The Basics of How to Seat Guests at the Wedding Reception

The Basics of How to Seat Guests at the Wedding Reception

For couples just beginning the adventure of wedding planning, I’d like to tell you about the basics of how to seat guests at the wedding reception.

Couples have become quite inventive when it comes to table seating, but the basics are pretty much the same. Guests will leave the ceremony and either walk, or drive, to the reception area. There may be a drink reception before the meal reception, and that is cool. It gives guests a chance to have some appetizers and mingle a bit before the Bride and Groom make their entrance.

When it comes to the part where guests find their seat, it must be organized if the plan is for a sit-down dinner.  Any small reception with close knit family and friends, means seating can be casual.  Guests can probably seat themselves.  Most receptions, however, will call for a formal seating arrangement.

First, the use of Escort Cards, in some form can be very helpful in directing guests to the correct table. For that, you will also need to include Table Number (or name) cards. Usually tables are numbered, or named in keeping with the wedding theme, and guests will find their way to their table by matching their name (on the escort cards) to the table number / table name.

fall wedding escort card

Escort Card

Escort cards are set up in some way at the entrance to the reception hall, or area with the tables. This is where couples can be creative – in the displaying of the escort cards. This may be the best chance to begin showing off your wedding theme. Beach themed weddings often stick flat cards in a tray of sand. Some couples hang escort cards from tree branches.
Sometimes cards are not used at all. Succulents, or little plants, can contain names and also serve as small favors for each guest. Leaves, rocks, or candles can contain the names. The idea is the same. Help your guests easily find their table.

fall wedding table number cards

Table Number Card – Printed on Both Sides

This fall themed wedding escort card is meant to be folded to create a standing, or tented, card. A small, flat card could also be used. The name of the guest is printed (or written) along with the number of the table where they will sit.

fall leaves tented place card

Tented Place Card, to fold after purchase

Guests will take the escort card with them to their table, where they will then search for the place card which shows them where to sit. My custom, fall leaves card design below has a text template so the names of each guest can be added one at a time. The cards can also be ordered blank. Fold them, to create a standing place card which will sit at each place setting around the table.

The other way guests can be seated is to use a Seating Chart of some kind. Below is a sample of the 36 x 24 inch seating charts available in my store. This one is also Fall themed, and we offer many themes in the Seating Chart Collection.

custom seating chart poster

Seating Chart Poster, 36×24

The seating chart is usually set up by either table numbers, or alphabetically by guests’ last names. Under the first section on this chart, enter the letter “A”. Then list guests whose surnames begin with A. Next to each name, enter the table number where they will sit. This cuts out the need for escort cards. All guests will look at the chart to find their table.

In the same style, use each table number (in place of the initial) and list guests names under that number.

Wedding planning can be all-consuming. Knowing the basics can help with the organization. I hope I have helped.


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Posted on

December 25, 2014

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