Seating plans to side step wedding day politics

November 12th 2008

Your wedding day is a rare occasion when you can have everyone you know and love together at once. Your wedding guests will probably be some of the most special people in your lives, but just because you love them all doesn’t mean they necessarily love each other and is no guarantee they’ll all get along.

Family feuds, newly divorced parents and friends with a history can all have an impact on your day and how it runs, the seating plan, the receiving line and your photographs. Creating a seating plan can be hard at the best of times – trying to work a combination of couples, young families and singles onto tables with limited seats without excluding anyone. But with awkward guests too, you’ll need extra help getting it right.

You’ve put a lifetime of dreams and a lot of effort into planning your wedding and so first of all remember it is your day. While it is polite to take into account ill feeling between guests and avoid sitting them together, it is also not unreasonable that they should put aside those feelings and be civil for just one day.

Forward planning

If you anticipate an issue between guests, speak to them before hand and let them know that you have invited the other guest and whilst you understand there might be a problem, you’d really like them both to be there and politely ask if they could put aside their differences for the day. If they make a fuss about it, you still have time to amend your guest list or table plans to avoid conflict on the day.

Top Table Politics

Seating newly divorced parents can be tricky, especially if there are new partners in tow. If it is a problem think carefully about your top table. Traditionally both sets of parents sit on the top table but if this is going to make your top table very cluttered or extremely long try alternative layouts like round tables or reducing the guests on the top table. If you don’t wants feuds as a result of excluding parents or their partners then simply take a top table for just the Bride and Groom or perhaps have the Best Man and Matron of Honour too.

Rival friends or ex-lovers are easier to keep happy as their seating is not as high profile and you can simply keep them apart on separate tables.

Mixing Bride’s and Groom’s Guests

Some people like to mix friendship groups or families to integrate both the Bride’s and the Groom’s guests. This is great if you have outgoing friends who get along with anyone. However, remember couples usually prefer to sit together and tables of close friends can often make for a more sociable atmosphere.

Think carefully about your guest list when you’re table planning. Make a note of who should definitely be kept apart and who can be played as your “joker” the people or couples you know will fit in and get along with just about anyone – this person can be used to make up the odd numbers on a table.

Ask someone with experience

If you’re still struggling for ideas, have a casual chat with your wedding professionals, your cake maker, wedding planner or dress maker. They’ve seen hundreds of people in your situation before and have probably heard many stories – perhaps they’ve chatted with someone who’s been in the same boat and can share the story of how they solved their problem.

Wedding politics are inevitable but you don’t have to be stressed out by it when you’re doing your table plan if you remember some simple rules.

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