(Closed) Reception seating – to mix or not to mix

posted 6 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
Member
3170 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

Well, my Mother-In-Law isn’t butting in but my fiance sure is! He wants a seating chart so everyone will know who they are sitting by and I want our famillies to get to know each other. So, I get my way. I told him that if he really wants the seating chart he can make it…and that settled that because he hates crafts.

Good luck deciding, in the end you need to follow your heart and do what you want, its your only wedding.

Post # 4
Member
3175 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

Honestly, I probably wouldn’t. *Maybe* if you have 10 at a table, and you do 5 people who are close with another group of 5 that is close. Do you have a cocktail hour & dancing? I would imagine that those are the times people will mingle & get to know each other. I don’t really like the idea of forcing people to mingle while they’re trying to eat dinner.

Post # 5
Member
4193 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: July 2012 - Baltimore Museum of Industry

Future Mother-In-Law does have a point, that guests will be much more comfortable seated with people they already know. Are your families going to be involved with each other after the wedding? I know that my Uncle Richard will never again see his Aunt Cindy- while I know they’d get along, I’m keeping them at tables with their respective families. Richard will enjoy sitting with his brother from Florida a heck of a lot more.

Weddings end up being mini family reunions- Future Mother-In-Law said they only see each other at weddings and funerals. So I’m not going to take that away from them.

That being said, you could divide tables in half, if you really want the families to co-mingle. Or  what about at the rehearsal dinner- you could have assigned seats, and give people an opportunity to meet beforehand.

Post # 6
Member
1101 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

Why not let them sit where they want and not have a assigned seating chart? to me that is way more stress then it’s worth. I will not be having one and will be putting up a cute sign to let them know they may pick their seat.

Post # 7
Member
637 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

I personally wouldn’t.  Just because if I am the relatives, I don’t really care knowing the other family. I don’t get to see my relatives often since they live very far away, so I wouldn’t want to spend the time meeting new people when I need to catch up with my family.

I guess what you can do, find some time to introduce them prior to the reception.  At rehearsal dinner, or the day of the wedding.  If they decided they wanted to hang out with the new family, they will.  If they don’t, it will be an awkward moments at the table. 

Post # 8
Member
5494 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2011

We had 3 different cultures mixes and 3 different languages.  We didn’t mix the older crowd but mixed our friends.

I think people will have a better time sitting with other they know and want to talk with or relatives they want to catch up with.  I know that if I mixed some of my family with DH’s family they would have had nothing in common.

It’s much easier for younger people because they are more focused on having fun and partying then catching up.  We just made sure that if we were mixing his friends with mine it was people who had things in common or maybe singles of the opposite sex.

Post # 9
Member
637 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

@Meowkers:  that’s our plans.  we might mix up the coworkers and friends if we think they have something in common. 

Language is going to be a problem for us as a lot of relatives and parents friends are not fluent in English.

Post # 10
Member
1231 posts
Bumble bee

@rebwana:  Weddings end up being mini family reunions- Future Mother-In-Law said they only see each other at weddings and funerals. So I’m not going to take that away from them.

Agreed. I want to catch up with people I don’t get to see often, not make small talk with people I will never see again.

Post # 11
Member
150 posts
Blushing bee

maybe instead of mixing them at the tables, mix the tables themselves, if you get my drift. have a table of his next to a table of yours.

Post # 12
Member
7173 posts
Busy Beekeeper

I think the people that are more inclined to mix and mingle WILL mix and mingle, even if they are sitting at different tables.

I had a friend who tried to break up groups of friends and we all thought it was kind of silly.  Sure, we met new people – but in that – “polite conversation lets just get through with it” kind of way.  

I wouldn’t break up natural pairings of groups, just for the sake of wanting them to mix and mingle.  Keep in mind, even if this is extended family we are talking about – it’s technically YOUR family, not theirs.

Post # 13
Member
6543 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: September 2012

I’m a huge proponent of seating charts. Without them, it’s really common to end up with open tables and people pulling chairs from tables to add to others so they can all sit together.

I would definitely seat people together. I’d be pretty disappointed to attend a wedding with family and friends and not be able to sit with them because the couple wants me to mingle. I’m all about bringing families together, but the chance is aside from this wedding these people probably won’t see each other again. With your guests coming from all over, they would probably appreciate sitting with each other. Plus, if they want to mingle they can do so in cocktail hour or after dinner.

Post # 14
Member
1699 posts
Bumble bee

@sam2412:  You have a far better sense of what is socially appropriate than does your future Mother-In-Law; your good instincts for graciousness stand out from the crowd. Have you ever considered offering yourself for adoption by a childless spinster with a fondness for formal entertaining 😉  ?

Seriously, this kind of thing used to be fought out by the mother of the bride with the mother of the groom; with the mother of the bride, as hostess, having the final veto. At least in those days the two combatants were generally equal in age and status and crotchetiness; and the mother of the bride didn’t have to worry about living with the consequences of offending her future mother-in-law. Family dynamics and relative youth put today’s wedding hostess, the bride, at a considerable disadvantage. If you can rent a dragon-lady (say, an older friend, perhaps, who is willing to play the bad guy whilst secretly taking instruction from you), then put her officially in charge of this kind of negotiation, and insulate yourself from the debate that way.

Absolutely, the proper thing to do is to mix groups. You need to do it carefully, so that everybody is seated with people who are compatible and interesting to them; but you also have to trust your guests to be good guests, to put themselves out a little to make conversation with other guests and to accomodate themselves to your seating arrangement. Not every wedding guest actually knows that to be one of their responsibilities as a guest: just as some hostesses are relatively uninformed about formal protocol when they start wedding planning, a lot of guests are even more uninformed — and it isn’t always the younger ones who are unsophisticated! I was tremendously amused at a recent event to see my nineteen-year-old niece making social conversation with her eighty-three-year-old grandfather, asking open-ended questions and drawing him out while he responded with curt answers and gauche silence. But that is just part of the social reality you have to take into account when doing your seating plans. I find seating plans as intriguing and as difficult as crosswords or sudoku.

Post # 15
Member
1798 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

I think you should keep groups together for the most part. When outside of your wedding will his extended family need to get along with yours? They will probably never see each other again. A lot of family members coming to the wedding may not see each other often, so it’s better to put them together. I’m sure your guests will be polite enough to make small talk with people at their table if you do mix groups, but they will have a much more enjoyable experience if you keep family and other groups together.

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