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Wedding seating chart drama

seating chart
seating chart
Photo by Frank Micelotta/Getty Images

Having everything ready, the dress, the makeup artist and flowers for the wedding has been checked off, but looking at that piece of paper that the reception hall has assigned is causing anxiety. The seating chart drama has begun. Aunt Betsy isn’t speaking to Cousin Lou, single friends are asking to seat not to sit with couples, so what can be done? These basic etiquette tips can ease the burden of the seating chart.

1. Seating for Bride and Groom? When it comes to seating for the Bride and Groom, the only sure rule for wedding seating etiquette is that the bride and the groom sit side by side. The couple can sit by themselves at a Sweetheart table and have their wedding party seated with their husbands, wives, fiancés and significant others at the two tables adjacent or closest to the wedding table or the wedding party can be seated with other guests throughout the room.

2. Who sits where? Traditionally the Bride and Groom arrange seating around the bridal table. Typically the bride’s and groom’s parents “host” their own table consisting of their family members and close friends. Family and the bridal party are generally seated closest to the Bride and Groom followed by friends, co-workers, neighbors etc.

3. Who sits with whom? As a general rule of thumb is to try seating groups either by their relationship to the bride or groom or their age group. While it’s a great idea to mix it up, remember that people are most comfortable when sitting with people they know. If there are guests invited who do not know anyone else, consider their interests and age group and seat them accordingly.

4. How to seat divorced parents? In the case of divorced parents, have each parent host his or her own table to diffuse any awkwardness or discomfort. Assign the mother of the bride one table, with her close family and friends, and the father of the bride another. Just be sure not to seat one parent at the bridal table, but not the other. Also, in considering where the tables are physically located in the ballroom, determine whether you can have the tables close to each other or if it will be better for everyone if the tables are on different sides of the room.

5. Where to seat children? If you plan on having children at your reception it is preferable to seat young children with their parents; older children can be seated with their parents or on a table together. A children’s table can be great for parents, but can be potentially disruptive to other guests if the children are without supervision. If you go with a children’s table make sure the parents of the children are seated nearby, or that there is someone assigned to supervise the children at their table.

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