Post # 1
I’ve been struggling with our seating chart for the past week, and feel like I’ve made zero progress with it. Part of the problem is that we’re having one long table, for about 35 guests. At the moment I’ve got us sitting in the middle, with bridal party to either side and our parents/family in front of us. And then friends to either side of that…but I’m wondering, is it poor/unacceptable etiquette to split up the bridal party so they are dispersed towards the ends of the table?
My reasoning applies most specifically to one bridesmaid, who basically invited herself in as a bridesmaid at the last minute (it’s a long story – essentially she’s over-enthusiastic, which I appreciate to an extent, but I’m also a push-over). One of the other problems is that she’s chosen to bring a random date (okay, not entirely random – but a guy she’s been out with a handful of times in the past month, since she broke up with her long-term boyfriend last month). Because my MOH and other bridesmaid are both married, it means I have to seat their partners next to them…which in turn means there’s at least six people between me and the next block of guests.
The bridesmaid in question also one of the most friendly, sociable people I know – which is why I was thinking of putting her further down the table as a sort of ‘anchor’, because I know she’ll be able to carry the conversation with just about any guest. Does that make sense? I would of course do the same with the groomsmen, so they are not sitting next to my fiancé.
Would this look strange in photos? Do people expect the bridal party to be close to the bride and groom?
Also, how do you decide who goes at the ends of the table? I’m so worried whoever ends up there will feel isolated and/or unimportant.
Any other suggestions for long-table seating charts gratefully appreciated!
Post # 2
peonyinparis: You can do what you want! Once you’re all at one table, I think the traditional seating rules (with only certain people at the head table) go out the window.
In fact, you seem to be mixing two traditions anyway. Usually the bridesmaids are next to the bride (away from their partners) or with their partners (away from the bride). It’s pretty unusual to have the bridesmaids and their partners up near the bride.
The last wedding I was at had two long tables, and people were just say near people they knew, regardless of whether they were in the bridal party.
As for who goes on the end: so long as people are near people they know, even the person in a corner should have 3 people they can talk to. You should probably avoid putting someone at the very end (the “head”) of the table. I have heard it can be a good rule to put louder / more sociable people at the ends, because they can make conversation even with less people near them. If you have kids or teenagers who know each other, you could also put them all in one “block” at one end.
Post # 3
peonyinparis: We are sort of doing this. Are you sitting on both sides of the long table? Can she sit across some how? I personally wouldn’t want to be too far away if I was a BM… I dunno, I’d feel kinda left out. Then again she did kind of invite herself. However, ultimately it is you and your FI’s choice.
Can I ask if you are sitting at a standard 30″ wide table? We are trying to figure out if we should push two together so the table is 5 ft wide but thats causing so many problems with table clothes!
Post # 4
aussiemum1248: Oh, I completely forgot about that custom of the bridal party sitting apart from their dates. I’m now thinking about mixing it up completely and having the BMs/GMs dispersed along the length of the table on both sides, but still sitting with their partners.
That’s a good idea about putting more extroverted types at the ends. I can totally see how otherwise the activity and bustle would sort of die out as you get to the ends of the table. We’re a bit limited by language segregation as well (there’s a French-speaking group, a Chinese-speaking group and a multi-lingual overlap lol) but I think I’ll do better without the restriction of having to keep the bridal party clustered together.
LoveLaceandWine: I’m not sure how wide our table is…I think it’s 120cm wide? We’re just doing I think four or five of those stacked length-wise. 5 foot seems really wide to me, or am I getting my measurements confused? Would there be issues hearing conversation across a wider table?
Post # 5
- Wedding: June 2014 - San Francisco, CA
I was in a wedding where each member of the bridal party was seated at a different table (we were told we were “envoys of the couple”?!), and none of us were with people we knew. Like, the entire table was new people, not even couples were seated together. It was awkward, so generally I’m agaisnt splitting up the bridal party. Nonetheless, if EVERYONE is at one table, I would say it’s not that big a deal. Just make sure everyone is near someone who speaks their language!
Post # 6
We had about the same number of people and a long table. We just let everyone sit where they wanted to. It was much easier and everyone got to sit where they wanted. We sat int he middle but moved about to talk to guests.
Post # 7
- Wedding: October 2011 - Bed & Breakfast
In this kind of seating plan there isn’t really a need to seat the bridal party together. Rather, you need to think more about what groups of people mix best together (or don’t!). Think about the 2 people sitting on either side of a given person, as well as the 3 -4people sitting across from them. That defines your groupings. Feel free to mix and match in order to assure good conversation flow.
Post # 8
peonyinparis: Your most recent response makes sense. Sounds like you have a good plan.
Your tables are about 4 ft across, so I don’t think thats too much and conversation will flow just fine. Just make sure you put compatible people together!