You thought seating at the ceremony was tricky? The reception has a whole other set of rules:

Here are some simple guidelines to follow, but a good part of the process simply entails a bit of maneuvering so that all the pieces of the puzzle fall into place.

Head Table: Traditionally, the bride, groom, and wedding party sit on one side of a long rectangular table facing out toward the guests. (If you want to facilitate conversation, you can seat people on both sides of the table, though this is not a typical set up.) The general seating order is as follows: you and your groom sit in the center, with the groom to your left; your maid of honor sits to your grooms left, the best man to your right; the remaining members of the wedding party then fill out the table, alternating between male and female. The significant others of wedding party members can be placed at their own table nearby or scattered among other guest tables, seated with people they know. If you don’t want to separate attendants from their dates, you may invite the best man, the maid of honor, and their significant others to join you at your table and have the other wedding party members sit at “attendant” tables with their dates. Last but not least, some couples choose to sit with their immediate family members.

Sweetheart Table: In this arrangement, the bride and groom sit at a romantic table for two – often in ornate chairs or elaborately decorated ones. The table is situated where all can see the happy couple, and the chairs are placed on one side of the table facing out toward the rest of the room.

Parents’ Table: Typically, the bride’s mother and father sit across from each other at a round table; the groom’s father sits to the right of the bride’s mother, and the wedding officiant sits to her left. The groom’s mother should be seated to the left of the officiant (and to the right of the bride’s father); the officiant’s spouse or another special female guest is seated to the right of the groom’s father to the left of the bride’s father. Confused yet? Grandparents can also sit at this table, if space permits. If divorced parents are involved, use your best judgement when deciding where to seat everyone; try to make sure that all involved feel comfortable and no one feels slighted.

Friends and Family: As you plan the rest of the seating arrangements, try to create tables that include a mix of people who you think will enjoy each other’s company; put old friends together and family members together, but don’t hesitate to add some new people to the group. Keep couples intact, and while it might be nice to put some single guests together at one table, you don’t want to separate all couples from single people.

-Children’s Tables: Any children under the age of ten should sit with their parents. If you’ve got enough older children to seat at one table, put them as close to their parent’s as possible so they have adequate supervision.

Positioning: Be mindful of table placement in the room. You don’t want to seat older guests close to the speakers, nor do you want some of your friends stuck in a corner while others are at the table next to you.

(A clever and efficient way to arrange your tables)

I hope this post helps! I know, I had a lot of trouble trying to figure out who sat at my head table, in which order, etc.

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