Organizing the seating at a wedding reception is not always an easy task, especially with so many blended families. Then when you add in the mix of having someone bring a boyfriend or girlfriend that someone else does not like, or Aunt Minnies new husband, and so on, you can be faced with a difficult challenge. Rather than stress over the seating arrangement, you can plan and with a little diplomacy, come up with the perfect solution.
One solution is to go with a formal seating plan. In this scenario, you first tal to your caterer and then work to create set places. This way, there is more control on your end in that each person has a specific place to sit, which allows you to keep people not getting along away from one another. You would be able to create seating cards and when the guests enter the reception hall, members of the bridal party or other friends can take them to their respective seats.
Now comes the fun part of determining who will sit where. For the bridal table, there would be the bride and groom seated in the center at a long table or at a round table, leaving two empty seats between them. If at a long table, the groom would sit to the right of the bride and the Best Man on her left. Then, the Maid of Honor sits on the right side of the groom with the other attendants on either side of the bride and groom. Then if there were room on the outside of those individuals, the spouses of the bridal party would join the bridal party.
Your next setup will be for the family table. This is where the parents of both bride and groom will sit, best if placed opposite from each other. Other people at the table would include grandparents, great-grandparents, the minister, and if there is room, several close friends. If you have parents that are divorced, then you could seat each parent at their own table so they can host a special table. This will ensure that any awkward situations are cut off before they start.
For the remaining guests of your reception, try to put several of your longtime friends with newer friends or guests that are not real close. This way, the conversations will be lively and everyone comfortable. This also helps in that you do not end up with all strangers at the same table with nothing to discuss. Although it might be a little difficult, try to seat people that have some of the same interests.
Two other situations that arise have to do with singles versus couples and children. If you have single people that you think might enjoy meeting, then you could seat them at the same table and who knows one day you might be attending their wedding. For couples, generally try to keep the age groups close, which will make everyone feel more comfortable and it will also help keep the conversations going. For children, set up a special area just for them, again trying to seat kids of the same age together. They will love it and by placing a sundae bar or cookie bar nearby with some games, they will also have a great time at the reception.