Perhaps one of my favorite large scale signs to create are seating charts! Since I live in San Diego, which is a huge destination for weddings, I have seen some really incredible ideas for seating charts. They can be a huge statement piece and you can get REALLY creative with them. Beautiful calligraphy on a seating chart adds such a unique and thoughtful aesthetic to your wedding day!
Why You Need A Seating Chart
Unless you are having 50 guests or less, I highly recommend having a seating chart. Guests need to know where to go. I don’t know about you but whenever I go to a wedding without a seating chart I get major anxiety. I think it’s because I’m nervous I won’t get a seat or I’ll have to sit by some random group of strangers. Seating charts let your guests know that there is a seat reserved just for them and that it’s most likely going to be by friends and/or family they know!
Starting Your Seating Chart
This can be a difficult task for the couple who is getting married. When I was planning my own wedding I remember dreading this part. I had heard nightmare stories about figuring out the rubix cube of guest tables. So when my husband and I sat down to create our seating chart I knew I wanted the process to go as smoothly as possible. I bought a large foam board, printed out all the names of our guests (and cut the names into little rectangles) and grabbed some push pins. I drew in all the tables we would need for our 130 guests. Then I whipped up two Vodka martinis and we got to work!
Figuring Out Where To Put Everyone
Most people know this one, but try to keep like groups together. For example, keep the Groom’s family with the Groom’s Family and The Bride’s family with the Bride’s family. At my own wedding we had a group of rowdy friends that we knew we had to keep away from the more conservative members of the family, so we made sure to do that with out seating chart. Each couple has there own specific needs when it comes to the seating chart so I encourage people to write those items down before getting started. For example, if you know Aunt Mary drives your cousin Leanne crazy, try to seat them at different tables within the “family tables”. At the end of the day, it is YOUR wedding and if people can’t behave you honestly won’t notice because you’ll be on Cloud 9 ;)
Do I Need Place Cards?
This one is usually about personal preference (and sometimes budget). I recommend place cards if you are having more than 50 guests. Place cards only need to have the first name of the guest on them if you are having a seating chart (unless of course there is a double name at the table, then a last name initial added is sufficient). I believe guests really enjoy knowing that there is a specific seat for them at a table. This lets your guests know that they don’t have to worry about someone taking their seat and they don’t have to rush from cocktail hour over to the table to claim their space.
The Sweetheart Table
Traditionally Brides and Grooms would sit at large table with their bridal parties but this has recently been cast aside in exchange for the Sweetheart Table. A Sweetheart Table consists of just you and your significant other and it faces the wedding guests. We chose to have a Sweetheart Table at our wedding (pictured above) and I absolutely loved it. We were able to look out at our guests and see everything, plus it felt like we were on a little date, just us at our table. An added bonus as well is that your bridal parties don’t feel like they are “on display” and they get to sit with their dates/significant others. Plus, you truly feel like the King and Queen at your little Sweetheart Table and who doesn’t want that on their wedding day?!
Unique Seating Charts
I have seen (and been a part of) so many beautiful ideas for seating charts, some traditional and some less traditional. Terra Cotta pots with each table in calligraphy, Little bottles with guests names on a huge display and Christmas ornaments on a tree for a Holiday inspired wedding. The options are endless. There are tons of options for every budget if you get creative! With that said, I have seen some things that don’t quite work well and those thoughts are below:
Seating Charts in ALL calligraphy. Although these can be very gorgeous to glance at, they are extremely difficult to read. If you are having a wedding with more than 75 guests, I recommend doing a mix of calligraphy (or scripted font) and Sans Serif fonts, otherwise it’s going to be pretty hard for your guests to find their names easily.
Mirror and Acrylic Seating Charts. These materials are very trendy right now (and beautiful) but they can also be difficult to read. For mirrors your guests will see reflections in them as they read, which can be difficult… especially if the sun is shinning bright and right into the mirror. If you do decide to go with mirrors, try to place them in an area where the sun is not directly shinning into them. Secondly, acrylic will showcase whatever is behind it, which can also make it difficult to read. For acrylic I recommend a painted background or adding something behind it to make it easier to read.
Hanging Escort Cards… while the idea is adorable, it can be an easter egg hunt your guests never wanted to be a part of. If you are having more than 75 guests, PLEASE do not hang a bunch of escort cards from a tree… it will be so hard for your guests to find their name and it could essentially turn into a potential timeline nightmare as your guests are struggling to find their seat before dinner.
I hope my blog on seating charts was helpful for you! Remember that planning out your tables doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Use these tips and pour yourself a cocktail and I bet you’ll have a great time! ;)