I am not a wedding planner, but I did have a neat wedding planner binder: [therefore I'm an expert, right?]
I think seating charts are often a debated concept in wedding planning. I can see the idea behind both wanting one and wanting to avoid one. It's easy to see why you wouldn't want a seating chart: you don't have to worry about hurt feelings about where anyone is sitting, you don't have to figure out if Aunt Jude will get along with your college roommate or if Bill is going to make anti-religious jokes to your conservative religious grandparents. Plus, I understand the concerns that they seem overly controlling, etc.
I started off in camp 'free for all!' seating. Logistics made that impossible. If you are going to free seat, you need extra seats (you are going to end up with tables that are less than fulling utilized and people trying to shuffle around to make room for larger parties). We didn't have extra seats.
After the idea that we had to do it sunk it, I began to realize it really should be the responsibility of the hostess to make an event as easy for the guests as possible. Without a seating chart, instead of you working out the details of who sits where with whom in the comfort of your living room weeks on advance, your guests scramble around trying to accomplish the same thing. I think the control freak aspect is the same as with all wedding things. Recognize the day of the wedding things aren't going to go exactly as you planned. You will have unexpected guests, you will have people rearranging themselves, but for me, a plan was still the best way to go.
So we were doing a seating chart.
Supplies: Post it notes and paper plates.
Any project that involves lots of post-its in lots of colors is a project I can at least appreciate. Hence, seating chart time was not nearly so bad as anticipated.
Gavin had the great idea of using post its for each party and paper plates for the tables. We had three groups, each with a different color, which is essentially how our guest list was divided when we made it.
- His family
- My family
Everybody got stuck to the wall. Each table was numbered and the people got stuck to the plate we wanted them at. The advantage to the plates and post its is that is was easy to move people around, but everything stayed in place while we were working.
Overall, our first draft seating chart only took about an hour and half a bottle of pinot noir, including writing all the names and table numbers. Not too shabby.
Then when it came to name our tables (each table was named after a Disney couple) we got to decide who got to Mike and Sally and who got to be Lady and the Tramp. I admit, it was my own way of resolving some wedding angst. :) Speaking of tables, these were ours:
This was set on the guest card table and each table had a matching picture (just in case some guests weren't up to date on their Disney duos!)
In the end, I was happy with our process and our result
Of course it helped to have a super helpful staff. I don't know of any seating issues, but I'm sure they would have resolved them before I could have ever found out about them. I did hear a child shatter a champagne glass against the side of a table, and Disney had it whisked away before I could even figure out which direction it came from! So another thank you to the fantastic staff at Disney for making me at least believe that my Seating Chart was magical. :)