Ever seen the episode of “Friends” where Ross gets stuck at the kiddie table eating hot dogs after he switches his assigned table number?

Kids’ table aside, there are plenty of good reasons to create seating charts at weddings or rehearsal dinners. Assigned seating creates a sense of order. It allows couples to get guaranteed seats beside one another, food may be served more quickly if guests are where they’re supposed to be, and assigning seating or tables for older relatives and parents helps ensure they get seats in prime locations.

Plus place cards and table cards infuse the affair with a more personalized touch.

  • Keep in mind who gets along with whom and who doesn’t. The wedding day is about the married couple, not about your uncle’s third ex-wife. Maybe you need to keep Aunt Linda away from Uncle Richard. Or you just want to make sure your great-grandmother can see the wedding toasts … or you seat your college buddies in close proximity to (or far away from) the bar.
  • In general, give children the lowest priority in terms of location. They will care less about speeches or being able to see.
  • Place elderly or handicapped friends and family well within view of the action so they won’t feel left out. If there’s a band or DJ, however, try to keep them away from speakers or overly loud noises.
  • Try to distribute guests as evenly as possible. Keep a fairly even male-to-female ratio.
  • When it comes to setting down the table place cards, you can do it one of two ways. Have the cards already on the tables with assigned seating, or set up a table in an entryway with all the place cards, so guests may pick theirs up and take it to their assigned table.
  • If you’re planning on keeping the cards on the table, in order to cut down on chaos when guests enter the venue, it’s helpful to provide a seating chart near the door or in the foyer to avoid having people go table to table looking for their names. Consider listing names alphabetically rather than by table number so guests can locate their names more quickly.

PAPYRUS has place cards available in a wide array of colors, fonts and styles. Thick creamy cardstock in warm and bright whites provide space for a guest’s name and preferred table number. For more formal affairs, we love the Bright White Digital Place Card with its classic bride-and-groom monogram. You may consider having a calligrapher pen the names on the cards for an extra bit of elegance.

For a more laid-back affair, we love the Warm White Thermography Place Card with a bay scallop seashell. Write guests’ names and table numbers in silver or gold ink.

And finally: Don’t over think things! Assigning table numbers to guests may be a little extra work on the front end. But by creating a wedding seating chart, you’ll help to ensure your wedding day runs as smoothly and seamlessly as possible.