We always advise putting together a seating chart with your wedding planner if you are having a plated meal service with multiple main course options, a large guest count, or have guests with dietary restrictions receiving special meals. It allows easier flow of service and guests will be able to enjoy their meal don’t have to interrupt to determine which dish the guest is receiving. If you don’t want to assign exact seats you could also opt in for just assigning tables, but make sure you have a sign that let’s guests know where they are going when they arrive at the reception.
A seating chart also allows you to envision your space ahead of time and make sure there will be enough room for servers to get around and serve each guest if you are dining in a tighter area.
The couple is always served first, then the immediate family/friends, and all remaining guests afterwards. Don’t forget your schedule so servers aren’t clearing dishes while your father is making a speech!
If you are serving buffet, you may not need a seating chart for service, but it would be a good idea to have a schedule for your meal service and determine a pattern for sending tables up one at a time to avoid a traffic jam. This ensures that staff can keep platters full and fresh for each table as well.
Family style does not require a seating chart, but a schedule is still helpful to have so kitchen and serving staff are aware of your timeline or any speeches, and can prepare cake/dessert service at the right moment.
An additional tip is to go over your rentals and table design with your caterer and wedding planner to ensure there will be enough space on your table for all the overflowing food.