How to Seat Your Guests at the Wedding Reception

3022002 0047 min

How to Seat Your Guests at the Wedding Reception

When it comes to your wedding you may or may not want to dictate where your guests sit at the reception. Perhaps you want to maximize the space by filling each table to capacity, or are planning on having a plated dinner service. No matter the reason, we’re here to help out!  Keep reading to learn whether or not you need a seating chart, and how to navigate this often overwhelming task.


Should I Have a Seating Chart?

Determining whether or not you should have a seating chart is the easiest step. The following are common reasons that you might consider assigning seats:

  1. You don’t want your guests to have to hunt or fight for a seat of their preference.
  2. You want to expedite the seating process.
  3. You aren’t allowing plus ones, and therefore worry that single guests will feel excluded.
  4. You are planning to have a plated dinner.
  5. You have limited space, and want to ensure every inch is utilized.
  6. You have several guests with special needs to cater to.
  7. You want to limit contact between specific people.


The Almighty List

The best method to create a seating chart is to make a list. First make a list of everyone who has RSVP’d, and a second list of people who you would group together. Namely, people who know each other exist and that you might classify as friends. It’s okay if the initial list has more names that a single table can hold. You can go back later and break these lists into even smaller ones once table sizes have been confirmed.


Decide on a Head Table

A head table is not required but could be considered traditional. The point of having a head table is simply to keep your wedding party front and center. It also helps guests know where to find you if they want to say congratulations. If your wedding party isn’t especially into this notion or you simply don’t care, you and your partner can have a table just for the two of you. You might also factor in how many of the people in your wedding party have a significant other, and if you are allowing them to attend. Several guests who don’t know anyone outside of your wedding party can make assigning them a seat difficult, unless you forgo a head table.



It’s important that you start by assigning the seats closest to the head table. The closer the table is to you, the more of a priority it is that the guest be able to see and hear. Typically, the closest tables consist of immediate family; one table for the bride’s family and one for the groom’s. From there you may have non-immediate family, then close friends, more distant friends, and so on. This is also the point at which you may consider special needs. For example, if your grandma has difficulty seeing, help her out and place her close to the head table.


Think Comfort

You want people to enjoy the night sitting with people they know will help out. Think of your wedding like a small reunion and try to group people accordingly. For example, have a table for your high school friends, another for your college friends, and so on. In addition, you typically want to keep each of your parents’ sides together. Don’t try to mash all of the aunts together just because they’re aunts.


Acknowledge Any Tension

Some people just don’t get along and don’t aim to. There’s no reason to deny this fact and try to cram these people together with the hopes that everyone will live and let live.  To create a stress free environment for you and your guests, we recommend placing these people across the room from each other. This will, hopefully, prevent any drama on your big day.


At Pine Lake Ranch, we strive to make seating guests a breeze. With a recently renovated, air-conditioned reception barn that can seat up to 250 guests, there is plenty of room to move and dance all night long. Plus, if the weather is nice, your family and friends will be able to stretch their legs and enjoy our outdoor string-lit coral. Learn more about our beautiful ranch and amenities today, or contact us to inquire about availability.