Wedding Reception Seating Arrangements: The do’s and don’ts for every layout

As the big wedding day approaches and every thing is falling into place, one of the last tasks to tick off the list is probably the seating chart – after everyone has sent back their RSVP’s and you have a definite head count of the guests then you can start the reception seating arrangement. This is not an easy task as you are trying to fit people together without breaking up couples and finding the right tables to be near each other, making sure everyone will get along, etc…

According to your wedding party (the number of guests attending) and the size of the reception room you will need to decide on round or rectangular/square tables. For an easy flow to the room, rounded tables are always a great option, however traditionally the top table, where the bride and groom are seated, is normally quite long and rectangular.


If you are one to keep to tradition then the top table usually includes the maid of honour, groom’s father, groom’s mother. the groom, the bride, bride’s father, bride’s mother and the best man, in that order. However you can switch it up and design your own layout for the top table, for example to include siblings and other partners.

Table settings can be up to 10 people per table, adding more could make it too crowded and a minimum of 5/6 settings per table, less people would make it to be too intimate – like double-dating at the wedding reception!


There is a certain cliche that the tables towards the end of the room, meaning furthest from the top table, are reserved for the guests that were invited out of pure kindness, like the distant cousin that you have not seen since your were 10, or your friend from high school that you have not spoken to in over a year, but this does not have to be true! By positioning the top table correctly, all guests can feel appreciated. If you have opted for round tables you could place the top table in the centre, surrounded by the other tables. Or if you have opted for rectangular/square tables then why not position the top table in a sense where the other tables create a box around it and possibly make the centre of the room the dance floor – this is a very popular layout!


The next part is the hardest – placing the guests on each table! To mix things up why not place 3 people who know each other with 3 people who do not know each other (on a table of 6 for example), DO NOT separate couples, where is the love in that? After all a wedding is a celebration of love so each table should include guests who get along well with each other, adding a few guests who don’t know anyone on the table will prompt conversation and keep things interesting. Having tables filled with guests who only know each other will look to cliquey and this will not encourage mingling with other guests at other tables.

Remember to include a ‘Kids’ table, only if children will be attending of course. The kids table will allow them to enjoy the reception as much as the adults. be sure to include some party favours and entertainment too! It can be tricky to fill up the tables equally when there are quite a few singles attending, however this could be a good opportunity to play match-maker.

The table and seating arrangements are very important towards the big day as your guests happiness will make the day more enjoyable and everyone will get along for sure with a good planning!


Here are a few tips to remember when arranging the seating plan;

Be sure to have a male/female/male/female/… seating assignment for balance

Remember the closest tables to the top table (where the bride and groom are) are normally reserved for close family members

Mix it up and mingle the guests, be sure to take ages and interests into consideration

Include table numbers (or names), making it easier for your guests to find their seat




By Kelsey Hardy


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