The seating chart is an essential element of planning your wedding reception. If you're including reserved tables, it's important to seat your loved ones in a way that makes them most comfortable. The reserved tables are also closest to the table where you and your new spouse will sit, so you'll want those who hold a special place in your heart seated there, to make your reception even more memorable.
Parents and Grandparents
Traditionally, the bride's parents receive the best or biggest reserved table. The bride's mother and father are seated at the table, along with her maternal and paternal grandparents. Parents may also choose to invite those who have been like a mother and father to the bride -- very close family friends -- to sit at the table as well. The groom's parents receive a reserved table as well; this is also the place the groom's grandmother and grandfather from both sides of his family will sit, along with other individuals the groom's parents want to invite to the table.
Divorced Parents and Stepparents
If you or your future spouse's parents are divorced and do not want to sit at the same table during the reception, it's best to ask parents to host their own tables by inviting the loved ones they'd prefer to share the table with them. If one or both of your parents have remarried, there should be one table per parental group. For example, if your mother is remarried, one table should be reserved for her and her husband. If your father is single, one reserved table is dedicated to him and his guests. Of course, if your divorced parents have a healthy friendship, don't mind sitting together at the reception, and this wouldn't make other family members uncomfortable, it's fine for them to share one reserved table.
Your siblings, who are part of your immediate family, should be seated at the reserved table if space permits, or at a table that is close to the one where your parents are seated. If you have a particularly large wedding guest list, you can position one reserved table on the bride's side of the main table for brothers, sisters, in-laws, nieces and nephews to sit. Provide an identical table on the groom's side with adequate seating.
Wedding Participants and Children
While members of your wedding party like the bridesmaids and groomsmen will be seated at the head table, it's also a good idea to reserve a table for others who helped to make your wedding day special. For instance, the officiant should receive a reserved seat, along with the musicians and wedding coordinator. You can also seat the ushers or hosts at this table. If there will be several children at your wedding who are old enough to eat on their own, giving them their own special table will make the event more enjoyable for them.