Wedding Etiquette Forum

Seating Chart

So matter of opinion, I am making my seating chart for my wedding, and this is by far the hardest part of planning so far. We have a large wedding, around 260 with about 75% of that list being family. If you were a guest would you rather sit with your parents as a 30 year old, or sit in groups of people your own age who you do not know. We have a lot of cousins and family friend kids and I just can't decide if I put them with people they know like family or other younger people.
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Re: Seating Chart

  • As that almost-30-year-old who goes to weddings where she often doesn't know many (or any) people, I would much prefer to sit with my parents if the option was available. When I don't know anyone, I'm a bit awkward in social situations, though.
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  • This is just me personally - I really like meeting new people. I would prefer to sit with people my own age as long as I'm not the only one at that table that knows no one, otherwise I'd probably be left out of conversation. It would be nice if my parents' table was nearby.

    But that's just me. What is this guest like?
  • I would rather sit with people I don't know - especially if they're around my age. It makes the party a lot more fun later on when we've all had a chance to socialize before hitting the dance floor. 

    Also I'm all about the "joining of two families" so I'd mix tables up with bride guests and groom guests. Everyone there has one or both of you in common so there's always SOMETHING to talk about. :) Also, I have really enjoyed weddings where there are assigned tables, but not assigned seats.

  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    edited June 2013

    I would rather sit with people I know, but as an adult I can deal with sitting with people I don't know and making small talk for an hour.

    OP, do not stress too much over the seating chart.  Use your best judgement.  These are your family and friends so you know them best.  Also, remember these people will only be sitting for an hour or so at their table before the party really gets started and then they will be up and moving around.

    ETA:  But I will say that I would be a bit confused if you sat me with a group of people I didn't know, if say, my parents or other family members were invited and sat elsewhere.

  • I would much rather sit with other people my age.
  • I've been putting them with the parents if there's only the one adult offspring and they won't know others. If there are a few I might make a combined young persons table. I'm having trouble wording that. Here's what I mean:

    My dad's side of the family makes up a group of 12, which is too big for one table. I took my 2 cousins in their 20s and their dates and put them with my FI's 3 cousins and their dates. However my mom's friend's daughter and her husband are coming. I sat her with her mother because there was no one else she knew.

    I know there's a lot of different strategies you can take, but I tried not to seat people with strangers if there was someone they knew.
  • cofkelcofkel member
    10 Comments 5 Love Its Name Dropper First Anniversary
    I would do unassigned seating if is was an option but with 260 people I think that would be a shit show. I am assigning tables but not seats. But even the tables are hard.
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  • cofkelcofkel member
    10 Comments 5 Love Its Name Dropper First Anniversary
    We just have what feels like a lot of randoms. Like a couple that my FI and I hang out with but they have never met any of our other friends. Ugh this part sucks, and I know that my family and F's family would probably disagree with half of the tables I am making, but you can't just worry about one family in this crap.
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  • For me, parents b/c I'm very shy and have difficulty making small talk with strangers. 
    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
  • We did tables with all the cousins together. I know I appreciate that much more than sitting with my parents. But if I did not know any one else at the table then I would prefer to sit with my parents.
  • I would rather sit with my family / people I know.  And I'm not shy at all.  Perhaps its because I don't see my parents every day; I enjoy socializing with them.  I personally think this is the safer bet - I doubt anyone would be irritated to be sitting with their family.  Is it possible some of them would have had more fun with a different group?  maybe.  But they'll understand why you did. vs. the alternative where they'd rather be sitting with their family and have no idea why you'd stick them with a bunch of strangers, KWIM?

    My advice:  If your guest list is in excel, add a column to give each guest a "group"  Then go through the list and tag each person to the group they belong to:  Bride HS friends, Bride college friends, bride immediate family, bride's mom's family, etc.  The groups that have 8-10 people (or whatever size table you're doing) awesome - there's a table.  You can give them a table number and hide them from the list (so it's less overwhelming).  then start looking at your smaller groups and combine who makes sense. If you keep everyone together who logically go together and only split them if you need to (like PPs example) it will make this way easier.

    [Deleted User]
  • edited June 2013
    Is the 30 year-old truly single? (Ie, do any of these cousins and family friends have plus ones?) If they have a plus one, I'd be inclined to say it's better to put them with the other young people, but if they're coming just with their parents, and especially if they don't know anyone else at the wedding, some people might find it odd to be seated apart. Also, I feel like after dinner is over, a lot of people get up and mingle and the younger people could probably meet that way. It's a tough one and I totally understand - I'm working on our seating chart now, and it's only table assignments for 75 people....good luck!

    ETA: You're absolutely right about not doing open seating for 260 guests. People will rush to grab "good" tables, there will end up being a lot of tables with just one seat open, and families/couples can get split up.
  • This thread is interesting!  I feel so strongly that I'd rather be with people my own age.  It is helpful to see that not everyone agrees; I'll have to remember when I do my own seating chart in a couple of months. 

    I do agree with Mayberry that putting them with people that they don't know may work better if they have a SO or guest.  For the truly single, is there any way you could text them and ask what they'd prefer?  Feel free to correct me if that is some sort of etiquette breach. 
  • I'd rather sit with people my own age.  Once I was invited to a wedding of the daughter of a friend of my parents; I was seated with my parents at a table that consisted of them and their friends; I was the only single person and the only person of my age at that table and had basically nobody to talk to (my parents and their friends didn't really want to include me in their conversations).  My brother and SIL were also invited to that wedding and were seated with friends of theirs.  I ended up leaving the reception early.
  • itzMSitzMS member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers First Anniversary
    edited June 2013

    DH & I attended the wedding of one of his coworkers.

    We are the youngest couple amongst the group of coworkers invited. We got seated across the room at a random table of people "our age", while all of the other coworkers were seated together. Now I get that there wasn't enough room for twelve at a ten seat table...but at least go half-and-half or seat us the next table over.

    DH had been planning to schmooze/network with coworkers, but we got to sit at the "young people" table. Yay.

    ETA: Just wanted to emphasize that this kinda totally sucked.

  • Jen, that is strange, I would have put you at your brothers table. 
    Well, the people they were seated with weren't really my friends, I either didn't know them or barely knew them, but I agree, it would have been nicer for me to sit there than at the table I did sit at.  FWIW, my brother and SIL left early too, and the marriage ended in divorce.  It was really nasty-the husband just walked out on his wife and their seriously handicapped small child with no notice other than a note.
  • In the specific situation you describe, I'd rather sit with my family, but I could deal fine with being seated somewhere else, if I truly knew no one else.  Otherwise seat me with friends. 
  • auriannaaurianna member
    Ninth Anniversary 1000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited June 2013
    This depends. If I am truly single and was not invited with a guest, I'd most likely want to sit with my parents. (I'd hate to be completely alone with strangers).
    If I had an SO with me or was invited with a friend, I might be more prone to wanting to sit with people my own age.

    Is this an isolated incident? And if so... could you just ask this guest where he/she would prefer to sit?
  • auriannaaurianna member
    Ninth Anniversary 1000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited June 2013
    double post. BAH!
  • phiraphira member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary 5 Answers
    In general, it's good to make sure that people are sitting with people they know. It doesn't mean that EVERYONE at the table has to know everyone else. For example, at my cousin's wedding, I was seated at a table with my siblings and cousins, and the bride's cousins from the other side of her family. So we got to meet some new people, but we were still with people we knew.

    At my brother's wedding, I was not a bridesmaid, but was still a part of the wedding party, and I sat with the bridesmaids and the other female non-bridesmaid (as well as our dates). The only people I knew at the table, besides my date, was my sister and her boyfriend. It was fine.

    I am not a fan of having my seat assigned, but unless the wedding is TINY, I think tables should be assigned. Otherwise, you might have people dragging chairs over from other tables, or sitting with people they don't know because the table with people they know is full. Unless your wedding is small and everyone knows each other, assign tables.
    now with ~* INCREASED SASSINESS *~
  • kipnuskipnus member
    Knottie Warrior 1000 Comments 25 Love Its Name Dropper
    As an introvert, I would much rather sit with my parents than with people I don't know. Also, I freaking love my mom. :)
    [Deleted User]
  • My parents, and if it's a family wedding my family members in general.

  • hordolhordol member
    100 Love Its 100 Comments First Answer First Anniversary
    I would MUCH MUCH MUCH rather be sat with my parents than strangers, especially if I was alone. If I had an SO it wouldn't be that big of a deal, but I would probably still prefer parents.

    This about this person: is he/she shy? Think about the people you are thinking about sitting them with: Do they all know each other and will this person be the odd person out? Are those people the type to make conversation with strangers or will they just ignore them for the people they know?

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  • jcrmcjcrmc member
    100 Comments Name Dropper 5 Love Its First Anniversary
    I personally am making a point of sitting my adult cousins NOT with their parents, simply because of family dynamics I wont go into. At a friends wedding a few years ago, I was seated with my mom and her FI and I was happy to, as I am a good 10yrs older than the couple and their friends, and didnt know anyone but the couples families.
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  • Id much rather sit at a table with people i dont know rather than my parents. If you knew them you would agree too lol. I had this arguement with my mom she wants to sit all the family in groups parents with their kids. Id rather sit all the cousins in same age group together and the parents together. But reallyit only for dinner most people start table hopping after dinners over.
  • I had to deal with something similar, though on a much smaller scale, when I did my seating chart. 

    If I sat my adult cousins (in their 30s and 40s) with their parents, I would have ended up having an extra table altogether. I decided to split them up and put my aunts and uncles with FI's aunts and uncles and sat my cousins with guests around their age who are friends of FI. Since the cousins are on the same side of the family and therefore know each other, I don't think this will be a problem in the least. Had it just been one cousin (with his wife), I would not have done this but would have instead either kept the extra table or found a different division I could make elsewhere. 

    I made 100% sure that everyone is at a table where they know at least one other person - "person" here not meaning their SO but someone on a separate invitation (the exceptions being those very few people who only know FI and myself).
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