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Seating Arrangements

Trying to coordinate the seating arrangements for weddings and Bar/Bat Mitzvah receptions can be quite strenuous. How do you decide where to place people who may dislike each other, people who were invited because they work with you, children who were invited just because they are in your childís class or your best friendís fourth cousin? Seating arrangements can be very difficult to plan because there are so many options. There are many selections for how the room could be set up and ways to choose where people are sitting. That is the thorniest part of the process. Here are some considerations that can help in making this oh so complex task a little more bearable:

  • Plan a method of how to arrange people in their seats at various tables. Use post-its or a computer software
  • Once RSVPís start coming back, keep a running list of who is attending.
  • As soon as about half of the RSVPís have been received, party planners can start to place guests at tables. From then on, you may be able to assume who the rest of the guests may be so you continue seating.
  • Draw a big map of the room; guest tables, speakers, DJ, dance floor, exists and entrances...(Brideís and Groomís side, if they are similar numbers of guests)
  • You must decide whether you want round tables (guests with partners sit side by side) or long tables (partners are seated opposite of each other).
  • Children should sit with their parents or at a children-only table, adults should be seated with people that have similar interests (this will make guests more comfortable).
  • Close family and friends should be seated nearest the top table (where the bridal party sits).
  • Finally, have a guest book at the entrance. When guests sign in, they can find out where they will be sitting for the reception. Place cards can be used so guests know exactly what seat is theirs.
Bar/Bat Mitzvahs
  • Start planning one month in advance.
  • Place all immediate family together.
  • Teens should sit together.
  • Relatives that know each other should sit together.
  • The motherís side of the family can be seated on one side while the fatherís side can sit on the opposite side of the room.
  • As distance becomes a factor, those who are not as close to the family can be seated further back.
This part of planning for special events can work out for the best if you just remain calm and plan ahead. One of the most beneficial pieces of help that planners can purchase is an event planning software. This device allows you to map out the venue; tables, dance floor, speakers, DJ location, entrances and exits, keep food records for caterers, mix and match seating locations and finally, give a visual reference to the vendors. If this software does not appeal to you or is not in your budget, there are other options. Post-it notes are useful tools. Each guest's name is placed on a post-it note and then placed a certain table. As situations change, the names can be moved from table to table ending in an arrangement that works best. This important moment in your life is supposed to be a happy time, do not let that change because of a complicated segment in the planning process. With few exceptions, everyone has a great time at a special event, and problems you thought would be critical go largely unnoticed by guests.

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