As the countdown to my own wedding starts creeping toward the single digits – AHHH! – I totally understand why “Bridezillas” is such a successful TV franchise.
Sure, it’s been a blast to find my dress, party it up in Vegas for one of two (yes two!) bachelorettes, celebrate with our respective families, taste cake after cake after cake (and work out like crazy afterwards)…but one thing that’s really stressed me out is figuring out how to seat everyone without offending anyone.
And, you know what I’ve figured out? You can’t. There’s always going to be one person – and hopefully just one – who feels slighted by where they’ve been seated.
For example, what do you do about the family feuds? Whether it’s divorced parents who can’t stand each other or siblings who can’t seem to go through an entire event without getting into a heated political debate if not all-out fight, how can you treat them equally without putting them together and risking a debacle? In the case of divorced parents, it’s probably a good idea to give them their very own table to host. If you’ve got four sets of parents and step-parents, this may be quite an undertaking, but just think of what might happen otherwise. As for siblings or former friends who aren’t easy around one another, you can spread them out among other family tables if you like, or, if you feel comfortable enough to do so, pull each aside before the big day and simply ask them to fake it until the next family function.
And, what about the table waaaay in the back? If you’re having a big reception, there’s inevitably going to be a table that feels like it’s an island unto itself. One idea to try and help the folks at this far-off table feel special is to seat some wedding VIPs – like, say, members of the bridal party, there. I know it’s non-traditional…but if you’re not into the whole bridal party table thing (especially if you have a huge group of bridesmaids and groomsmen), why not turn your besties into bridal ambassadors? Having such important guests at any table is sure to make its other occupants feel special. Just make sure your bridal party is clued in as to why they’re seated so far away! It may make them feel extra special too.
Another potential problem, the no-show or the extra guest. Ugh. Some people are just rude. If someone doesn’t make it to your wedding for some random reason (besides illness, in which case, just let it go) and they tell you at the last minute or worse, don’t tell you at all, your caterer and venue will know what to do – so, let them and don’t allow it to ruin your day. The caterer can simply remove their card and shuffle the place settings. An extra guest – for example, a person who RSVP’d solo decides to bring a date – well, that’s a bit of a different story. If yours is a big wedding, it’s also bound to happen. To prepare for such rudeness, ask your caterer to have two extra place settings at the ready for your sparsest table. If so-and-so shows up with a date, they get shuffled back there. And, if the extra guest increases the amount you’ll have to pay, be careful not to alert the venue of such a possibility unless it comes to pass. In order to make this unwitting crasher feel more welcome, perhaps ask a bridesmaid to run over and adjust the place card to read “and guest” after the invited individual’s name.
What wedding seating snafus have you had to handle? How did you manage them with grace (or maybe you went a little crazy)? Tell me in the comments below!