Wedding seating charts 101

I’m a total nerd when it comes to wedding seating charts, and I’ve got a project I’m working on right now that I feel all of the good feelings for.

I’m currently working on creating custom calligraphy banners to be used as wedding welcome signs and seating charts. (Which, you can sign up for here if you want first dibs when they launch!)

Wedding seating chart advice and wedding planning tips from #thehandlettershop

While I’m so excited for how much easier your wedding day set up is going to be, there’s a few things I realize you might not know about seating charts.

I even talked with a few of my calligrapher friends to ask them what some of the biggest mistakes they see people making with seating charts.

And I think I can help! Here’s what you should know if you’re going to have a seating chart.


It’s tough love time! Time and time again, the biggest mistake people make with seating charts is to arrange the names by table. Yep, it is much better to arrange the guests alphabetically by name.

Do this:

Abby – 4

Anne – 12

Beth – 7

Not this:

Table 1




If you’re still not convinced, think about it for a second. If names are arranged by table a guest is going to have to read through most of the list to find their name, rather than going straight to their letter.

I’m not just telling you this to help your calligrapher out! All your wedding vendors want to make your wedding day go as smoothly as possible–and if it takes your guests an extra 15-20 minutes to find their tables, everything else gets backlogged too.

You want to have enough time for all of the festivities, so you should try to make it as easy as possible for your guests to find their seats.

Size of each name

Along the same lines of making it easy for your guests, think about how many names you actually need to fit on the sign. A 6 foot tall sign with 140 names (after everything is spaced out nicely) means that each name is only going to be about 0.5 inches–which is pretty small for a big sign (especially for elderly guests!)

Your guests are going to have to carefully scan for their name–which is again backlogging the whole process. Think about having  a larger sign, or even two signs to make sure your guests can easily find their tables.


As a bride, putting everyone at the right tables with the right people takes a lot of time! There are a lot of moving parts–the venue might have a limit on tables or you might not get all of the RSVPs on time.

I recommend keeping a running spreadsheet for your guest list, and as soon as you hear back some RSVPs, start thinking about your seating chart.

I have a free guest addressing spreadsheet template here, which you can use for your seating chart as well!

Especially for large seating charts, it takes time for calligraphers to write out every name (especially if it’s a handmade sign!) so you want to allow for plenty of time so they can double check all the spelling and get your sign delivered to you on time!

Add a quote

Most of these tips have been purely practical, but this one is more on the fun side! Consider adding a special quote, verse, or personal message to your sign.

The seating chart is one of the only signs that every guest will for sure see, so it’s the best place to really appreciate and thank them!

Display in a clear spot

This might seem obvious, but make sure your seating chart is easy to find! No one likes feeling lost, so keeping your seating chart out in the open where a lot of people can gather around it will help people get to their tables faster.

The Easiest kind of seating chart

Instead of a heavy wooden seating chart, I really love the idea of your seating chart on a banner! You can get really large without making a lot of work for yourself. A huge piece of fabric is lightweight and breezy, compared to massive palette walls.

calligraphy banner seating chart #thehandlettershop

I have a solution to ease the craziness of wedding prep: I'm launching a line of custom calligraphy banners! I can speak from personal experience: you’re going to have a MUCH better time setting up for your wedding if you decide to use banners for your reception signs!

I want you to get in on this! I have a few limited spots open for custom wedding banners. If you're interested, view the current available designs below:

WeddingsVivian Kammel