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One of the often confusing details of wedding planning are the guest seating options. Once you have worked out the overall seating arrangement, there are many really unique and elegant options to let guests know which table they will be at. It is also a great opportunity for couples to include a memorable presentation or keepsake for their guests to enjoy long after the day.
Each type of dinner service had its own guest seating options. If you are going with a buffet style meal, we recommend identifying the guests’ table, but letting them choose their own seat when they arrive. Having a choice of seat allows everyone to get seated more quickly and ensures that guest are comfortable where they are. A seating chart on an board supported by an easel is one of the most streamlined ways to present this information. We have seen couples personalize this as well. Writing a name on an oyster shell, rock, or some other meaningful item is a fun way to identify seating. Some couples even go a step further and name their tables after places, movies or other fun events that capture the essence of the couple.
For a family style meal, we recommend thinking a little bit more about guest seating. You need to remember that while still casual, things will be passed and shared amongst the guests at the table. It is still okay to let people choose their specific seats at the table, but assigning them for this type of service works as well. A great way to orchestrate this transition is a chart to steer people towards the correct table. Once there, they can find their assigned seat indicated by a name tag.
If you have settled on a plated dinner, the guest seating needs a little more thought. A seated plated dinner needs both a seating chart as well as an individual escort card. It is required that each guest’s meal choice be indicated in a manner that is clear and visible when they have selected their meal ahead of time. Many guests don’t have a good memory of a meal they chose months before. Others may change their mind when they see the other choices in person. Regardless, it is necessary to have this clearly spelled out. For this, meal choice indicators can range from a simple colored dot to a more elaborate picture or stamp. It is important to remember when choosing this option that each guest needs their own card.
Whatever the type of dinner service, seating options are an important detail in the planning process. So have fun being creative and personal as you think about this detail in taking care of your guests!