Thoughts on Seating
your Guests at the Reception.
You may spend considerable time and
effort carefully selecting the napkin
color, the flower arrangements and the
favors, so that the ambience of the
reception room is warm and festive.
Unfortunately, if a guest is not
happy with their seating arrangement,
what they will remember most will be
the lack of camaraderie at the dinner
table or the headache they suffered
because they were seated too near to
guests is no easy matter and so we suggest
that you start the project as soon as
you have mailed out your invitations.
This will mean many adjustments
as the "will not attend" replies
come in. However, if you leave this
task until the last reply arrives, you
will be scrambling to make decisions
when you have a myriad of last minute
matters to attend to.
are many seating charts and seating
software programs to use, but sometimes
the simplest methods are the best.
If you are attempting to organize a
large guest list and either the bride
or the groom does not know some of the
guests, here is what we suggest.
a layout of the tables from the caterer.
Purchase a round tablet from a stationery
store. Make a preliminary seating assignment
list from your guest list on your computer
and put a space between every 10 names
(or however many people you plan for
Print out this list and use a scissors
to cut the list so that you have squares
with 10 names on each.  Attach each
square to the middle of a round sheet
from the tablet.
your kitchen table, arrange the circles
so that they match the seating chart.
You will know who is to sit at
the head tables, so start there.
Invite your mother, mother-in-law or
others over to help, so that, between
all of you, every guest can be identified.
As you consider the various needs and
personalities of your guests, you can
move the circles, erase names and add
those names to another table.
When decisions have been made, print
a revised list.
are some points to consider when choosing
table locations for each guest.
wedding day may become an unhappy memory
for an elderly guest who has been seated
close to a noisy band.   Seat your
youngest guests closest to the music
and your oldest guests as far from it
as possible.   Incidentally, you
should have a wide selection of music
played during the reception, so that
all your guests will find favorites
that they can dance to or hum along
with.  It is also wise to have a
break from the music during the main
course, so that your guests can talk
without straining to hear their companion's
answers. Discuss the timing of music
breaks with your bandleader or DJ.
close friends together - they will expect
that, but try to mix it up a little.
Put some couples together with
others whom they don't know but might
share interests with.   If you have
an extended family of 10 who want to
be together, and you have tables for
8, put six at one table and four at
an adjoining table, so that the family
still feels connected.
Seat singles in boy, girl, boy, girl
fashion, and hope that the conversation
will develop. Lots of romances begin
during other people's weddings.
Not everyone will be happy with the
neighbors at their table - this is the
case with every wedding. But you can
increase the odds, if you give your
seating some thought.
the size of the room or the organization
of the tables means that the servers
have to squeeze between adjoining tables
to serve the meal.   This is most
annoying to a guest forced to move their
seat each time someone passes behind
them. You can often avoid this problem,
and the ire of your guests, if you position
the tables so that there is adequate
space for servers to pass through.
If you expect guests in wheelchairs,
give thought to their particular needs
regarding space and helpers, and seat
the subject of meals, pay attention
to the scheduling of the meal itself.
If your wedding is at 5pm with
the reception following, your guests
will expect to start eating by 7pm.
Even if you serve hors d'oeuvres,
you will discover that some people avoid
them in anticipation of a large meal.
If several speeches are followed
by a long round of dancing or other
diversions and there is no sign of the
meal by 7:30pm, your older guests will
get edgy.   A little later and your
guests will be requesting extra dinner
rolls or leaving in a huff!  Discuss
the timing with your caterer and band
or DJ, and insist that your schedule
you plan to have several children attending
the reception, allocate a separate table
for them.   Ask the caterer about
special meals for children, they will
probably be less costly and more to
the children's taste.   White grape
juice can fill in for champagne for
your younger guests.   Have some
special favors for the children, such
as coloring or puzzle books to keep
them occupied.   Seat some parents
or older siblings nearby to superintend
- or free up your older guests by bringing
in a babysitter to supervise.