May 9, 2016

HOW TO SEAT GUESTS AT A WEDDING


I've always loved attending weddings as a guest. Not only is it wonderful to celebrate the union of people you care about, but it often is a fun reunion of some sort. I get to spend time with family or friends or former colleagues or college buddies whom I may not get to see regularly outside of Facebook.

Many years ago, my husband and I were invited to a wedding of an acquaintance. To be quite honest, we were both shocked and a little confused when we received the invite, as we couldn't even remember the last time we spoke with the couple. Still, we appreciated that they invited us and decided to accept the invitation.

We saw many friends at the wedding whom we did know very well, and enjoyed catching up with everyone during the cocktail hour. However, when it came time for dinner and we got to the table we were assigned to, we were disappointed to see that none of our friends were in close proximity to us. We were assigned to a table with 8 teenagers, and they were completely glued to their iphones the entire time. They showed no interest in carrying on any type of conversation even though I did make an effort to try. Though my husband and I kept each other company during the course of the 2 hour dinner, I realized how disappointing it can feel as guest when you are assigned to a table that does not offer good company and conversation. It can be downright miserable, especially as you see and hear the loud laughter coming from all the other tables.

So, as you prepare to work on your seating assignments for the wedding, here are our top 5 tips for you:

1. Assign everyone to a seat, not just a table. This gives you full control over the guest seating, which is a great thing because you know each of your guest best!

2. You don't necessarily need to seat everyone next to their best friend, but rather, think about whom each person would enjoy conversing with. If you seat two incredibly shy, reserved guests together who shares no common topic, it could be pretty boring for them both.

3. Provide some ice breakers for your guests! For example, you can name your tables instead of numbering them and behind the table name card, you can include a short story on the significance of the name. If you named the table Amsterdam, tell guests why this place is significant to your relationship. If you are incorporating a special family recipe into the menu, note that on the printed menus so guests at the table have something to talk about to break the ice!

4. Long tables and square tables are best for conversations. At a 48" square table, you can pretty much converse with every person at the table. At a long table, you can easily converse with at least 5 other people around you. If you decide to do rounds (least desirable for conversations), your venue or caterer will most likely suggest a 60" or a 72". We definitely recommend going with the 60", which would allow guests to easily converse with at least 3-4 people around them. In our opinion, a 72" simply feels way too big and does not encourage the intimacy most couples would want for their wedding.

5. Consider putting young kids in a separate room where they can be free to be kids. It's very hard for young kids to sit still for a 2 hour dinner, and it can be a pressure for parents to try to enforce that at a wedding in order to be polite and respectful. Ask your wedding venue if they can provide a separate room close by where you can hire professional babysitters from a licensed childcare service to watch them. These licensed childcare services that cater to events will often send sitters fully equipped with books, art and craft projects, and other things to entertain the children. This allow the kids to run around and do what they like, while their parents can also enjoy a lovely dinner with uninterrupted conversations.

Photo by Kevin Chin Photography 
Photo by Kevin Chin Photography
Photo by Beaux Arts
Photo by Viv Chen Photography


Cheers,
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