The Art and Science of Planning Your Wedding Seating Chart

There are dozens of strategic decisions you will need to make when planning your wedding. Should walk down the aisle in the summer or the fall? Choose a large bridal party, or small? Veil or no veil? Perhaps the most mind-bending strategic planning you will have to accomplish, however, is planning your seating chart. Faced with the dynamics of different personalities, merging families, and old and new friends, the process can easily spiral out of control from a simple exercise to a full-on strategic tactical maneuver. Don’t stress your seating chart strategy. Instead, save your effort for deciding if you want a dessert table or a candy buffet and instead follow these tips for planning your wedding seating chart.

Make it an Active Exercise

Don’t work in ink. Seating chart planning is a process that requires Custom Place Settingsmaneuverability. Don’t think you can grab a notepad and make your decisions on the first pass going table by table. Plan to change your mind, rearrange couples, and move guests around until you are completely happy with the final seating chart. Number sheets of paper to represent your tables, and label strips of sticky notes with the names of your guests. Lay everything out on your dining room table and start working through the placements, moving guests around until you are comfortable with your decisions.

Choose a Grouping Strategy Based on Relationships

You may be tempted to mix and match grooms’ side with brides’ side, and college friends with out-of-town relatives to encourage your guests to get to know one another. Know that your guests will have an opportunity to meet and greet throughout the day, but when it comes to the dinner hour, when guests will be presented with the greatest opportunities for focused conversation, you’re better off grouping together guests who already know one another well. Seat your Father’s conservative siblings and their spouses at one table, and your fiancé’s rowdy fraternity brothers at another table. Both sets of guests will be glad for the opportunity to spend some dedicated time catching-up.

Ask Questions

Let us be clear that your final place settings should be decided by you and your fiancé, and not by your parents, your in-laws, your maid of honor, or yoCustom Wedding Place Settings New Jerseyur college roommate who has started filling up your Facebook stream with ideas and questions about your wedding. That being said, it will help you to ask some questions of key friends and family members to help make seating decisions. For example, ask your Mother if she thinks your Aunt Kathy in Mahwah may want to sit next to Cousin Stephanie who just moved away to Philadelphia. Or, ask your fiancé if his college roommate Kevin is still mad at his friend Greg for dating his ex-girlfriend. Getting some insight into relationship dynamics that you are less familiar with may help to ease your worries and make the dinner hour as enjoyable as possible for everyone.

Avoid Creating a “Singles’” Table.

You will undoubtedly end up with an odd number of guests. Placing couples with other couples will be easier than trying to place individual guests. Whatever you do though, avoid resorting to putting all of your single friends together. Don’t convince yourself that some of them may be interested in swapping digits at the end of the night. If they’re feeling down about going to your wedding without a plus one, being seated at the designated singles’ table, may only damper their enjoyment.

Don’t Forget to Prioritize Your ‘Rents

When it comes to seating your parents, you’ll need to decide if you are going to take a traditional approach, or a more modern philosophy. Custom Wedding Place SettingsTraditionally, your parents and your new in-laws would be seated at the same table with both sets of grandparents, siblings not in the wedding party, and the officiant and his/her spouse. This may not work for every family, however. For example, if one or both sets of parents are divorced, consider seating them with their current spouses, if applicable, and their other close family members, rather than together, if that would be more comfortable for them.

Remember that your final guest lists will evolve throughout your engagement. As you start to receive RSVP card responses, don’t be surprised if you start hearing pleas from your teenage cousin to bring her boyfriend, or last minute cancellations from your flighty Aunt Delilah. Don’t let last minute changes add stress to your planning. Do be appreciative for everyone who is able and willing to spend your special day with you. No matter where they sit, they will be happy to celebrate your love and commitment and to be a part of your wedding.

 

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Say “Thank You” to your #Squad with These Bridal Party Gift Ideas

You chose your nearest and dearest to stand beside you on your big day. They celebrated with you, they cried with you, they fixed your train, and they helped to make sure your crazy cousin Jeremy from Hoboken didn’t start a conga line during your reception. They deserve a thank you gift (and a hug)! Here are 13 ideas for saying thank you to your bridal party.Bridesmaids gifts alex and ani

  1. A Memorable Piece of Jewelry. Your bridesmaids have likely invested a lot of time and money in your wedding. Say thank you with a tasteful piece of jewelry that is reminiscent of your wedding theme. (Photo Courtesy: Alex and Ani).
  1. Floral Candles. Choose a scent that will remind your bridesmaids of the flowers they carried down the aisle. 
  1. Bubbly Champagne and Classic Stemware. After you have stamped your passport for your honeymoon, leave your bridesmaids celebrating with bottles of Chardon champagne and engraved champagne flutes.
  1. bridesmaids gifts mani pediMani-Pedis Gift Certificates. Your bridesmaids have spent months making sure you look perfect on your big day. Let them treat themselves to a manicure, pedicure or both! (Photo Courtesy: ISTOCKPHOTO/THINKSTOCK).
  1. A Beautiful Handbag. Help your girls to carry a reminder of your wedding with them every day with a tasteful handbag.
  1. An Elegant Robe. Let your bridesmaids relax and indulge with a signature bathrobe. Whether you chose comfortable cotton or monogrammed silk, a tasteful robe will show them how much you appreciate all of their hard work!
  1. bridesmaids gifts cookies new JerseyA Memorable Framed Photo. Give the gift of memory with a framed photo of you and each of your bridesmaids.
  1. Sweet Treats. Encourage your bridal party to indulge in fabulous, decadent treats, like these colorful macaroons of the month from from Dana’s Bakery.
  1. Comfy Sleepwear. Your team worked hard getting you to your big day. Encourage them to relax with a signature sleepwear set. Choose colors that reflect your wedding theme.
  1. A Beauty Box Subscription. Give the gift that keeps giving. Subscribe your bridesmaids to a monthly beauty box subscription from Ipsy, Boxycharm, or Yuzen.
  1. Romantic Perfumes. The perfect scent can help set the perfect mood, relax, calm, rejuvenate, or strengthen. Pick the perfect scent for each girl based on what makes her unique.
  1. Do Not Disturb RSVP to meA Lavender Sachet for Beautiful Dreams. Encourage you bridesmaids to dream relaxing dreams with a lavender-scented sachet. We love Peaceful Dreamzzz from Do Not Disturb.

 

  1. Monogrammed flasks for your groomsmen. We didn’t forget the men! An engraved flask will leave your new husband’s groomsmen with a classy reminder of your wedding and your friendship.

Custom Thank You Notes New JerseyWhatever gifts you choose, remember to include a hand written thank you note. Remind each bridal party member why it was important for you to have them beside you during your wedding, and how special they are to you, now and always.