Singaporebrides | Weddings 101

September 2022

Wedding VIP Table Seating Guide and Other Wedding Seating Chart Etiquette

Your guide to wedding VIP tables and how to seat all of your important guests!

Arranging the wedding table seating chart for your wedding banquet is one of the biggest tasks in planning a wedding. While you don’t need to assign each guest an individual seat, guests do expect to be allocated a particular table. And the most important table you’ll need to arrange is the wedding VIP table.

What is the wedding VIP table?

The wedding VIP table has the best seats in the house. It’s the first table in the middle in front of the stage or at the front of your venue so that your important guests have a good view of the events, and it’s also in full view of everyone else. It’s a table of honoured seats for the most esteemed people at your wedding.

Who sits at the wedding VIP table?

Well, as the bride and groom, you’re the most important people at your wedding! Besides you, your VIPs typically consist of both the bride and groom’s parents, your grandparents, your siblings, and your relatives in order of hierarchy. Seating both families at one table allows them to get to know one another better, and to share the joy of your wedding. After all, no one will be more thrilled to celebrate your wedding than your parents and grandparents! Who sits at your VIP table usually depends on your and your parents’ wishes, the size of your families, the style of your seating arrangements, and the size of the VIP table or tables provided by your venue.

Azelle and Daniel’s Modern Traditional Wedding with Blooming Pink Florals at The Clifford Pier by Antelope Studios

Round VIP table

If your table seating arrangements take the typical Chinese wedding banquet form of round tables of ten, your venue will likely provide you with one wedding VIP table. Some venues offer the option of two VIP tables, one for the bride’s family, and one for the groom’s. Whether you opt for one or two VIP tables depends on the size of your families and your and your parents’ wishes. For example, you may be able to seat yourselves, both sets of your parents, and two sets of the groom’s grandparents at a VIP table that seats 10 persons. At the VIP table, the bride and groom sit facing their guests, with the backs to the stage, and with the groom facing his side of guests and the bride hers. Your parents will typically be seated to your left and right respectively.

Some couples with bigger families opt for two wedding VIP tables—one In for the bride’s family and one for the groom’s. In this case, the bride sits with the groom’s family, while her parents sits at the bride’s VIP table with the other important relatives of her family. There are also venues which have bigger VIP tables that seat 12 persons, or even 20.

Whom you seat at your wedding VIP tables is a matter of discussion between you and your parents, who probably care more about hierarchy than you do. Some families choose to seat immediate family members only, such as the wedding couple’s siblings instead of grandparents, while others prefer to honour elderly relatives such as an elder uncle or aunt. If your siblings are married with children, there may not be enough space for them at the VIP table, so you can choose to seat them at the next best table. Have a sibling who is bringing a date? They may be more comfortable sitting with their date at a nearby table than at the VIP table too.

Felicia and Jonathan’s Lively and Colourful Wedding at The Alkaff Mansion and The Church of St. Francis Xavier by Sloth Creatives Weddings

Long VIP table

You may be celebrating in a less traditional manner, with long tables instead of round. In lieu of the Asian VIP table, Western wedding receptions feature a sweetheart table or a head table. The sweetheart table is a cosy two-seater table where the bride and groom sit alone, facing their guests. The head table is more similar to the wedding VIP table, and is a long table seating the couple, their bridal party, and their immediate family, facing the rest of the guests. With long table seating, you may choose to sit on your own at a sweetheart table, or invite your parents and immediate family to sit with you at a head table, facing your guests. The bride and groom sits in the middle, with their families to either side.

Bold Glamour: Duxton Reserve Wedding Styled Shoot by Iki Company

No VIP table

Don’t want the headache of deciding who sits at the VIP table? If you’re hosting a more casual wedding reception with long horizontal or vertical tables only, you may decide to do away with the idea of VIP or head tables entirely. Then, you won’t need to dedicate a long table with only one row of seats facing your guests. Why not sit in the centre of the room where you can be in on all the action, or simply choose the middle seats at the table nearest the front of the room? Seat your most important guests near you, and enjoy the party!

1-Atico Styled ShootLight-Filled Modern Avant-garde Glasshouse Styled Shoot at 1-Atico by Iki Company

Other wedding table seating etiquette

Besides the VIP tables, there are a whole lot of other tables to plan and arrange! A general rule of thumb when planning your wedding seating chart is to seat the more important guests near the front of the room. With your parents at the VIP table, you’ll probably seat the next most important guests at the tables nearest the VIP table, such as your grandparents, elder relatives, and family. If your parents have invited guests, you can let them know which tables you’d like to allocate to them, and let them arrange the seating themselves. Couples often reserve the front or middle of the room for the rest of their families, and seat younger guests or friends nearer the back.

You should also consider things like not seating elderly guests too near the speakers, or seating guests in wheelchairs nearer to the exits so it’s more convenient for them to manoeuvre as needed.

Thinking of playing matchmaker? Putting all of your single friends at one table could lead to a lot of embarrassment and awkwardness. Instead, group guests by categories and try to make sure that everyone is sitting with people they already know and are comfortable with, or who have similar interests.

You could also consider not filling every table to capacity. After all of your follow-up calls to confirm RSVPs, arrange and rearrange your tables, and printing out of charts for your receptionists, you’ll probably still encounter guests who turn up without an RSVP, guests who bring a plus one, or guests who arrive with children you didn’t invite. Those empty seats could come in really handy when you need to slot a guest in at the last minute.

Arranging the wedding seating chart can be stressful. Cut yourself some slack and remind yourself that even the perfect seating chart could need alterations on the day of the wedding. If something crops up on your wedding day, take a deep breath and be flexible! After all, all of your guests are taking time out to celebrate this most special of days with you.

Credits: Feature image from Yvonne and Adam’s Stunning Floral Garden Wedding in JAAN by Maritha Mae Photography

All content from this article, including images, cannot be reproduced without credits or written permission from SingaporeBrides.

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Telegram for the latest article and promotion updates!

Wedding VIP Table Seating Guide and Other Wedding Seating Chart Etiquette