Wedding Seating Chart Headaches, Begone

Wedding planner Linnea Tangorra has tips that'll kick your stress to the back seat.

To avoid a case of blank stares and musical chairs, your wedding’s seating chart can be evil, but is also a necessity that makes your guests comfortable. It’s also the bane of most brides’ and grooms’ wedding planning. We all know the drama that comes with every place card you set. So we asked Linnea Tangorra, owner of Tangorra Wedding Planning, to give us a few guidelines.

“I usually tell couples to start early and start with the guests they know will attend,” she says. “Then I ask them to try to separate guests in groups of eight, give or take a few.”

She recommends eight to nine people at a 60-inch round table or 10 to 11 people at a 72-inch round. If you have square tables, she suggests only putting eight people (two per side), and three to four people at a long side of a rectangular table (without anyone on the ends).

First to prioritize, Tangorra says, is family. “Immediate family should be with each other and close to the bride and groom. Each set of parents should be on either side, or very close to, the head table.”

Of course, that is if you have a head table. Head and sweetheart tables might be becoming a thing of the past, with more brides and grooms choosing to mingle within the crowd instead of being separated. “It’s about fifty-fifty. I’m definitely not seeing the sweetheart table as much anymore,” says Tangorra. “I am finding that couples like to sit with either their parents or siblings these days.”

As for grouping your tables, try to think about times in your life and who fits into those moments—high school, sorority, college, jobs, family—and then place them accordingly. But of course, do expect some headaches along the way. “Oh yes, there are the divorced family members who don’t want to be near each other…These can be sensitive areas,” she says.

Finally, Tangorra adds, “Try to be sympathetic and accommodating without compromising your ideas.” Indeed.

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