Bridal Guide

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Master wedding reception seating charts

After the vows have been exchanged and couples have donned their wedding rings, newly married couples and their guests often enjoy some well-deserved fun at the wedding reception.

Though wedding receptions are all about fun, couples may find it difficult to plan the reception seating arrangements. Such a task requires a good deal of time, sorting through guest responses and an intimate knowledge of which personalities will mesh and which will not. But some patience, diplomacy and even a little help can make the process of planning seating arrangements much easier.

• Group related people together. This relation does not have to be familial. For example, seat work friends together rather than scattering them at various tables. It's easier for wedding guests to mingle when they have some common connection.

• Younger guests are more flexible. Recognize that younger guests are less likely to complain about where they are seated than older guests, so you have more wiggle room when arranging their tables. They can be placed at tables closer to the dance floor, near the entertainment or by the kitchen door, while older guests might want to be closer to the bride and groom and further away from distractions.

• Seat immediate family members nearby. Seat immediate family members closest to the bride and groom. Guests who fall under the acquaintance category as opposed to the family category can be seated further away.

• Place friends or party animals near the entertainment. Guests who are up for a good party may appreciate being seated close to the dance floor or within arm's length of the refreshments.

• Address mobility concerns. If a guest is elderly or needs to be close to exits or the restroom, make those accommodations.

• Embrace the kids' table. Seat young guests together if there are a number of them. Kids will have more fun sitting with one another than with adults or their parents. And seating kids together makes it easier for servers if children will be ordering from a special menu.

• Expect the unexpected. Some seating arrangements may not work out. Be sure the reception site is flexible and can easily put another place setting together if an unexpected guest arrives or if someone needs to be moved to another table.

Couples must map out seating arrangements when planning their wedding receptions. Learn to master the techniques and etiquette to make the process easier.