Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Seating Arranging 101

Now that you have decided on assigned seating at your wedding, here is some helpful information to guide you through the process. Below are things to know about seating arrangements at the Monte Verde Inn:

  • Our round tables seat 8-10 people. If you want to use our silver chargers (a decor plate that goes at each place setting), you can only put 8-9 people per table. If your guest count is over 160, you will need to seat 10 per table due space restrictions in the garden.
  • Numbering tables is the easiest way to label your tables. The Monte Verde Inn already has pre-made framed table numbers for you to use (see picture of example above). If you do not like our framed numbers, you may provide your own. I have seen people name the tables in all different ways, places the couple has visited, wine varieties, classical composers, Disney characters, different trees…….If you do provide you own table identifiers, make sure that they don’t over power your centerpiece and the holder in which you use is wind proof. I have seen people use floral picks and have put the table names in the centerpiece……beware of flimsy paper and/or colors & styles that conflict with arrangement.
  • Guests will need to know which table they are seated at so they don’t have to walk around every table to find their place. This is usually achieved by displaying a seating chart or escort cards (Escort card show the name/number of the table a guest is seated at) prominently at the entrance to the garden.
  • Seating Charts can be anything like a typed sheet of paper in a frame listing tables with each person’s name below a table or you can have Kinko’s http://www.kinkos.com/ make your seating chart into a creative poster board where we can display it on an easel.
  • Escort cards can be cute and fun, but beware if you have more than 100 people as the cards become too many to display. In addition, escort cards can get lost by a guest, so if you also need this to be a meal identifier, think about having those place cards at each place setting. If you decide on escort cards, think about a way to display them to keep them in place. Often times if cards are not secured on a board or weighted down somehow, the wind can carry them all over the garden.

Buffet Dinner: SEATING CHART

  • When having a buffet dinner meal identifiers and place cards are not necessary. A seating chart nicely displayed at the guest book table is sufficient.


  • As your rsvp’s come rolling in keep track of them the old fashion way. You can easily keep track of people and what they’ve ordered to eat by simply using two different color post-it notes i.e., blue=beef & yellow=fish with one name on each post-it note. Then take a piece of paper for each table, and start moving your people (post-it’s) around. When you final count is due, you can easily count blue (beef) and yellow (fish) meals. When you are ready to create your chart, just type it out according to your pieces of paper. NO MORE EXEL SHEETS!
  • You will need a meal identifier for each guest. Once you’ve figured out who is coming and what they’re eating you need to have something in front of your guest letting our staff know which entrĂ©e they have chosen. You can simply do this by making place cards with a color ribbon, stamp, or different color ink, to indicate beef or fish. Remember that meal identifiers can do double duty with your favor. Example: a truffle box tied with different ribbon (stripes for beef & polka dots for fish) with your guest’s name attached.
  • When bringing your meal identifiers to us, please divide them by tables clearly labeled, along with a labeled garden map (in your planning packet).


Monday, March 2, 2009

Where Should I Sit?

Lots of brides wonder if they should have a seating arrangement for their reception. My answer is defiantly yes! According to a survey taken by You Gov in February 2006, 84% of people preferred to be told where to sit. The pros are endless when there is a seating arrangement.
Unassigned seating sounds great in theory and it is certainly one less chore for the bride and groom. Unfortunately it never works out so well in practice.

I can guarantee that one or more of the circumstances below will happen:
1. There may be an unseemly rush for the ‘good’ seats.
2. It will take a lot longer to get guests seated. They may still be milling around while the food is being served.
3. Your beautiful decor will be spoilt by people leaving their coats on chairs to reserve them.
4. The last few guests end up walking around looking for seats, a bit like the unpopular kid at school lunch.
5. Couples can get split up.
6. Elderly relatives may end up seated where they can’t see or hear anything.
7. If people turn up uninvited (common in some cultures) they may take seats intended for your invited guests.
8. They will think you or the facility didn't plan well.

Guests can be assigned to a table (where they can choose any seat) or assigned to a specific seat. You might want to put people next to people they know, or you might want to split them up a bit so they meet new people. But try to put each person next to at least one person they already know. People are more likely to get on well if they are similar ages or have similar interests. It might not be a good idea to put some of your stranger friends next to your 80-year-old grandmother. A little common sense goes a long way.

Generally you should try to put families together and work colleagues together. But if you know people don't get on, try seating them separately. It is worth breaking with tradition to have a stress free event. Avoid mixing age groups too much. Young children should be seated with their parents. Older children can be seated with their parents, or on a table together.
Try to avoid putting guests on the same table as ex-partners, unless you are sure this is OK. Resist the temptation to have a ‘leftovers’ table of all the people who didn’t fit on other tables. It is probably better to distribute such guests evenly.


Happy Planning