular organization, and anyone else who knows each other as a group.
7) Kid Tables
Making kid tables is always an option. This could be risky, but also could work out best in many situations, depending on who the children are. If you have lots of children who are mature enough to sit alone, consider creating a special children’s table. Try to group kids together who are in the same age group. Depending on the age of the children, you can put some activities on the children’s table for them to complete.
8) Tables for Singles
Like to match-make? Weddings are great places for singles to meet, so place singles at tables together. When making tables full of singles, try to make sure everyone present knows at least one other person so they won’t feel totally on the spot.
9 & 10) MORE RANDOM TIPS!
– Keep ex spouses or ex boyfriend/girlfriends apart.
– Keep people apart who actively dislike each other.
– Don’t mix people with highly different political opinions or religious beliefs.
– Elderly and disabled people should be near rest room, or area with least amount of walking to a destination point.
– If you have guests who are rude, silly, and obnoxious, you may want to seat them together, rather than subject a few of these bad seeds to each table. That way there is just one rude table.
– The final headcount is never perfect. Some guests who said they were coming will not, and some guests will show up unexpectedly or bring an extra person.