You’re planning the reception. Tasting wine, champagne, chicken, fish, some kind of vegetable puree, then weighing silverware choices and napkin colors. White tablecloths? Black? Buffet style or full service? You dive in to your feast of bite size samples, imagining you and your new hubby’s loved ones mingling, getting along perfectly. Your lovely grandmother sitting with your husband’s….fraternity brothers? Rowdy cousin Mike, or his even rowdier father, Uncle Rick?
Damn. You’re going to need assigned seats. You and your husband have found each other despite all odds, and while his family loves you and he adores yours, it doesn’t necessarily mean both families will magically fall in love as well. Best to arrange them accordingly; many guests will appreciate not having to find their own seat, especially those who may not know other guests.
While it may be necessary to create a seating chart, it’s not necessary to simply split everyone into two (his and hers) groups and call it good. It is indeed the merging of two families and while they don’t have to be BFFs, there should be opportunity for everyone to get to know each other.
We’ve come up with a genius plan to make the most of what the reception really is: a formal party with a lot of people who don’t each other all that well. It’s all about taking the time to consciously fit personalities together. First, identify the different personalities of friends and loved ones. Who are the social butterflies who can get along with anyone? And the opposite: can you name any invitees who are too shy to converse with strangers?
Did you invite some super-political guests that find a way to work it into any conversation, or a scorned aunt who isn’t happy about, well, anything? Is there a group of guests who are the sole reason for you choosing open bar? How about a group of people who are the sole reason for you not choosing open bar? Organize your guests into groups, then disperse them so there is a good mix at each table. Give the shy ones at least one person they know, and spread the conversationalists to keep any lulls to a minimum. One exception might be keeping those who will get predictably wasted completely separated from those who imbibe sparingly.
Don’t be overwhelmed! We’ve created another printable for you to download and help you organize the guest list. Print your guest list and our Seating Chart Planner (available on Thursday; we’ll update here with the link), and start organizing your guests. Once you’ve got the names put in personality groups, then you can start planning tables.
Have you decided to assign seats at your wedding? Anything you’d like to add? Let us know in the comments!