Wedding Seating 101

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Everyone who has planned a wedding has been there - the struggle of planning your seating chart is very real, but it doesn’t have to be a dreaded point in your planning process! To lighten the load on your shoulders, read our pros and cons of each seating arrangement to see what is most suitable for you! 

Why Have a Seating Chart?

A seating chart steers clear of any conflict that may occur if there wasn’t one in place! This way all guests are certain to have a seat with their loved ones, and when it comes to the meal it saves our servers any confusion. Especially with a served meal, our staff needs to be aware of who is sitting where for not only serving, but also preparing in the kitchen! The question might arise, “what if I’m doing a buffet style meal, is this any different?” In a case like this, we’d still strongly encourage a seating chart to be sure relatives and close friends are served first and ensures everything runs smoothly on your big day.

Table Set-up - Wedding Party

The options are endless when it comes to wedding party seating. While there are more options than just the following three, here’s some of the most popular ideas we see couples using the most consistently! 

Sweetheart Table

When it comes to the sweetheart table, everything’s pretty straightforward. This table is meant for just you and your spouse. Typically, these are placed at the front of the room overlooking the rest of your guests. If you’re wondering where your wedding party will go if you do a sweetheart table, the answer’s easy! They will go to sit with their dates, friends, family or whoever is attending your wedding that is close to them. Seat them just like you would any other guest!


The most obvious pro when it comes to the sweetheart table is that you and your spouse have a little more time one-on-one to talk while you enjoy your reception. Especially with how crazy your big day will be, some couples find this as a much-needed time to have a second to catch up!


Going along with the pros, the cons are the exact opposite. By doing a sweetheart table you’re no longer sat with your wedding party and won’t have as much of a chance to talk to them. While you will still see them the rest of the night, some couples find they would rather sit with the people closest to them to spend more time together on the day of. 

Head Table

For your traditional head table, the couple would be sat in the middle of a rectangular table with the wedding party on either side. Just like the sweetheart table, this is placed at the front of the room and will be the focal point of your seating!


Deciding to do a head table allows you to sit with your wedding party and take your wedding in together. You’ll still be able to talk to your spouse while including some of the people who are most important to you!


Sometimes a head table can be challenging. Most likely you will only be able to talk to who you’re sat by on the left and right side of you. If your whole wedding party is close/tight knit, this may not be an issue for some!

King’s Table

A king’s table is either a round or rectangle table with your wedding party sat around it. How you’d like to sit each member of your wedding party is completely up to you!


If you and your spouse aren’t keen on the idea of being the focal point during your reception, the king’s table is a perfect fit. Due to the shape of a king’s table, it will blend into the rest of your seating plan, and everyone in your wedding party has the ability to talk to everyone else at the table. This is perfect for conversation, and if you have a small wedding party you can also include your family, other friends, or your wedding party’s dates in this table if you so choose!


On the other end of the spectrum, if you would like to be the focal point this may not be the best option! While everyone at your wedding will know where your table is, it won’t stand out like the sweetheart table or the head table. 

Table Set-up - Guests

When planning how you’d like your guests to be seated, consider these few tips to make this process as smooth as can be!

Choose which table shape you’d like

Here at the Rail we offer round and rectangle tables. Choose which look you’d like the best, or even mix the two! At our venue we have the space to create whatever layout you’ve been dreaming about.

Create groups based on who knows who

When thinking of where to put all your guests, consider who knows who! Whether this be coworkers, friends from school, family members; the list goes on and on! If you find a guest who isn't familiar with anyone else at your wedding, seat them at a place you know they will feel comfortable, such as a table of people with similar interests! Also consider giving these guests a plus one.

Talk to your wedding planner to create a virtual layout!

Don’t worry about trying to create a layout on your own, your wedding planner will already be working with you on this! Once you’re completely happy with how your layout turned out, you can begin filling in names for each table. This keeps everyone organized and on the same page!

In a nutshell…

No matter what your seating plan is, it’s ultimately up to you! There are no wrong answers when it comes to your big day, and our team will always be excited to assist in any questions you may have! Happy planning!

~RR Wedding Team

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