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7 COVID Wedding Seating Arrangement Ideas & Layouts
When it first became apparent that COVID-19 was a global pandemic, brides and grooms canceled their wedding celebrations to keep friends and family safe, as well as to abide by the rules and regulations in their area.
Fortunately, as we have learned more about the virus, we have learned that we can still do some of the things we did pre-pandemic—we just have to do those things differently.
As more and more couples proceed with their weddings in 2021 and beyond, health and safety will continue to be front-of-mind. No matter how many guests you have invited, it’s important to consider your seating chart very carefully. A good seating chart can reduce the spread of germs, while a bad seating chart has the potential to make your wedding a super-spreader event.
Here are some of our favorite seating arrangement ideas and layouts that will help you plan a safe, healthy, and comfortable wedding for your friends and family.
Have Guests Seated During the Ceremony
At the ceremony, it’s customary for general guests to seat themselves. Although it’s convenient and easy, and it allows guests to sit wherever they want, it also comes with some problems. Many guests have to squeeze by people to get in and out of rows, which has the potential to spread germs.
Instead of letting everyone seat themselves, have all of your guests seated during the ceremony. Mom, Dad, and grandparents can still be seated up front, but ushers can walk others to open seats and start filling them from the outside in. That way, no one has to squeeze by anyone else.
Let Guests Bring Their Own Chairs
If you’re planning a large wedding, a formal wedding, or you want your pictures to have a certain look, this option may not be for you. If instead you’re planning a more informal affair, you may want to consider allowing guests to bring their own chairs to your ceremony.
When guests are allowed to bring their own chairs, they will naturally sit in close proximity with people they feel comfortable with, reducing the likelihood of spreading germs between households. If allowed to place their own chairs, they are also likely to sit further away from people they don’t know, further stopping the spread. Plus, it means you don’t have to rent chairs!
Socially Distanced Round Tables
We have all been to a wedding where space is limited and you feel like you’re sitting on top of everyone else. And forget about going to the bathroom. There’s too many people you would have to squeeze by!
This is a big no-no in the time of COVID-19. Make sure you rent a reception space that enables you to distance round tables between 6 and 12 feet apart. That way, whenever anyone has to get up or sit down, they have a clear path to their chair without having to get too close to anyone else.
Long Tables With Plenty of Space
If you have your heart set on long tables, or if that just happens to be the shape that’s available, you can still make it work.
The key is to set them up with plenty of space between the tables, but you should also put at least six feet of space between each chair. In addition, you shouldn’t seat guests on both sides of the table. Keep them all on the same side.
This seating arrangement can take up a lot of space, but it doesn’t have to if you plan ahead. Guests from the same household can sit in chairs that are much closer together. Group families together and place the space between chairs to separate families in order to utilize as much of the table as you can, while still social distancing.
U-Shaped Table Arrangement
Long tables can be arranged in many different ways. They can be placed classroom-style, where all guests face the same direction, but one of the best ways to utilize long tables at a COVID wedding is to arrange them in the shape of the letter U.
Care must still be taken to provide plenty of space between groups of families, but it can drastically reduce the likelihood of mingling or passing by others and spreading germs. Just make sure that the U-shape is far enough away from the walls that guests can easily walk around the table to get to their seat without getting too close to anyone else.
Arrange Tables Around the Perimeter of the Space
A U-shaped arrangement isn’t just for long tables. You can make this same concept work if you are using round tables. Simply space them out around the perimeter of the room. Guests can easily access their table from a central aisle without having to weave through multiple tables to get to their seat. This reduces contact between guests, as well as reducing the spread of germs.
Make this strategy even more effective by seating family members and friends in pods around the outside of the room. That way, if they do want to mix and mingle, they don’t have to go far to speak to the people they are looking for.
Consider Tables of Different Shapes and Sizes
Grouping guests according to their household is a great strategy for wedding seating, but it does pose some challenges. Do you seat two people in a small household together at one large table, while another family of eight is bumping elbows during your reception?
The standard for wedding seating used to mean using the same size and shape of tables, but COVID-19 is encouraging couples to break this unstated rule. Don’t be afraid to use tables of different sizes and shapes so that a small family sits at a little round table, while a large family sits comfortably at a long, rectangular table.