You thought you were done with wringing your hands over the guest list once the invites were sent out. But now, you have your RSVPs and it is time to figure out where to put all of these people. Here are a few popular seating styles, with pros and cons for each.

gold animal place card

A well-organized seating chart

Pros:  For couples with contentious family members, this is probably the best way to go.  Organizing your seating to such a high level allows you to play puppetmaster.  Making sure Aunt Sally isn't anywhere near Uncle Jack? Check. Sitting your favorite single friend next to the dreamy bachelor doctor? Done.

Cons:  You are going to want to scream at some point during this organizational process. It's involved and laborious. If you have an easygoing and agreeable family, save yourself the hassle.  But sacrificing hours of your life to make sure your mom never has to speak to your dad's new girlfriend might be worth it.

An open seating policy

Pros:  Allows you to spend zero time on the seating chart. Plus, you can buy one of those cute signs telling your guests to sit wherever they wish because "everyone is family" now.

Cons:  Chaos might reign over your reception.  Use this plan only if you have a very amenable group of people. Plus, your single friends (who weren't given a plus one) will really resent you as your wedding reception starts to give them high school cafeteria flashbacks.

family style

Family-style tables

Pros:  With long rows of tables, you can still assign by "table" if you wish (diving each long table into sections) so that guests have some direction. But because all the tables are linked, some people might feel freer to converse with guests at "other" tables.

Cons:  Not everyone loves family style. Unless you are pretty extroverted, you are going to feel like you can only converse with those directly by you.  If you do decide to go with this seating plan, make sure you provide chairs rather than benches. Even though benches provide lots of rustic charm, they aren't easy to navigate in a dress and heels.

window pane seating chart

Assigned by table

Pros:  Wedding guest lists rarely are filled with people who all know each other. Most guest lists read like a nostalgic trip down memory lane, with groups invited from each phase of your life (hometown friends, college buddies, colleagues, etc.).  Assigning guests to tables allows you to group these guests together without taking the time to give each person a particular seat.  Rather than place cards, provide your guests with escort cards at the entry table.

Cons:  This tactic doesn't really have too many cons (hence why it is so popular). This plan just creates potentially awkward moments for some guests who have to ask others to change seats at the table so that they can sit by their date.

Kids' table

Pros:  All the kiddos in one place and the carpet under the table has a waterproof mat underneath sounds like a great plan. Perfect for the soda spills that you know will happen at some point. They can make friends and have their own fun while their parents dance the night away.

Cons:  If you attempt to do this without child care, these little angels will rise up and take over your wedding like something out of Game of Thrones.

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