Larry James' CelebrateIntimateWeddings BLOG

Monday, July 2, 2012

Tips on Seating Guests at Your Wedding Reception

Kim Horn, MBC™, Guest Author

Your RSVPs are in, what’s next?

Deciding who sits with whom requires being tactful, being considerate, having diplomacy, and having a sense of adventure. This is similar to a jigsaw puzzle, where you will be putting all the pieces together, one by one.

1. Do I really need assigned seating? Most guests prefer having assigned seating to a table. Unassigned seating sounds great in theory, yet it rarely works out well.

• Do you like going to an event which is “general admission”?
• There may be a “rush” for the best seats.
• Couples may get split up.
• If people turn up who did not RSVP, they may take seats intended for your RSVPed guests.

2. Assigning tables or assigning seats? Guests may be assigned to a table (where they may be choose any seat) or assigned to a specific seat. Assigning tables is more common in the United States, where assigning seats (Mr. Steve Horn is at one o’clock, and Mrs. Kim Horn is at two o’clock) is more common in Europe.

3. Obtain a floor plan of your room from your reception site manager. Make photocopies of the floor plan so you may work with the seating arrangements. A few items are critical in the seating placement of your guests, such as placement of your:

• band/DJ (not the best seating placement for your grandparents)
• dance floor (next to your DJ/Band)
• bar(s)
• food tables (depending on the type of service you have chosen – sit-down/plated, action stations, or a buffet)
• cake table (away from the sun or heated area)
• dessert bar or candy bar (not the best seating placement for children)
• number/name your tables (make sure you place Table #1 next to Table #2; if you have “names” for your tables, make sure they are alphabetical beginning with the letter “A”)

www.amyandbyronphotography.com4. Know your tables sizes and how many guests fit at each table.

• 36” rounds seat 2-4 people
• 48” rounds seat 4-6 people
• 60” rounds seats 8-10 people
• 66” rounds seat 10 people
• 72” rounds seat 10–12 people
• 4’ banquet seats 4–6 people
• 6’ banquet seats 6–8 people
• 8’ banquet seats 8–10 people
• 36” square seats 4 people
• 48” square seats 8 people
• 60” square seats 10 people
• 72” square seats 12 people

NOTE: If you are having chargers/base plates, you may want to reduce the number of people at each table, since some charges are 13” in diameter.

5. Seating the bride and groom.

• together at a sweetheart table for two
• together with your matron/maid of honor and best man
• together with your matron/maid of honor, best man, and their spouse/guest
• together with your wedding party
• together with your wedding party and their spouse/guest
• together with both sets of parents

6. Seating parents. Traditionally you would have one table for the bride’s family and close friends, and another for the groom’s family. You may want to combine the two tables, yet normally there is an entourage of extended family and friends. When the bride and/or groom’s parents are divorced, and all are in attendance, it is usually not the best idea to seat them together. Hopefully they are amicable, yet the extended family of each may make it difficult logistically to seat them all at one table.

beachplacecards7. The bridal party table. Be creative with your wedding party. Think of how you feel when you attend weddings or events. You may your wedding party to sit with their spouse, guest, or family. The bridal party table may be a rectangular table set against one side or end of the room. The bride and groom sit at the center of the long side of the table, facing out so guests may see you. No one is seated opposite of the bride and groom. The bride sits on the groom’s right, with the best man on her right; the maid/matron of honor sits on the groom’s left, and the bridesmaids and groomsmen alternate along the same side of the table. If you have a large wedding party, or if you want the spouses/guests of the wedding party to be seated with them, you may want a U-shape table with the bride and groom in the center.

8. Other guest tables. Your basic objective is to make each table as congenial as possible. For couples, try to mix and match while considering their personalities and interests. Try to “fill the table”. If you have a table for 10, try to fill it with 10 guests. It will cost you more money on each table, linen, centerpiece, etc., if you do not fill your tables. Trust your instincts and common sense. If you do not personally know the guest, discuss with your fiancé or the parent which invited that person to assist you in the most logical positioning and grouping. NOTE: Seating a guest at a table where the other guests are close friends may leave the person feeling uncomfortable.

kids9. Seating children. Younger children are usually seated with their parents. Older children, tweens, or teens enjoy not being seated with their parents.

10. Seating disabled guests. If you have a guest in a wheelchair, you may want to put them close to the entrance doors so they easily may get in and out of the room. You may want to remove the chair for them if they will be seated in their wheelchair. If they would like to be seated in their chair, you may want to move the wheelchair to the side of the room for them. If someone has difficulty walking and has a cane or walker, normally it is easier to place them closer to the entrance doors. A person with impaired hearing or impaired vision may enjoy being placed near the bridal party or near the band/DJ.

assignedseating11. Seating charts, escort cards, tables numbers, and place cards. Guests will need to know which table they are seated at so they don’t have to walk around to every table to find their place. Place cards are recommended for seated dinners and formal buffets with more than twenty guests. Table numbers with stanchions or frames are placed on each table to display the number or name of the table. Table cards assign a guest to a specific table. Place cards assign a guest to a specific seat at a specific table. The table number of each guest’s table is written on his or her place card. These place cards are in alphabetical order by last name at the reception entrance. For assigned seating at the table, you will need to assign a direction in the room such as “the band is at 12 o’clock”, and seating is clockwise in the room. Make sure you number your floor plan with the appropriate table number or table name, and make sure the reception site has table numbers and table number holders/frames (hopefully their selection will match your décor).

12. Alphabetical list by last name of guest with their table number or table name. Make sure your wedding planner and head captain have your approved floor plan as well as an alphabetical list by last name of the guest with their assigned table number. It is also helpful if you have a table number or table name list with the guests listed under this. You will want to double and triple check this to make sure everyone has a seat.

13. Open the doors. Make sure at each entrance you have your wedding planner, a head captain, or a server with a detailed floor plan directing guests to their tables.

Larry’s NOTE and Opinion: Some brides and grooms and/or venues reserve a table at the reception for the vendors. Do not seat your Minister/Wedding OFficiant at the vendor table. Request that your Minister be seated with the guests. This is a better idea and is a sign of respect. It allows your family and friends the opportunity to offer their “thank yous” for a job well done. By the way, if the minister is invited to the reception and you have assigned seating, be sure to add the minister’s name to the guest list. It’s embarrassing for the minister to have to ask where he should sit if you forget to have a place card with his name and table number on it.

P.S. from Larry James: I have worked with Kim Horn, MBC™ as the Wedding Consultant many times. She is a true professional and a joy to work with. Kim gets 5 Stars from Larry James!

Photo Credit: Kim’s photo by www.AmyandByronPhotography.com

KimHornCopyright © 2012 – Kim Horn. To hire Kim as your wedding consultant, call 480.921.7891 or text your name, wedding date, and wedding planner request to 602.418.9089.

Kim M. Horn, MBC™ (Master Bridal Consultant – 1 of 61 in the World)
Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Chandler, Phoenix and Destination Weddings
Publisher | Pres. | ArizonaBridalSource.com
AZ State Coordinator Assoc. of Bridal Consultants May 2003 – May 2012
2010 Annual Conference Chair (worked with David Tutera) – Assoc. of Bridal Consultants
View a video of Kim Horn.

Office: 480.921.7891
Cell: 602.418.9089
FAX: 480.829.6292
E-mail: info@ArizonaBridalSource.com
ArizonaBridalSource.com

Larry James is a non-denominational minister and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. You will find more than 470 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles, “LoveNotes” and wedding tips listed in this Wedding BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

How About a Wedding in the Round?

Filed under: Wedding Seating,Wedding Tips — Larry James @ 7:00 am

I love new wedding ideas! I also believe that in order for you to have a memorable wedding it is often wise to break with tradition and do something different.

Recently I introduced another of my bright ideas called, “A Bright Idea for Seating the Parents of the Bride and Groom!” which certainly breaks tradition. Every bride and groom I have shared this idea with loves it. I am finding that the guests love to come to a wedding where they will not be subjected to a lot of out-of-date traditions. So here is another great idea.

Although a “Wedding in the Round” is not a totally new idea, it is a very refreshing way to arrange the seating at a wedding – with a modern twist. There’s not a bad seat in the house. You could almost say that everyone has a front row seat or “the best seat” in the house. It avoids the hierarchy of rows and rows of seats. It also provides a unique panoramic view for each of your guests. It truly represents the ring of love.

Outdoor settings are ideal for weddings in the round. This idea certainly creates an interesting ceremony environment. Seating in-the-round is always fun because it gives everyone a chance to get a close-up view of the bride and groom as they walk into the “circle of Love.” It’s a great time for the guests to take photos. A round seating arrangement can help the guests feel closer to the couple and ensure that they can hear and see the ceremony. It allows them to see your tears, hear your excitement and feel the love. It also creates a feeling of romantic intimacy for the bride and groom in that they have the feeling of being surrounded by family and friends.

RavenVerrado2

Raven Golf Club at Verrado is an exquisite site for an Arizona wedding, with beautiful Arizona desert vistas and water features surrounding the exquisitely manicured grounds, and luxurious outdoor and indoor settings for dining, dancing, and exchanging vows. Call Ann Mattis – 623-388-3002 or click on this photo.

The happy couple stand in the center of the circle and are surrounded by all the love and support of all your family and friends. They become the absolute focal point of the wedding ceremony.

A platform can be placed in the middle of the circle upon which the bride and groom can stand with the wedding officiant. Someone doing a special reading also comes to the platform.

MichelleDurpettiEventsOne version could be the the wedding officiant and the groom walk into the circle together and the bride walks with her escort (usually her father) to the center of the circle.

Another version could be that the wedding officiant walks in first and the father escorts the bride to the entrance and groom awaits the bride at the circle’s entrance and together they walk around the entire inside of the circle so they and their guests gets a front, side and back view of bride and groom.

roundweddingTo accommodate the bridal party, simply make the inner-circle bigger. Some couples have the bridal party be seated in the inner-circle instead of standing so everyone can see while the ceremony is being performed. Others prefer to have the wedding party stand in one of the four aisles that you see in the photo above.

A seating arrangement that creates a 4-way entrance leaves your guest in suspense. Which aisle will the bride enter? With four different entrances, the bride can select her aisle separate from the bridal party.

The inner-circle become a sacred space for the wedding ceremony. The parents of the bride and groom are always seated in the center closest to the bride and groom. You can place reserved signs on the seats for the parents and grandparents.

imgfave.comSo that everyone doesn’t have to see only the backs of the bride and groom, the wedding officiant – at various times during the ceremony – can rotate the positions of the bride and groom so everyone will get a good view. The circle arrangement also encourages no empty seats – which shows up well in the photos. Ushers can ask the guests who are entering to please walk all the way to the center, leaving no empty seats.

Ask the wedding officiant to add a few words to the ceremony that refers to the significance of the circle – represented as a continuance of an unending love; similar to the symbolism of the wedding ring; an unbroken line that has no beginning and no end. It emphasizes completeness and unity.

A wedding in the round is a fun and different way to showcase your ceremony and what a wonderful way to provide a 360 view for your guests!

Photo credits: Top 2 photos by Larry James. Third photo from the bottom (right) compliments of Michelle Durpetti Events, Chicago. Photo with couple in the middle, Studio Mathewes Photography, Baltimore.

Copyright © 2012 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s “romantic” Wedding Website. Larry James is an award winning, non-denominational wedding officiant and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. Pre-maritial relationship coaching is available and not required. You will find more than 470 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles, “LoveNotes” and wedding tips listed in this Wedding BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Bright Idea for Seating the Parents of the Bride and Groom

This idea falls into the category of “Why didn’t I think of this before??!!” 😉

Tradition says the parents of the bride sit in the front row on the left side and the parents of the groom sit in the front row on the right side.

parentsWhen the couple walks up the aisle, the bride is usually on the left and whoever is escorting her is on the right. Once the groom takes his place next to the bride their backs are to the guests. In my “romantic” wedding ceremony after about 6 minutes into the presentation of the ceremony they are asked to face each other holding hands.

Here’s the problem I noticed recently. When the bride faces the groom, she is facing away from her parents and the only thing they see is her back. The parents of the groom can only see the back of the groom.

BridesSideWeddingWoman.netSolution: Seat the parents of the bride on the right side and the parents of the groom on the left side. I know, that’s not tradition, however the first time we actually seated the parents in this manner, both sets of parents came up to me after the ceremony to personally thank me for allowing them to see the expressions on the faces of their daughter and son as the ceremony was being performed.

If you like this idea, please be sure to let the Wedding Consultant and the wedding coordinator at your wedding venue, otherwise tradition will most likely be the rule of the day.

Larry’s Note: We have been encouraging brides and grooms to tell the ushers – when asked, “Which side is the bride’s side?” to ask the guests to please fill the seats near the front first so the photos look more balanced. Some will display the sign asking the guests to choose a seat not a side near the guest entrance. Old traditions are hard to break, but bridal couples must be mindful that just because something has been around for a long time, doesn’t mean that fashioning new rituals isn’t perfectly acceptable and perhaps even preferable.

BONUS Articles: Who (of the bridal party) Walks Down the Aisle First?
Traditional Wedding or NOT!?

Copyright © 2012 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s “romantic” Wedding Website. Larry James is an award winning, non-denominational wedding officiant and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. Pre-maritial relationship coaching is available and not required. You will find more than 470 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles, “LoveNotes” and wedding tips listed in this Wedding BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

letsbefriends2

Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationship BLOG” at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com/
Follow Larry’s “Networking BLOG” at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Authors & Speakers” BLOG at: http://AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.wordpress.com

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