(Closed) seating chart etiquette?

posted 10 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
Member
56 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: May 2007

I don’t think there are really any set "rules" anymore.  You asked for what we’ve done… My husband’s parents are married, while mine are divorced.  We decided that it would be best to let each parent (or set, in the inlaws case) have their own table, and we let them choose who they wanted to have sit with them (grandparents or close friends or whatever).  This worked out well, and we kind of divided our room into 3 sections, with my mom’s side of the family sitting closest to her table, my dad’s family sitting nearest to him, etc.  We only had a few tables in which guests were intermixed (my guests and his guests)… We just tried to put people together that already knew each other (from the same church, family, etc), or we thought would get along well (college and high school friends).  For our bridal party seating… Personally, I’m not really a fan of head tables and the fact that in most cases, dates of the attendants don’t get to sit with them.  For us, the solution was to have a sweetheart table for the two of us, and have 2 tables for the bridal party and their dates.  One was for bridesmaids and guests, the other for groomsmen and guests.  Our sweetheart table was actually on the dance floor so everyone could see us (moved right after dinner) and the tables closest to us were the 3 parent tables and 2 attendant tables.

 

This is just one of the MANY ways to coordinate seating, however.  Lots of people have head tables with attendants or parents… Some people don’t even have seating assignments at all!  Good luck with whatever you decide to do! 🙂 

Post # 4
Member
228 posts
Helper bee

I’m pretty sure you can do whatever you want, though most try to avoid obvious conflicts, like seating divorced parents together (unless they are still friendly).

Some people like to intermix to have people meet new people, just make sure everyone has some familiar faces nearby =) As for parents/head table/wedding party, it’s totally up to you. People have done it every which way.

We’re having his friends and mine at their own tables, divorced parents/family/kids each have their own… and we don’t have a wedding party so I can’t help you there =P

There are going to be a few empty seats at most of the tables, so we’re probably just going to sit anywhere and move around during the meal.

Post # 5
Member
126 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: March 2009

I really like the idea of having the bridal party sitting with the bride and the groom.  I have no input on other areas, ie. singles with single, parents, etc.  I think it just all depends on preference. 

Post # 6
Member
388 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2018

Almost every wedding I’ve attended has mixed seating, so I think guests are used to seeing it vary.  Divorced parents should definitely not be forced to sit at the same table, seat them with the appropriate family members & friends at separate tables.

Since we got married in our 30s, everyone in the bridal party had a spouse or significant other.  Rather than a head table, we mixed our attendants & their spouse into different tables (i.e. my college buddy bridesmaid & her hubby sat at the College Friends table, my work buddy bridesmaid sat at the Work Friends table).

We opted against forcing our bridal party to sit at a head table because by the time the reception rolls around, me and my *new* hubby would be up and mingling most of the time anyway.  So we wanted each attendant to be able to enjoy the party with people they knew, and not sit at a head table like decorations.

We didn’t want a sweetheart table either, though, so we just seated ourselves at a table with a mix of family & friends, making sure the people to either side of us would be OK with sitting next to an empty seat most of the night since we’d be up & mingling.  Good luck!

Post # 7
Member
236 posts
Helper bee

Fi’s parents are married.  And like you, my parents are divorced.  They get along just fine, especially with each other’s families.  (They were married for 21 years before an ammicable divorce.)  However we will be give each parent a table to sit with people of thier choice.  This will mean that my Mom will probably sit with some of her family and friends and probably one of my Dad’s sisters.  On the other hand my Dad will have mostly family and a few friends.  We think we are going to do 3 head tables.  One for us and the bman & moh and the spouses; and two for the the bms and gms, dates and probably a speaker or two.

Post # 9
Member
2293 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2008

Ugh.  We are still debating about this.  We will probably have 3 head tables, which will cover his family, my family, our small bridal party, and everyone’s SO.  However the politics of who sits at which table are horrendous.  We are having a buffet, so I am not going to worry about any other seating, although I am certainly tempted.  A sweetheart table seems like an odd idea to me – not that I don’t really want to have some time for just the two of us – but we have a lot of friends and family coming from out of town, and we want to get to spend as much time with them as possible.

Post # 10
Member
106 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2008

HA!  I’m actually on my seating chart software as I speak!  Not to mention that I was about to post something like this myself, but you beat me to it. 

My dilema is that both of our families have feuding individuals and groups and cannot be near each other.  Oy.

My parents are divorced, too but FI’s are together.  But, that might be fixed given that my parents have decided not to come.  (long story) 

I was hopeful that we’d have 11 tables of 10, too — but alas, we have 11 tables of EIGHT.  It’s made an impact on how we disperse the groups.  And I have no idea how to make it work, either.

Where’s Tim Gunn when you need him?!?

Post # 11
Member
2293 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2008

Our head table (immediate family and SOs, including bridal party) worked out to be not quite two round tables, and I could not figure out how to divide them without someone feeling slighted, so our venue is doing a long table that seats 14 for the head table.  The rest of our tables are 8-person rounds.

For divorced parents, it sort of depends.  I know that FI and I would not want to sit with his ex and her boyfriend.  It was not an amicable divorce, and while we’re courteous to them when we have to see them, we don’t choose to socialize with them.  If that messes with your concept of a head table, then try to have a long table and seat them at opposite ends.  A table for each set of parents and their particular friends is also a good option.

Then it’s all up to your personal philosophy of party giving.  Do you seat people according to who they are already friends with, or according to who you think they might be interested in meeting?  Or maybe a little of each?  It’s really whatever you like.

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