I would say the most frustrating part about the planning process for most couples, is assigning seats at dinner. No one can fully help you with this, because no one knows every guest the way you do. This being said, I do have a few tips for you as you take on this task:
1. People LIKE to be told what to do and where to sit: Some couples think they are being more courteous by not assigning seats and allowing people to sit where they like. Not true! If you don’t tell them where to sit or what to do, guests get flustered and look to your wedding planner, serving staff, etc. to guide them to an appropriate seat. Assigning seats actually reduces anxiety for many of your guests.
2. There is of course, the exceptions to rule number one with a handful of people who HATE being told what to do. These people will change seats, move placecards, etc. Accept that your perfectly designed seating chart will be changed up by that one person who interprets your seating assignment like the authority he has long, deep rooted issues with.
3. You will NEVER make everyone happy. Don’t even try. Try as hard as you can to make most people comfortable, but know that someone on the list just won’t fit appropriately at any table. So, don’t beat yourself up. Just except this truth.
4. People cancel, people show up without RSVPing and dates change. Be prepared by having a few extra seats and/or place cards on hand to ensure the unexpected guests do not feel uncomfortable.
5. Under no circumstances are you to show anyone the seating chart in advance. Unless you like hearing things, like “Why do I have to sit next to Aunt Susie?” or, “I can’t believe you sat Allison and Esther together. They are going to bicker all night.” Guard the chart with your life!
6. If nothing else, assign seats because it’s one more opportunity to show a little charm in your design. The above image is the escort card display from Tess & Peter’s wedding. Tess is a writer with a love for old books, so we brought this in by creating custom bookmarks with each guests seat assignment. We love nothing more than to get a little creative with this piece of the day. Photography by Amy & Stuart.