More often than not parties of guests will find tables and they wont sit right next to the party already seated. Which means you will end up with random single seats among your tables. So a couple tries to find a pair of seats and they are out of luck! Which means you will have to add at least one extra table for overflow, which means paying for one more table, one more linen, 8-10 extra chairs + chair covers, and the most pricey part...one more centerpiece! So take my word for it, make a seating chart!
For those brides, who have a groom that doesn't really know how to help you plan the wedding, have him help you with the seating chart. Not only will it cut down the time you have to spend on it, but his insight into his guests will help you seat all of the guests at the right tables.
Here's another tip, you don't have to make a giant seating poster! Not only are they kind of 'last year' they really are not very attractive. There are so many great ways to incorporate your colors, theme, patterns, etc... into your escort cards. You can put them at each individual place setting, like the photo below. Or you can have a table devoted solely to your escort cards.Think out of the box! I love how these escort cards were hung along the walkway leading to the cocktail reception. They almost look like garlands of flowers! Another great purpose these escort cards serve: to give your guests something to do during cocktail hour, other than down drinks from your bar!
Don't be afraid to make it personal. The more custom touches you can add to your event the better. This was my favorite Martha Stewart Wedding, the bride did a 'green' wedding in a barn with red and ivory with wood accents. Another way to cut costs, make your escort card the favor! These yummy, and beautiful, apples were a huge hit!