Friday, 27 September 2013

Wedding Planner: The Seating Chart

Pink Peony Seating Chart, Custom design by VanillaRetro

  One of THE most stressful parts of planning a wedding is undoubtedly the Seating Chart.
Though we all love our families, and we do want them to be a part of our day, we all have a crazy Aunt / Uncle / Sibling / Parent or [insert relative here] who we just dread putting with anyone for fear of them embarrassing or arguing, or god forbid fighting, with one of your fellow guests.
This is literally what Wedding nightmares are made of. Add into the mix some family disputes and the unfortunate Bride and Groom whose families simply do no like each other and the idea of eloping can suddenly be very appealing.

  So, to help alleviate stress and hopefully make your seating chart a more pleasant experience along with some beautiful inspirational pieces from some fellow Etsy shops, here are my Top 5 Tips...
Etsy Real Wedding - Ezra & Brooke
Do not, under any circumstance, mention to anyone other than your betrothed, who you plan on sitting next to whom. Do not tell anyone who it is that you are finding particularly difficult to seat and do not EVER vocalize this on social networking sites. This will come back to haunt you and they will find out.

Burlap & Lace Table Runner by HotCocoaDesign

One thing which helped us decide who got a say in anything regarding our day, was who was contributing most. A random aunt or uncle is unlikely to be helping you foot the bill, so really their opinion on where they should rank on the seating plan or who should or shouldn't be there should not influence you too much. A Parent who is paying the lion's share and would like their dear elderly neighbour to come and be seated next to the toilets in case of accidents - yes, you can make allowances for this. A friend who has in the last week fallen out with another and is refusing to attend - ignore. If they are a good friend, they will put their differences aside to be a part of your day and should not be making such demands of you.
Painted Mason Jar Centrepieces by TheRocheShop
Weddings bring people together, and the weddings I have enjoyed the most as a guest are the ones where I've met new people. It is good to add a mixture of gender, age and heritage to each table. A table filled with the Groom's male comrades will likely descend into drunked chaos by the time of the first dance. A table full of elderly relatives will most likely resemble dinner at an old folks home and they may feel left out of the joviality of the occasion. And dividing the room according to blood will cause an unnecessary hostile atmosphere.
The way we worked our plan was by establishing groups of four. Two couples who knew each other well could sit with another set of four who were equally well acquainted. An aunt and uncle and two grandparents from one family could sit alongside an aunt, uncle and a couple of cousins from the other family.
Children's Activity Colouring Book by CardKnoxLife

For those getting married who already have young children, and those who's friends and family have lots of young children, the question of whether to invite children to a wedding is often pondered. Of course, many choose to include close family within the wedding party as flower girls or page boys.
My personal opinion is that children bring a wedding to life. They are the first to descend upon the dancefloor when the music starts, and their laughter and squeals encourage everyone to join in the festive spirit. But be warned - with children comes chaos. At our wedding, children were welcomed as we thought this would make it more fun for our own daughter and it relieved the stress of finding babysitters for our family guests. And they did a wonderful job of squealing and running amok throughout the speeches and first dance; our routine which took weeks to master, was overshadowed by knee slides and two year olds twirling and falling over and the though on the day we were all able to hear the speeches, sadly the video recording was not so lucky.
So, for those still unsure and have the funds available within their budget, perhaps a wedding crèche could be the answer you're looking for. If you are considering including children in your plan, it is also advised that you give them a little something to keep them amused during the meal and speeches.
Place Settings by KarasVineyardWedding
By far the best way to finalise your seating chart is to map it out in front of you. With our placecards in hand, we arranged our table numbers and began the long process of moving, and tweaking, and substituting friends and family until finally, 1 1/2 bottles of wine and an air of tension later, we could consider the chart finished.

See, easy right? Ah, even with the best advice in the world, this will always be issues and arguments when it comes to the particular part of the planning process. So I will leave you with a single piece of advice:

It is your day so do what makes you happy.

Good luck! :)