There’s no doubt that creating a seating chart for a wedding reception can be a daunting task ,even for the most clever planner. There are just so many “relationship based” variables to consider... keeping certain family members together...keeping certain family members apart...keeping co-workers near each other...and even finding a great place to sit that one particular couple who really doesn't know anyone else in attendance. The possibilities are truly endless.
Though all of these “relationship” based variables are certainly important….there is another set of variables that you may wish to consider as well before drawing up that all important seating chart.
The Party Poopers
We all have certain family members and friends that are just NOT party people. In fact, without much effort, you can probably imagine which guests will be among the first to leave your reception. Envision this for a moment. If these guests were seated at a table that is front and center or in a prime spot within the room...their departure would be much more noticeable to other guests than if they were seated off to the side or closer to the door. Nothing screams “the party is over” like empty seats front and center. Once the other guests begin to notice empty seats...their brains start wondering what time it is and how much longer they will be staying. If the empty seats are off to the side or closer to the exit they may not make such an impact.
The Party Animals
You know just who I'm talking about! These are the folks that walk in the door and are already set to party. Everyone loves to see a full dance floor at their wedding reception .... so why not make it easier for this group of people to get the party started? Keep them close to the dance floor! The fact is…..the sooner these “party people” hit the floor the easier it is for others to join in. Other guests may not want to be the first one on the floor....but if you already have a few guests on the floor it doesn't take as much courage to join in the fun. Furthermore, these are usually the people that stay longer. Just as the “party poopers” leaving early draws unwanted attention….the “party animals” staying longer and having fun front and center brings a much more positive vibe to the reception.
Guests with Sensitive Hearing
Though this may seem to be common sense, a great many couples completely overlook the obvious. The placement of the DJ should also be taken into consideration when creating the seating chart for your guests. Stay with me here. The speakers are generally set up on either side of the DJ table....the sound comes directly from those speakers.....therefore, guests with more sensitive hearing should probably not be seated near the DJ table. After performing at over 1800 receptions, I can tell you that older guests (or those with hearing aids) are never overly happy to be placed near the music. In fact, you can see it in their eyes as soon as they realize they have been put near the DJ table. It’s extremely similar to that “deer in headlights” look.
Many brides and grooms have the impression that sitting older guests up front will make them happy or make them feel important...but in truth this group of people would much rather be further away from the sound. In most non-wedding events where guests are able to choose their own seats...this group, of people never ever choose to sit by the music. Keep in mind that the area closest to the DJ is generally better suited to younger guests that are used to going to events with music.
I know that working on your seating chart is tricky enough just worrying about the relationships of people involved. However, it’s my hope that by using a little extra thought on some of these variables will not only keep your family and friends comfortable and happy but also go a long way in helping to create a better party atmosphere for everyone involved.