It is important for your guests to feel welcome and comfortable. Having planned seating for all guests will assure that everyone has a seat, and that any “priority seating” has been saved for special guests.
Usually venues will number tables in an order to help servers as well as guests find there seat. Please ask your venue if they have table numbers – we can design beautiful custom table numbers for you that match your stationery theme if you wish. I have had brides who want to name their tables (for instance if you are having a mountain wedding all of the tables could be different mountain names. However I would not suggest doing this if you are going to have more than 6 tables. It just makes it more difficult for guests to find their table, numbers are much easier to recognize, and less likely to forget.
For any event over 100 guests I suggest using an alphabetical table board that will be super easy for your guests to read and understand. Basically we design a nice board, to be placed on an easel, about the size of 20 inches wide to 35 inches long. We create a title with the bride and grooms name and wedding date at the top of the board. Then we list alphabetically all guests, last name first, then first name with the number of the table they are sitting at. It will be easy for your guest to find there name as they will easily recognize the alphabetical order and be able to find there name and table accordingly. This will ease the process so that you do not have any confusion or line of guests waiting at the board to find where they are sitting.
Inside the reception room your guests will find their table number, and either sit anywhere at the table or look for their name on a place card. Some planners find it best to have assigned seating at the tables, however it is not always necessary. Maybe you have guests that need to be spaced apart (lets face it we all have family that sometimes have to be separated!) I find most often place cards are not needed as well as a table board – unless there is a plated dinner where guests have specified meal choices ahead of time. In this case, meal selections are printed on the place cards, for example beef, chicken, or vegetarian text or images. This will let the servers know which guest has ordered which meal. If you are having a buffet there is no need to worry about menu selections. Phew!
Please make sure not to forget your vendors. The photographer, DJ, Wedding planners and decorators will need a spot to crash as well. Leave one table free for all vendors to visit.
I have learned over the years that many brides and grooms, as well as parents of the engaged find it very frustrating to organize seating for their guests. It can be a painful job, but none the less it is important to make sure all guests are accounted for, and there are places for everybody. You will have way less mishaps the more organized you are!
Please make sure you use an RSVP date at least 1 month prior to the wedding or big event. This will ensure you have ample time to contact any late replies. Your venue may have given you a date in advance of when they need to know numbers on meal selections, or number of guests attending the event for table organization as well. Please be aware that you will have last minute guests that change there mind back and forth as to their attendance – this is very common. It is a pain, but it’s common!
I try to have clients contact me 2 – 3 weeks before the big day in order to organize any seating stationery (table boards, place cards and any signage) as well as programs, menus, favour tags, guest books… etc. Try to match your stationery together, whether this is something you are doing yourself, or something you are getting designed. Little details like matching, paper, monograms, images and colours look fantastic if they are all the same style and theme, and your guests will appreciate all of the details you put into them!
For all of your stationery needs visit Paper Panache! If you have any questions or concerns I am here, and feel free to pick my brain if you need another opinion.