Ms. Manners Reports: How-to Properly Seat Your Wedding Guests

September 16, 2009 at 1:44 pm Leave a comment

Just-Married-BrideLet’s be honest here, ladies… creating and consolidating your wedding guest list can be a real pain in the patella.  Picking and choosing who stays and who goes, who’s A List and who’s B List can leave a very “Mean Girls’esque” spot on the soul; so, when it comes to arranging those guests into specifically grouped  tables at your reception, you just may be left feeling like Lindsay Lohan… on a bad day.  Yikes! 

But don’t let it get you down!  While your wedding day should be planned around your taste, “your taste” more than likely, includes a concern for your guests.  After all, you want your celebration to be one that everyone looks back on fondly. So, while it’s important to consider important guests (i.e. parents, grandparents, officiant, etc.), you can’t let the fear of upsetting guests prevent you from getting the job done. Keep reminding yourself that everyone is there for you, and where they’re seated is merely secondary to the reason they’ve all gathered together.  Plus, once the dinner plates are cleared, it generally become a free for all anyways :) 

To help keep your sanity level normal, however; here are some tips to make seating your guests even easier:

  • Be sure to have your seating arrangement completed at least two weeks before the big day.  This will ensure everything can be properly coordinated with all other vendors concerned.  (ie. reception hall managers, caterers, etc.)
  • Etiquettly speaking, both your parents and the groom’s parents may be seated at the same table or separate tables depending on what works best.
  • The officiant and their spouse (if applicable) should also be seated at the host table.
  • If your parents are divorced, seat them independently from one another.  For an easy fix, one set may be seated with the groom’s parents, and the other set may be paired with the officiant and other family members.
  • Seat the rest of your guests according to family size, common interests and age.
  • Families – for the most part – should always be seated together.  If their numbers are too great, be sure to put them at side by side tables.
  • Be sure guests with strong opinions on certain topics (i.e. Religion, Politics, etc) aren’t grouped with other guests who have polar opposite views.  (Don’t act like you don’t know who I’m talking about here – hehe!)
  • Put your college friends and his college friends together for an easy match up.
  • It’s also nice to pair up family members that haven’t seen each other in awhile at the same table.  It’ll be super nice for them to catch up on old times… well, unless they’re like the aforementioned clashers.  Then, avoid this rule.
  • Also consider having a children’s table.  Feel free to fill it with coloring books, crayons and games to keep them as entertained as the older crowd.
  • If possible, try to have an even number at each table.  This will avoid having anyone feel like the “odd man out.”  Nobody likes to play that role.
  • Also, seat people who love to “shake their groove thangs!” close to the dance floor.  They’ll help transition the place into a real party.
  • Most importqantly, you know everyone the best; so, as long as you do your best to keep everyone comfortable, you’ll do just fine!   

And if all else fails, just do like me: set up a couple extra tables in your reception hall and let your guests seat themselves!  The extra tables will allow larger groups or families who arrive last the opportunity to stay together, instead of piece mealing themselves out to 6 different tables.  ‘Cause Lord knows… that could be all kinds of awkward.  Any other good tips?  Let me know!  And happ-happ-happy planning!


Entry filed under: Wedding Etiquette, Wedding Planning 101. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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