Seating Plans…mixing friend groups and family?

posted 8 months ago in Reception
Post # 2
1144 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: February 2018 - UK

Personally, I would keep known groups together. I always have a much better time at weddings when I’m with people I know. We split our guests out into family groups and friendship groups. They stayed in those groups during the meal, and then everyone was mingling together during the evening reception.

Post # 3
4007 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 2014

I honestly don’t know the etiquette because we didn’t do seating charts (they aren’t common in my circle), but if possible I would keep groups together. That’s not to say that some tables won’t have a mixture of different groups, due to uneven numbers, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to mix them up. I hate being forced to sit at a table with strangers. I just feel really awkward.

Post # 4
9834 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

I would keep people who know each other together as much as possible.

It’s seriously one of my biggest pet peeves when brides intentionally sit people with total strangers. I get it’s sometimes inevitable just due to the seating arrangements, but I’m not going to a wedding to make new friends. Put me with people I already know so I can have some fun at dinner at least.

Post # 5
236 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2018

I had to mix because of the way our table sizes and groups of people worked out. We got lots of compliments on it and some of the people who met each other at the wedding still keep in touch and have visited each other on vacation, etc. I made sure that I sat people together in “chunks” (i.e. there was never a couple or two couples who were the “odd ones out” at the table, they all knew several other people at the table). I also tried to combine people who were in similar life stages and had similar interests.

It works better if you have family/friends who are naturally extroverted, more introverted people are more likely going to be exhausted by having to make conversation at a wedding. Also, whatever you do, don’t make a “leftovers” table of random singles!

Post # 6
5349 posts
Bee Keeper

View original reply
brittanyeide :  I prefer to be seated with people I know just like most people. But ultimately, it doesn’t really matter if I’m seated with people I don’t know. I understand that the bride and groom need to set these up under limited circumstances. I can suck it up for one day at someone’s wedding.

Last wedding we went to, we RSVP’d kinda late. We ended up sitting at the table with the vendors. If you ask that here, that would be pearl-clutching rude! After dinner, the guests were basically just jumping from table to table anyway talking to people they know all over the ballroom. We didn’t really care. We were there for the couple. 

Post # 8
3035 posts
Sugar bee

We had to mix to a a degree just based on how the numbers worked.  But we didn’t split nuclear family units and we ensured that everyone was at a table with at least 2 people they knew.  

We also did our best to ensure that the “strangers” people were sitting with were people they would have something in common with – ie, worked in same industry, shared hobby, had traveled to the same exotic location, etc.  and we managed to do enough quickie introductions during our cocktail, hour to help, too.  (Ie, “Jack, I wanted to introduce you to Simon. Simon climbed Mt Everest 2 years ago, and Jack is planning a trip to Everest for next year.”)

the act of doing the seating charts drove me nuts. it was a nightmare and I am ashamed to say I had more than a few meltdowns.  But it worked really well.  And a few new friendships were sparked! 

Post # 9
13889 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

I would much rather be at a table with a group of people that I know, than forced mingling with half a table of strangers. 

Post # 10
2083 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2018

View original reply
brittanyeide :  If possible, put them at your parents table or close by.

Post # 11
5041 posts
Bee Keeper

Sit people next to people they would enjoy.

That doesn’t necessarily mean people only need to sit with their own family or their own friends.  It means you should be thoughtful about why you are seating them next to each other.  The most enjoyable times I’ve had at wedding receptions where I knew almost no one else in attendance (i.e. the only people I knew were in the wedding party) were when the person making the seating chart took time to make sure I was seated at a table with people who had shared interests or similar personalities and they thought we would get along really well.

What do they have in common besides both being “aunts and uncles”?  If happens to be a shared love of spelunking then great.  If it’s only because they both happen to be the siblings of the married couple’s parents?  Then maybe not so much.

As for “look odd at the parents table” really no one else is going to care.  No one is going to gasp in horror that there are non-parents at the “parents table” and it’s not like you’re putting a couple of work friends there – they are still family.  It’s about being a good host and putting your guests where they feel most comfortable.  That takes priority over optics.

Post # 12
601 posts
Busy bee

we mixed to a certain extent because our friends/family didn’t neatly break up into tables of eight.  but everyone was at least with some people they knew, and we tried to be thoughtful about putting people together who had at least met before or who might have things in common. 

Post # 14
4448 posts
Honey bee

View original reply
brittanyeide :  I literally moved* some people around day of because of a last minute emergency. All Seated is a great tool. 


*Only moved within their table, not to different tables. We had assigned seating because we had quite a few people that did not know anybody else or spoke a different language than many of our guests so we wanted to make sure rhey were seated next to people we knew they would have fun with.

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