Wedding Reception Seating

Your Reception Seating Arrangement

Your wedding reception seating arrangement will first depend upon the shape of the tables your reception venue provides. For example, if the wedding venue provides long tables partners are customarily seated across from one another; while at round tables couples are seated beside one another.

Wedding etiquette dictates the following concerning wedding seating arrangements:

  • Male and female guests should be alternated when seated.
  • Couples should be seated beside one another, but where space is limited couples should at least remain at the same table.
  • Children should always be next to at least one parent.
  • The bridal party is ideally seated at the front of the room at a long top table facing guests.
  • The bridal party table seats the newlyweds in the middle, maid of honor to the groom's left, best man to the bride's right, and other attendants alternate male/female.
  • The bridal party shouldn't be seated with their backs to any guest - so a round table is unacceptable.
  • The cake should be displayed on a small table to one side of the bridal party so that guests can take pictures and the bride and groom can cut the cake facing guests.
  • Seat family and close friends closest to the wedding party's table.
  • More distant friends and relatives can be seated at further tables.
  • Where possible, seat guests with familiar people so they're comfortable.
  • Aim to have similar age groups seated together.

Wedding receptions with 100 guests or more can prove chaotic when sitting for dinner. The best way to get your guests comfortably to their seats is with printed table plans and table place cards.

Printed table plans should be displayed at the entrance to the reception hall or dining area. For easy reference, guest names should appear alphabetically with their table number printed next to their name. A map of the table layout and table numbers allows guests to find their table swiftly.

Each guest will find their table place card on the table, at their place setting. Many couples use their table place cards as a unique way to give their guest favors. Place cards can be presented printed onto napkin rings, in little silver picture frames, in free-standing photo clips or in magnets for your guests to take home with them after the reception.

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