Etiquette

Do both parents sit together?

I have a ways to go on this, but it just occurred to me today, and I'm curious.

Is it typical to have the two sets of parents sit together at the reception or each sort of host their own close family at their table? 

I ask because my parents are divorced, and although they're entirely civil, I'm not sure they would want to sit together. But I know my mom definitely would want to sit with my FI's parents... though then I think I have to include my dad or he's the outsider. 

I digress. I have lots of time to think about this, I'm just wondering if one way is more traditional than another? Anything to think about regarding etiquette? Just curious.

Thanks! 
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Re: Do both parents sit together?

  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    We seated all our parents together, but I don't think that's the norm.
    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
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  • Ex-h and I are incredibly civil but we host our own tables at the weddings of our daughters.  We are both remarried and have "new" families, and quite frankly, I don't really want to spend dinner with him when I can be sitting with my out of state siblings and new husband.  He feels the same way.  BUT....if for some bizaare reason one of the girls wanted us to sit together we probably would.  Chances are it won't happen because they don't care for their stepmom very much and (so far) think the separate table thing works well.

    Do what makes everyone comfortable.
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_do-both-parents-sit-together?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:f9ca9e7e-e50f-437b-90fd-3ad3f9af4c04Post:5524544b-e05d-449d-9acc-f788200d7267">Do both parents sit together?</a>:
    [QUOTE]I have a ways to go on this, but it just occurred to me today, and I'm curious. Is it typical to have the two sets of parents sit together at the reception or each sort of host their own close family at their table?  I ask because my parents are divorced, and although they're entirely civil, I'm not sure they would want to sit together. But I know my mom definitely would want to sit with my FI's parents... though then I think I have to include my dad or he's the outsider.  I digress. I have lots of time to think about this, I'm just wondering if one way is more traditional than another? Anything to think about regarding etiquette? Just curious. Thanks! 
    Posted by emeejeeayen[/QUOTE]
    Usually each set of parents host their own table, but there is no right or wrong answer, of course. And even if a certain way were traditional, traditions don't have to be followed.
    The etiquette for this is just to make sure each parent is comfortable with their seating arrangement, really.

    I'd ask the parents, separately, of course, for some of their ideas and options and see if you can't come up with some good seating ideas that would make everyone comfortable.
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  • At our wedding, my parents, H's mom (and stepdad), and H's dad all had their own tables. I would just go with whatever way you and your parents prefer.
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_do-both-parents-sit-together?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:f9ca9e7e-e50f-437b-90fd-3ad3f9af4c04Post:cae1d23f-74d8-4bf7-992e-7129277135cb">Re:Do both parents sit together?</a>:
    [QUOTE]I say do what makes sense for your parents.
    Posted by TXKristan[/QUOTE]

    I agree.  I don't think there really is a norm.
  • At my wedding I'm going to have my mom host a table with her family and I'm going to seat my dad at my future in laws table. He doesn't really have any of his family or friends at the wedding to sit with since we are estranged from his family. So for us this seemed like the most sensible solution. I think it's best to evauluate your situation and do whatever you think will make people most comfortable. At the end of the night you want people to leave with good memories not bitter ones.
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  • My parents and H's mom each had their own table.  You could always put mom and FILs tables next to each other so they can turn and chat easily once the dinner is over.
  • Depends on your family dynamics. Whatever is most reasonable for your situation will work just fine.

    We are having FI's parents host their family table. My mom is hosting her family table. And, my dad is sitting with his brother and family at another table. 



    Anniversary
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_do-both-parents-sit-together?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:f9ca9e7e-e50f-437b-90fd-3ad3f9af4c04Post:cae1d23f-74d8-4bf7-992e-7129277135cb">Re:Do both parents sit together?</a>:
    [QUOTE]I say do what makes sense for your parents.
    Posted by TXKristan[/QUOTE]<div>Yes, this.  </div><div>Both sets of our parents are married to each other, so all six of us are sitting at a table together.  </div><div>When my father attended his sons' weddings (sons from his previous marriage) he and his ex wife were not seated together.  He's very much an outsider in his own family- his ex is very friendly with my dad's family- so both times they seated my dad with the bride's parents and their mother with the family.  It worked well for everyone.  Case by case basis.

    </div>

    May 2013 February Siggy: Invitations

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  • I agree with everyone who says to do what makes sense for your family.

    My parents are divorced, mom is in a relationship, dad is not.  My parents are, for the most part, civil (they're fine in public anyway).  Dad and mom's boyfriend hate each other (I don't like the BF either, but that's besides the point).  Point is, they're comfortable being at the same table together.  We're having one table for parents/grandparents on both sides.   I'll arrange it so that my parents aren't sitting next to each other, and they're fine with that.   Just talk to your families, see what they think.
  • I would have loved to have our parents all sit together, but it didn't work out. We didn't have a head table, but round tables of 8-10, and since I wanted to seat my brother and his family with our mother and my step-brother and his family with his father (my step-father), there was no way we could seat his parents and grandparents at the same table. 

    We put his family on one side and my family on the other, all at round tables--all seated with other family members they were close to. It all worked out and everyone mingled before and after dinner anyway. Once dinner was over it was a game of musical chairs, just as I suspected.

    At the rehearsal dinner, there was no assigned seating, and our parents chose to sit together with us.
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_do-both-parents-sit-together?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:f9ca9e7e-e50f-437b-90fd-3ad3f9af4c04Post:5524544b-e05d-449d-9acc-f788200d7267">Do both parents sit together?</a>:
    [QUOTE]I have a ways to go on this, but it just occurred to me today, and I'm curious. Is it typical to have the two sets of parents sit together at the reception or each sort of host their own close family at their table?  I ask because my parents are divorced, and although they're entirely civil, I'm not sure they would want to sit together. But I know my mom definitely would want to sit with my FI's parents... though then I think I have to include my dad or he's the outsider.  I digress. I have lots of time to think about this, I'm just wondering if one way is more traditional than another? Anything to think about regarding etiquette? Just curious. Thanks! 
    Posted by emeejeeayen[/QUOTE]

    Traditional formal etiquette is actually quite sexist on the matter of who hosts what. Although single gentlemen may host as many bachelor parties as they wish, and may host small dinner parties in public rooms such as a restaurant or club dining room, only ladies ( with the optional assistance of their husbands) may host general social affairs. So traditionally if a wedding is hosted by the bride's divorced-and-remarried mother, it would be the mother and step-father whose names head the invitation and, just as you observe, the father is the odd man out. When a single gentleman wants to host something, he has to ask his sister or aunt or even a very close female friend to act as hostess.

    Also, at formal dinner parties where very close attention is being paid to proper protocol, the hostess takes care to mix up the various tables so that closely related people are not sitting side-by-side. Even husbands and wives, although they are generally seated at the same table, are not seated beside each other at highly formal dinners. So the norm is to mix the bride's friends and family in with the groom's friends and family, taking care to match up interests as much as possible and to make sure everyone has at least some tablemates with whom they share familiarity, and some who are potential new friends. Guests of honour should be seated close to the host and hostess, or to kinswomen of the hostess if the hostess is busy trying to fill two roles by being the bride at the same time.

    So with those principles in mind, your mother would host one table, sitting opposite to her husband if she has one; and your father's aunt or sister  or close friend would host another table sitting opposite to your father. If your parents are the hosts of the wedding reception, then your fiance's parents sit at her table: his father sitting at your mother;s right hand and his mother sitting at her partner's right hand. If you and the groom are hosting the wedding, then his parents should host their own table since his mother is then a "close kinswomen" of the host and not an "honoured guest", but the table should include a mix of her own family friends and relations, and your family friends and relations.
  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited April 2013
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_do-both-parents-sit-together?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:f9ca9e7e-e50f-437b-90fd-3ad3f9af4c04Post:08954d6a-f013-489d-94e7-358595e3cd94">Re: Do both parents sit together?</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Do both parents sit together? : Traditional formal etiquette is actually quite sexist on the matter of who hosts what. Although single gentlemen may host as many bachelor parties as they wish, and may host small dinner parties in public rooms such as a restaurant or club dining room, only ladies ( with the optional assistance of their husbands) may host general social affairs. So traditionally if a wedding is hosted by the bride's divorced-and-remarried mother, it would be the mother and step-father whose names head the invitation and, just as you observe, the father is the odd man out. When a single gentleman wants to host something, he has to ask his sister or aunt or even a very close female friend to act as hostess. Also, at formal dinner parties where very close attention is being paid to proper protocol, the hostess takes care to mix up the various tables so that closely related people are not sitting side-by-side. Even husbands and wives, although they are generally seated at the same table, are not seated beside each other at highly formal dinners. So the norm is to mix the bride's friends and family in with the groom's friends and family, taking care to match up interests as much as possible and to make sure everyone has at least some tablemates with whom they share familiarity, and some who are potential new friends. Guests of honour should be seated close to the host and hostess, or to kinswomen of the hostess if the hostess is busy trying to fill two roles by being the bride at the same time. So with those principles in mind, your mother would host one table, sitting opposite to her husband if she has one; and your father's aunt or sister  or close friend would host another table sitting opposite to your father. If your parents are the hosts of the wedding reception, then your fiance's parents sit at her table: his father sitting at your mother;s right hand and his mother sitting at her partner's right hand. If you and the groom are hosting the wedding, then his parents should host their own table since his mother is then a "close kinswomen" of the host and not an "honoured guest", but the table should include a mix of her own family friends and relations, and your family friends and relations.
    Posted by AroundTheBlock[/QUOTE]

    What century are you from?  Are you a relative of Kristen#s?
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_do-both-parents-sit-together?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:f9ca9e7e-e50f-437b-90fd-3ad3f9af4c04Post:8ed1cfca-cad1-4284-8f48-a3ee5707941a">Re: Do both parents sit together?</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Do both parents sit together? : What century are you from?  Are you a relative of Kristen#s?
    Posted by OliveOilsMom[/QUOTE]<div>
    </div><div>She HAS to be related to Kristen#s.  

    </div>
  • My parents sat at different tables... across the room from each other. My in-laws sat at a table between them. 

    My mom and stepfather sat with a bunch of my friends, whom they had met. They don't have any family. My dad sat with his girlfriend, his sister, his neice, his great-nephew and my brother. 

    My mom sat in the first row at the ceremony and my dad sat in the second. 

    But ask what they'd prefer! I think my mom mentioned not sitting with my dad, but it really never occurred to me to put them together. 
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  • Thanks for all the responses, guys! They actually don't have a preference, it just gets awkward with table assigments. Our tables are 10-tops, and I think my mom could probably scrounge up... maybe 9 relatives/friends to be at her table, but my dad probably maybe 2? So it would end up being more of a stranger table for him. Buuuut not to get overly personal, he sort of chose to separate himself from our family, so I can't really do much about that now. I'll definitely show them all the options you guys have suggested here, though, and see if one of them stands out.
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