The Intricate Art of Seating Your Wedding Guests

In theory, filling up your reception tables with friends and family should be easy...

Contributing Writer
Photography by: Jillian Mitchell

Friends with friends, family with family, everybody's happy. But, once you actually start to think about where to put your guests, things can get complicated—fast. For example, moving the aunt who offends just by the way she glances at you to sit at a table with other family members means you can't seat your parents anywhere near that table, and placing your parents with his parents could get awkward. All of a sudden, who will sit where and with whom becomes one giant game of chess IRL and the following thought process ensues.


Insanely Creative Seating Cards and Displays

Mix and mingle both sides.

So your sorority sisters are a squad of 10, only, you've opted for tables of eight. Once you factor in their spouses then you'll need at least three tables to seat them all together. But, since you've graduated, two rifts have sent shockwaves through your precious posse and this poses a problem because unless you want a Real Housewives of New Jeresey—style showdown during dinner, you cannot, under any circumstances, seat these two anywhere near each other. So the only solution is to spread them out into five tables and sprinkle in your fiancé's friends—at this point, his crew will have to take five for the team.


Put all offensive relatives together.

Between your family and his family, there are enough cringe-worthy relatives to create a football team. Since you don't want to emotionally crush anyone else who means anything to you by seating them within a hundred feet of any one of these miscreants, the only solution is to seat like with like, because at least maybe they'll each be so offensive, they'll cancel each other out. That's logical, right? And then, if you put them at a table that's not in ear or eyeshot of yours or anyone else's, no offenses will transpire (that tree falling in the woods with no one around thing).


Single out the stags.

Among your guests, there are enough single people to sit at their own table. Granted, your inappropriate uncle is one of them, but maybe if he actually sits next to your husband's single guy friends, he'll be less likely to insult anyone at the table. And hey, if you end up making a match, it's good karma.


Take yourselves out of the equation.

If you sit with his parents, then your parents will have a fit. If you put yourselves at your parents' table then his parents will never let you live it down. But then, if you sit with neither set, and pick a table of friends instead, do you make it his friends or your friends? There's one clear answer: A sweetheart table. Because sitting with no one else but yourselves eliminates any drama whatsoever. And everyone will look at you with adoring eyes—never knowing, for one second, the anguish it took to get you there. 

About the Author

Jennifer Tzeses

As an eight-time bridesmaid Jenny knows just a little bit about mitigating a makeup meltdown and distracting a meddling mom. As a former editor for Martha Stewart Weddings magazine, her knowledge of all things weddings extended to bridal beauty and fashion, etiquette, and honeymoons. Her writing (weddings and otherwise) appears in such publications and websites as Martha Stewart...


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