Wedding Planning: Reception Seating Guide

So much work goes into reception seating and most times your guests have no clue how much time you dedicated to this detail! If you are having a buffet style meal with less than 150 guests it may not be necessary to do a seating plan. However, if you will be having a sit down meal and serving different entrees then this element is a necessary evil. But don’t worry, it will get done!

Display Options

There are a variety of factors that go into completing the seating chart. Once you have received all of your RSVPs and know what size and style table you will be using it is time to get down to business. Will you choose to use a seating chart or place cards? A seating chart is placed at the entrance and designates the guests’ names and the table they will be sitting at. A place card is the tented cards that are generally displayed in alphabetical order near the entrance and list the guests’ name and table number. You also have the option to use escort cards or seating chart place cards to tell each guest exactly which seat to have at the table. These are not always necessary. Hey, you have already put the table together, let them choose where they want to sit!

Who Sits Where

If at all possible, you want to group your guests together with similar interests and backgrounds. This way they will have something to talk about, even if they have never met. Generally your family will sit together and you can choose to sit your friends from different areas of life together; such as colleagues, college friends and childhood friends. You can also choose to mix up the seating a bit. Try to split your friends up so that your childhood friend from out of town can meet your college roommate they have always heard stories about! If you have any single people attending, try not to put them all at the same table or at a table with newlyweds. If you don’t have many single guests or a guests or two that you know most likely will not know anyone else, consider letting them bring a plus one, even if it is not allowed across the board.

Don’t Over Think It

Ideally, your guests will not be sitting for long. They will have every chance to move around throughout the evening and mingle with whomever they choose to. So if you keep your younger guests close to the dance floor and the older guests a little further away everyone should be content. At the end of the day, your guests will be happy to have enjoyed celebrating your wedding day with you. They won’t over think who they had to sit with, so you shouldn’t over think it either!

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Creating your Wedding Website

Nearly everyone utilizes a wedding website lately. Your wedding website is where your guests will go to see all of the important details of your special day! If you have any detailed information to share with your guests about your wedding, your wedding website is a great place to do it.

Now, I bet your next question is, “what information do I include on my wedding website?” Below we have listed some items you may want to consider adding to your wedding website. This way you can be sure that you are sharing information with your guests that will be helpful for them!

Itinerary

Give your guests an idea of what they can expect during your special day. What time should they arrive at the ceremony location? If you are having a cocktail hour, be sure to share with your guests what time they should arrive at that location. If you can avoid it, try not to leave too much time between your ceremony and reception. Since there may be guests that are from out of town, you do not want them to feel like they are left to wonder around your city while you take your formal pictures before beginning your reception. If you will be providing transportation to your guests here is where you will want to be sure to share the shuttle pickup schedule. Be sure they know what time the last shuttle will be leaving your venue so no one is stuck or inconvenienced.

R&R

Unfortunately, this type of R&R is not rest and relaxation. Not yet at least. You can enjoy that during the honeymoon! We are referring to RSVPs & Registry. Obviously, you can still utilize the traditional method of retrieving RSVPs from your guests. Just bear in mind that there are also some very tech savvy people who may not make it to the mailbox as often as others. Offering a way to RSVP online will keep you from having to make phone calls asking if guests will be attending as you try to finalize your meal count. Most wedding website templates offer a way to be notified as your guests RSVP online. You may also be able to create a field for your guests to leave comments for you as they RSVP. Guests can share any dietary restrictions or simply tell you how excited they are to be attending! As for what gifts the newlyweds would like to receive, simply share a link to the various registry pages directly on your website.

Accommodations

Whether you are listing hotel accommodations or car rental information try to give your guests options. Guests that may be traveling from out of town could possibly need a rental car if there is no other transportation available.

If your reception is at a hotel and you have rooms blocked off easily share rate information and booking details. You can simply provide a link directly to the hotel website for their convenience. Providing your guests with as much information here should ensure that your guests have a wonderful time. Guests will be able to plan for their trip without contacting you over and over asking for certain details.

Love Story

You took the time to write a short bio about yourselves, so let’s make sure that your guests read it! This page can be helpful for guests that only know the bride (or groom) and want to get to know more about who they are marrying. It is also helpful if you have extended family that have not met your fiancé yet. They can learn what you (they) do for a living, hobbies you enjoy and of course, how you two met! The trick to creating a wedding website that gets used is to try and make your URL easy to remember. If you will be using a hashtag to recall all of the photos from your big day perhaps that could play a part in the wedding website URL.

Social Media

Share with your guests the hashtag you will be using for your wedding and the time leading up to it. Have your guests post any photos they may have taken to social media using your hashtag so that you will have an online memory of this special day! Consider putting a link to both of your social media sites so that guests can stay up on how the newlyweds are doing.

Photos

What am I going to do with all of the engagement photos? Well here is a great place to display them. You can also add albums on your wedding website. This way all of the photos can be viewed by event online by your guests. Even after the deal is sealed you can add your wedding and honeymoon pictures to the site to share! Try not to post too many photos of one event or some of your guests may feel overwhelmed.

Bridal Party Link

There will be places that you expect your bridal party to be on certain days and times. Be sure to include a special link and sign in page for the bridal party to access. These wedding party exclusive events should be password protected. This will make it easier for you to keep the information you are sharing with your bridal party limited to them. You can share details with dates and times for the bachelor/bachelorette party, rehearsal dinner, and arrival times to the various venues. You may also want to provide information for dress and tuxedo pick ups, hair/makeup times, and anything else specific to your wedding.

Honeymoon

Your guests may be wondering what you have planned and where you are taking your honeymoon. Share a picture of your destination and some details about what you have planned to do while you visit. Have guests check back on the site during your time away to see photos of you enjoying yourselves!

The entire idea of utilizing a wedding website is to aid your guests. The website is where you will want to list any special instructions that will help your guests plan. If you will be having a cash bar you want to share this so that guests can be prepared. You can also share information on the attire you expect for the evening. If it is usually cold during that time of year remind your out of town guests that they may want to bring a cardigan or if the ceremony will be outside suggest wedge shoes over high heels. The more information, the better. We suggest designating someone to field phone calls for you during the weeks leading up to the wedding. You will be busy with final planning so answering the same questions repeatedly may not be ideal.

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Wedding Myths

Often, as a bride-to-be, you fall into the rabbit hole full of magazine articles, websites and pins with the “do’s and don’ts” of planning your big day. Keep in mind, these articles are full of wedding planning myths and were written by journalists, not wedding professionals. A lot of times the suggestions given are outdated or simply incorrect. 

Many times you will see articles that suggest you should go see your DJ perform before you decide on hiring anyone. This is one of the huge wedding planning misconceptions that brides do not realize can be tricky. The bigger question is; where would you go to see this DJ and how will you know if he is fulfilling the clients requests? You may think that just going and standing in the corner awkwardly at a wedding the DJ has booked already will give you the answers you need in order to know if you should hire or not. Realistically, you will be going to someones’ private event, you may not be dressed properly and you are hoping to see weather or not this DJ will be a good fit for your 6 hour day based on the 15-30 minutes you were there.

You do not need to see your entertainer perform in order to decide on if they will be a good fit or not. Not only are you hoping to see your wedding in the future but you are expecting to see something amazing in the small amount of time that you are watching the DJ in action. You may see the DJ do the chicken dance and you know you absolutely do not want to have that at your wedding. Well remember, this is not your wedding. Maybe the couple wanted to have that dance played for their favorite nieces and nephews. So now you leave thinking that is the only way the DJ can perform. Not true! Any professional DJ should be like a chameleon and be able to adapt in any situation.

It is best to trust the reputation of the company versus putting all of your trust in one individual entertainer. You may be thinking you want to know who will be the Master of Ceremonies for your big day but realistically, you have more security when you hire a company. This way your entertainer will not only have back-up equipment but there will also be back-up personnel. This security measure will guarantee that if your DJ had an accident or worse, your special day will not be affected!

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Prom DJs

Prom season is approaching quickly and that means it is time to secure the entertainer style that the students will enjoy most. A professional DJ should be like a chameleon and be able to adapt to any song requests the students may have. They should also have an idea in advance of what the client wants to hear during the evening. For a prom, the music the DJ is playing needs to be clean of curse words and violent/explicit content. This will also ensure adults and students have a great evening!

Sound Control

Having a professional prom DJ will aid in knowing when to lower the music during dinner and increase the sound during dancing or other events as needed. DJs will make announcements when needed and can help you direct guests through the evening and be the Master of Ceremonies for raffles and other giveaways. Only a professional will know how to transition between games and other interactive events during the evening to break the night up.

Know Your Audience

Making music personal for your guests is key to having a great time. A professional entertainer will know how to read the guests and notice which songs they are enjoying. This will help predict what other songs the students may like. Your hired professional will know how and when to rotate through slow songs and fast songs through the various levels of energy a school dance can bring. No one wants a sweaty tux or melted makeup!

Have Fun

Hiring a DJ will not require a lot of space, this helps to guarantee that your guests have enough room to enjoy themselves. They will have back-up equipment and personnel as well as an online planning site to help student council with song planning. Professional DJs are able to help break the ice and get students on the dance floor without being cheesy or overdoing it.

Be sure to consider the repercussions of the students not having a great time. If they are not enjoying the music being played by the DJ they may want to leave the dance early and no longer be chaperoned by adults for the evening. Your professional DJ will keep the students having a great time all night; which also means the students remain safe and have a memorable prom night.

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Fresh Décor Ideas

Think about adding a green screen backdrop or DJ facade as décor ideas for your upcoming event! This is a great way for you do to something different for your guests and spice it up a little.

Green Screen

Why limit yourself to just one backdrop when instead, your guests can choose from different images each time they take a picture in the photo booth. The choices for images are endless! You can also choose to use 5×7 prints, photo strips or even 4×6. The green screen backdrop does not take up any more space or need any other requirements than our Open-Air Photo Booth.

DJ Façade

A customized DJ Façade can make the appearance of the DJ table extremely sleek and elegant. Using a DJ Façade is a very simple and nice way to accent any venue and any occasion. This route is a great way to supplement a monogram that you won’t use again. The façade will conceal the entire DJ table giving the traditional setup an entirely new look!

Keepsake

Not only do your guests get to keep a copy of their images from the photo booth but after your Big Day, the Newlyweds get their own keepsake! The light weight fabric used for the DJ Façade actually goes home with the couple to keep and create a keepsake to have for years to come! There are a ton of Do-It-Yourself ideas that you can design to showcase this token around your home after the wedding.

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Bridal Shows

Being familiar with bridal shows is a great way to prepare yourself for wedding planning. Bridal shows are a helpful way to interact with a variety of industry professionals under one roof. This one stop shop is the ideal planning tool for the modern busy bride! So get prepared to grab a bunch of brochures full of vendor information and make the most of your bridal show experience!

Why Go:

You are still searching for a DJ, florist, videography, tuxedo and cake. When will you ever find the time to make the calls to find availability and pricing. Bridal shows are full of ideas and packed with others who share the wedding excitement you have. Not only do you get more information on the services you still need to book, but you can even possibly book vendors and finalize some wedding planning details. Take this opportunity to chat with vendors face to face to see if their services fit your needs!

What to Expect:

Each vendor is going to want to give you details on the various services and packages they offer. They are also going to require some information about your vision and how you want your special day executed. The vendors will also be looking for some basic contact information from you and most likely your budget. This will help them ensure that your expectations can fit within what you are willing to spend. Don’t just approach the vendor booth and ask, “hey, how much?” Yes, you have a budget that you want to stick to but you will also want to consider what is being included in each package as well as the training and experience the professional has in weddings. Be sure to ask questions regarding cancellation fees, back up plans, insurance and most importantly, contracts!

How to Prepare:

Make a list of vendor priorities. What do you still need most? Once you decide on the bridal show(s) you want to go to be sure to pre-register for the event. You will likely become a V.I.B. *very important bride* and be given access to the list of vendors attending the show. This way you can see if any vendors you were already considering working with will be at that bridal show and map out a plan of attack. Which booths do you definitely want to visit, the vendors of high priority, and which vendors you can wait to book later.

Be sure to take your checkbook or credit card to the bridal show since most vendors offer a “show special”. This is a discount offered to the to-be-brides that want to book any services that day. Saving money is always a plus with wedding planning. So be sure to do your research on vendors you are interested in before going to the bridal show. Hopefully you can take advantage of some savings!

Follow Up

It is likely that any vendor you speak with that offers services that seem to fit into what you are looking for is going to follow up with you after the bridal show. The vendor just wants to be sure that you do not have any additional questions regarding their services. You may still be interested, or you may have decided to go in another direction and book a different vendor. If you have, obviously, that is fine…after all, this is your wedding. Just try not to keep the vendor who is following up with you on the line. Let them know you are no longer interested so that they can release the date and book services for someone else.

Bridal shows are a fun and great experience, so gather your bridal brigade and enjoy a day of planning the beginning of the rest of your life!

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Wedding Timeline

Be careful when you are planning the timeline for your Big Day. If you didn’t hire a Wedding Planner or Coordinator you may inadvertently front load your timeline. Try to ensure that your order of events will fall in line with keeping your guests involved through the night and entertained as well.

What is front loading?

Front loading your wedding is never a good idea. When you front load your wedding that simply means that you have decided to have all of the traditional ceremonial events of your evening before the dance floor has officially been opened to your guests. It is when we introduce the Bride & Groom, then go into their first dance, then directly to the cake cutting, then into any other specialty dances, bringing everyone to the Toasts, Blessing and Dinner being served. Based off of years of experience and psychology, we have seen guests leave directly after dinner. The whole reason you have some of your closest friends and family gathered with you on your special day is to celebrate your new marriage! Don’t think that you need to have one customary wedding event after another to keep your guests engaged through the evening of your reception. Once they eat, there is nothing else obligating them to stay after, they have already seen everything they came to witness.

Let your DJ do their Job

If you decided to hire a DJ, part of their job is keeping the excitement level up for the guests with their emceeing! If you went the route of a live band, you want to be sure they are trained in Emceeing as well. This will help to ensure that your guests enjoy their evening as you have planned. The energy level will remain high and they will be looking forward to what you have lined up for them next. Most times, couples think that once they make their Grand Entrance they will just go right into cutting the cake then the First Dance. When you think about it, what do your guests have to look forward to once they have attended your ceremony earlier that afternoon, watched you cut the cake and witnessed your first dance together as husband and wife. Try getting your toasts done while dinner is served. This will give you and your guests more time to mingle with little interruptions. You can also choose to do your ‘Meet n’ Greet’ at this time. This way you will have time to say “Hi” to all of their friends and family that came to spend the day with you without feeling rushed! We all know that once the party gets started there is little that will break it up. Everything from there continues to be fun, entertain the guests all while keeping people on the dance floor. Once dinner is cleared the bride and groom will want to take the dance floor to show the guests that it is time to have fun and dance! Many times people are under the impression that people leave their reception early because of fatigue. And this could be true but you also want to keep in mind that you don’t want to give your guests the entire show within the first hour and a half of your 5-hour reception!

Upon your grand exit your guests will cheer to your successful celebration and future together.

New Isn’t Always Better…

As the fall rolls in either your planning is just beginning or you have taken it into overdrive. Either way, you are trying to come up with new and creative wedding ideas that will make your Big Wedding Day stand out from the rest.

Keep in mind that many fresh ideas can work out wonderfully, however, it is never a bad idea for you to run some of those creative wedding ideas by the Industry Professionals to ensure that your initiative will go over smoothly and not be a bust. Your Wedding Planner or Coordinator has most likely been in the business for a number of years and has seen far more Weddings than any of your family members or friends that have input on your Wedding Ideas. Many social media platforms will give what seem to be new and creative wedding ideas until you actually execute them and find the flaws that a Wedding Professional may have been able to foresee.

Recently, one of our previous Brides thought it would be a nice touch for guests to send a song request in with their RSVP. It was definitely a great idea to try to involve their guests in the event with their song requests and Kudos to the Bride for “thinking outside of the box”, but this added confusion to the guests because they thought their song would definitely get played. After the wedding, the Bride gave us a call to say that in retrospect she wished she “would not have done that.” Additionally, she said if she could give any advice to future clients she would advise them not to do anything like this. Realistically there would have been no way to play 150 guests request in addition to the main events of the evening within the 5-hour reception! If the Bride & Groom approve, our DJs are always willing to take guest requests on site at the event.

Usually, for a 5-hour reception complete with first dance, cake cutting, mother/son & father/daughter dances, garter/bouquet toss, and the anniversary dance leaves only about 2 hours of dancing for the evening. 2 hours of dancing equates to around 30 songs; most of which you as the Bride & Groom have chosen and some that the DJ chose to maintain guests on the dance floor and high energy through the evening.

In certain event situations it would be preferred that guests make song requests. A class reunion or Sweet 16 Birthday Party would be an ideal setting. On your Wedding Day, there is a superior expectation and many special moments that you will cherish for a lifetime. Hiring the right entertainment for your Big Day will ensure that your guests remain involved and engaged throughout the evening. Why waste your creative juices on something you have already paid your vendor to do? Be inspired to continue to come up with original and innovative ideas for your magical day, but also keep your Industry Professionals in the know to help implement your plans.

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Wedding Mistakes to Avoid

Planning a wedding is an exciting endeavor but can be stressful due to a list of wedding mistakes to avoid. Often, couples spend many hours making preparations, rethinking their decisions, and doing lots of consultations. They have to juggle between their own interests and the expectations of family and friends. Even with all the preparations that go into it, some couples fail to pull off a successful wedding. So, where do couples go wrong?

  1. Having One Dress in Mind

Be realistic and flexible about the kind of dress you will wear on your wedding day.  Keep an open mind and consider getting a dress personalized instead of moving from shop to shop looking for your ”dream dress”. When you have a fixed mindset, you will spend several days just looking for the perfect dress and end up not finding it.

  1. Going the DIY Way:

Seriously, you cannot be a “jack of all trades” when it comes to planning and preparing for your wedding. You need to hire a wedding planner to help you develop a realistic budget and to handle wedding arrangements. If you decide to go the DIY route, you can blow your budget and fall short of expectations.

  1. Failing to Stick to a Budget:

Financial discipline is key to the success of a wedding. More often than not, weddings fail because couples fail to stick to their budget. You’ve got to prioritize your needs and allocate money to the most fundamental things. Don’t stretch your budget. It could mean the difference between making guests happy and leaving them disgruntled.

  1. Choosing a Bad Venue:

No matter how beautiful a venue is, it will not do you any good if it doesn’t offer you and your guests the convenience you need. Look for a spacious venue that will cater to all guests and activities on the wedding day.  Don’t decide on a venue that will force you to adjust arrangements or manipulate space.

  1. Getting Your Seating Wrong:

Think about a seating layout that will maximize views and participation. Think about older guests who have limited movement and visibility. Ideally, your seating arrangement should let guests see what’s happening without craning their necks.

  1. Overlooking the Needs of Guests:

As much as the wedding revolves around you, you should always keep the needs of your guests at the top of your mind. Guests have expectations and genuine needs which need to be catered to during your big day. Make sure that you have enough seats, bathrooms, a variety of cuisine and ample parking.

  1. Hiring a friend instead of a Professional DJ  

Your childhood friend may be able to pull off a few tricks, but that doesn’t mean he can work the crowd and get your guests up off their feet like a Pittsburgh wedding DJ can. Chances are your friend will struggle to play the kind of music that resonates with the guests.  Don’t gamble, hire a professional Pittsburgh DJ who has experience.

  1. Through the Roof Expectations:

Sometimes, couples want to pull off celebrity style weddings without factoring the cost and the logistics required. Have realistic expectations and personalize your wedding.  In fact, a personalized wedding with the perfect touch can leave a greater impression than a reality-show kind of wedding.

Your wedding day should be one you and your guests remember for years to come, not one you hope to soon forget. Make sure your big day has everything it takes to be memorable and leave your guests raving with the wedding DJ services from Steel City DJ. Our team of professionally trained entertainers know just what it takes to get the party started, and can keep it going all night long. Do not have your special day be anything less than magnificent and contact the team at Steel City DJ today.

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