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How to Plan Your Seating Chart for the Best Photo Opportunities

You’ve officially made it to the home stretch of wedding planning! At this point, you’re probably making your way through the final details (YAY!) β€” next up: finalize your seating chart!

There are MANY considerations that go into creating the best seating chart for you and your guests. While we’re not going to get into the nuances of how many to sit at each size table and how to balance tricky family dynamics . . . there are a few tips we’d like to share to help you get the BEST candid photos during toasts and your reception.

These are small tweaks you can make to your seating plans, for a big gain!


How to Plan Your Seating Chart for the Best Photo Opportunities, Martha's Vineyard tented wedding in New England


The Biggest Seating Chart Consideration: Placement

We can look at placement in a few ways. Ultimately, it’s about placing key individuals at the best possible angle so that your photographer has a clear view of them, without blocking other guests’ views and running all throughout the reception room β€” which, can be incredibly distracting.

There are 3-4 groups of people we’ll want to look closely at: the couple, their parents, the person who will be giving their toast, and a few individuals around those seating assignments.

Different venues, guest counts, and table arrangements will yield various seating charts. Below, you can see a few examples that highlight helpful scenarios. The couple, their parents, and person giving the toast are placed at similar angles (notice that not one of those groups would face an opposite wall than the others) β€” this will give the photographer a clear view of all of them from a central location. Additionally, depending on the table setup, it’s wise to make sure that these key individuals are seated across from individuals that will happily scooch aside a little if needed.

In both of these cases, there are SEVERAL seats that could work, depending on the other factors you’re considering when assigning seats. In both examples though, there is a clear line of sight between them and where a photographer might choose to stand.

Other considerations for the better photos during toasts at the reception:

  • Tall centerpieces: They are absolutely gorgeous and we LOVE them! If you plan to have them, we recommend either placing key individuals on the side of the table that is closer to the photographer and turning their chairs out a little (maintaining the direct line of sight), or to opt for lower arrangements on some of your tables (intentionally placed on tables with key individuals, so that your photographer has a clear view of their faces).
  • Save your food for after toasts: We have yet to meet anyone that likes photos of themselves eating 😊Eat what you can between toasts, but we recommend putting your fork down in the moment.
  • Put your chairs close together: The cutest candid photos of the couple have them sitting nice and close! Don’t be afraid to hold hands or have an arm around each other β€” everyone in the room is here to celebrate this sweet love of yours!

For any By Halie couples reading this . . . feel welcome to share your tentative seating arrangements with me!

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