The key to having a stress-free wedding is… organization! This may sound like the least exciting thing in the world, but it’s true – staying organized will make your life as a bride so much easier and you will actually be able to enjoy your day. One of the most stressful things that brides have to deal with is seating charts. Again, this may not seem very exciting, but without an organized seating plan, you may find yourself running around trying to find extra seats instead of enjoying your thoughtfully picked out dinner. To avoid this, here are six ways to fool proof your seating arrangements.

1. Skip the assigned seating: If you and your partner are having a buffet style dinner and a super relaxed day, beat your stress by nixing assigned seating all together. This has become increasingly popular in ceremonies and is starting to show up at the reception as well. This allows guests to choose who they want to sit with and takes the pressure off of you when figuring out who to put where. If this idea makes your palms a little sweaty, consider having assigned tables but not seats this way people can sit wherever they are comfortable once they get to their table.

2. Understand that you won’t make everyone happy: It is near impossible to seat every one of your guests without someone complaining. With that in mind, take requests into consideration but don’t over promise where you can seat people. At the end of the day, try to keep friends and family close to each other but don’t sweat it if you have to put together a table that seems kind of random.

3. Use your venue layout: If you are doing assigned seating, ask your venue for a table layout before you start the seating chart. This way, you know where each table will be in the venue and can place your guests based on this layout. This will allow you to sit your family close to one another even if they aren’t at the same table and give all your vendors easy access to get in and out of their chair without disruption.

Wedding Guests

Photo Courtesy of Jennifer See Studios

4. Don’t start your seating chart until you have your RSVPs: This may seem obvious, but it is worth stating. Wait until your RSVPs are in before you start seating guests. Even if you are 98% sure that someone is coming, be sure to get their RSVP so you don’t have to shuffle people around.

5. Not all your tables have to be even: Wait… what? Depending on the size of your tables, you will likely be able to seat between 8-10 guests at each table. While ten will likely be a little tight, don’t be afraid to have a table of 9 if it means allowing friends to sit together instead of with other random guests.

6. Ensure that you have an extra place setting (or two): Chat with your venue ahead of time and have them be prepared with an extra place setting in case one of your guests decides to show up with someone unexpected. If this happens, simply have them join their date at their table, and since your tables do not have to be even, this won’t look off.

A little organization and thought can save you a lot of panic and stress on your wedding day. Don’t get caught off guard and make sure you put a little prep into where your guests will sit. Make sure to start your seating chart after you’ve received the majority of your RSVPs and make use of your venue’s layout. Happy Planning!