I remember back when my husband and I got married. We started out doing the right thing. My husband (then fiance), my mother, my mother in law and myself all got together at my mom’s house to do the seating arrangement. This was important because both my mother and my mother in law had invited family friends and distant relatives my husband and I did not know all that well. This may or many not be what you accept but my parents were paying for the wedding so I was not going to tell my mom who she could and who she could not invite. We did however have to give my mother in law a limit because she wanted to invite everyone she ever met (I say that with love).
The Invite List
When deciding who to invite each of these people should make a list of who they want to invite The Bride, the groom, the parents of the bride, and the parents of the groom, unless of course the parents are no longer with you, or your relationship is estranged. Give everyone a week to make their list. Don’t expect them to get it all done in one day because sometimes you don’t think of some people right away. Rushing anyone may cause them to forget someone important.
After Everyone Creates their Invite List you will then need to determine weather or not the amount of people in total that everyone wants to invite is going to be affordable or if there are too many people for the budget and some people will need to be cut. Since it is their wedding the bride and grooms should stay as intact as possible, but they should also just take a look and see if there is anyone they can cut from the list. Perhaps you don’t really need to invite that friend you went to college with and have not seen or talked to for the last 4 years.
After the lists have been created and the invitations sent wait for the reply cards to come back, make sure to put a date that you want them back by. You should work this time out with the banquet hall. See when they need your final count, then request the reply card be sent back at least a week and half before that, in case some come in late. Also find out from the banquet hall how many people will be seated at each table. Usually it is 8, but that could vary due to the size of the tables.
Creating the Seating Chart
You will need to decide if you would like a head table where all of the people in your wedding party will sit, aside from any children who should sit with their parents, or grandparents or another trusted relative or friend if he parents are in the wedding party. There is a current trend where the bride and the groom sit alone at a private table. While the wedding party would sit at the table with the parents of the bride and groom each sitting which ever parents they are related to or know better. Personally I am a traditionalist. The wedding party usually only sits at the head table to eat and give speeches and I think it is best that they are there. After the dinner they will likely go sit and talk at other tables or spend the night on the dance floor.
Now it is time to seat the other guests at the wedding. The following rules should apply, sit people who know each other and like each other together. Do not sit people who know each other but do not like each other together. After that you will have those who don’t know any of your other guests or who only know maybe 1 or 2 other people. Sit those people with other people around people in their own age group. If those people are single and about the same age as other singles place them at the same table. If you have a relative that does not get along with others very well, place them at the table with those that are most tolerable of them that they know, or place them with friendly strangers. A family member who is not seated with other family members will obviously notice and will be offended if they are the only family member not sitting with family members. So it is best to seat them next to the family members that can tolerate them the best.
If you have only a couple of singles and they are not in the same age group, place those singles at a table with friendly lively couples around their age who will embrace them and include them in conversations and who will even draw them out to the dance floor so that they have a good time too.
Seat co-workers and your boss with other co-workers. If for some reason you have to sit them with others be sure you are placing them with people who are not going to embarrass you in any way that might cause you to have respect lost for you at the work place.
The most important rule of thumb to follow is try to seat people with other people who you know they already enjoy being around or who you feel will get along nicely to share a meal with.
Also keep in mind those with special needs. Don’t put older people next to the DJ, place those with handicaps close to the doors so they can go the restroom easily, but try to still give them a nice unobstructed view of what is going on.