The joys of creating a seating chart should not be over looked when you make this decision. I mean, who doesn’t want to spend hours making mental notes from your soon to be Mother in law about how Uncle Charlie can’t sit near Aunt Barbie because they used to be married before Aunt Barbie buried herself in the bottom of the bottle, but we’re still inviting her even though she’s not family because she’s much more fun than that Uncle Charlie anyway! Or your own mom rattling away about how she needs to have a special seat for Mr. WhatsHisFace from her yoga class because they’ve developed a really spiritual connection, but not too close to her table to that anyone thinks there’s funny business going on.
Whoops, look at me, I’ve colored the lense already, you think I hate seating charts. I don’t. Honestly. What I may be inclined to dislike with a ferocity that walks closely with that of cutting a habanero then rubbing my eye ball, is that EVERYONE WANTS A SAY. To this I say, in my most 1990, acid washed jeans, self righteousness, Talk To The Hand.
Whether you decide to do a seating chart, or not do one, everyone will have an opinion, or want a say in the goings on. And this, my beautiful bride to be, is where you learn, yet another lesson, in how to put your stiletto down, with out putting it through someones foot. And how, oh how, do you do that?
Conviction. You have to weigh the pros and cons of this, and a bucket load of other, decisions, and learn to say why you’ve chosen your path, what you need from others to walk merrily down it, then preemptively, TIA them for all the love they show you by being the ‘one person who gets it!’ and is making your life easier. WARNING: Don’t use that line too many times, lest you use it on both Tammy and Tammy’s best friend, who is your best friend too, but in that weird tripod way, where they might compare notes and you’ll look like you say that to all the gals.
Oh, yes, the topic at hand, now that we’ve covered how to own it, was To Seating Chart or Not. This means do you want a Cocktail Reception, which sometimes lends itself nicely to a non-plated dinner, consisting of heavy passed apps, or some stations that are set up for a duration of time so people can eat when they want. Or are you more the ‘take your seat, eat, then let’s get this party started’ type? Here are some questions to figure out where you may fall:
First day, new school, walking into the cafeteria…You feel:
A- Amazing, this is your time to decide who you should enjoy for the moment, and if they become dull, you’re not tied to that seat because there is NO assigned seat.
B- Near vomiting because the cool kids are kinda looking away, what if someone Forrest Gumps you with a ‘Seat Taken’ you’d just have to shrivel up and go eat on the toilet at the far end of school.
Ok I said questions, plural, but really, you’ll feel one of those A’s or B’s pretty strongly so let’s not muddy the water. A seating chart, plated dinner is something everyone understand, it allows for a count of how much food you need more precisely (especially if you have your guests RSVP with their dinner selection), and people get that they have a ‘home’ to call their own for the night. A cocktail reception lends itself to a mingling atmosphere, nibbles and noshes of more personalized food due to the smaller scale of each item, and the idea that the night is theirs to enjoy how they will. If you’re worried your guests will feel unmoored with out that ‘home base’ place to rest their camera, purse, and 14 favors they’ve ferreted off someone else’s table already, you can give them name cards, and they can claim a spot if they so choose. That’s sorta a nice Switzerland approach – part mingle, part ‘relax Aunt Sue, you won’t have to worry about one of my drunk friends using your camera for inappropriateness if they happen to confuse your seat with that of one of my other drunk friends, everyone will see your name card’.
Regardless of what you choose, pick the one that fits the vibe you and your future fancy new husband want to create. Whether that’s one that has less structure, and may force some people out of their usual comfort zone, or one that goes by the book so that there’s no mistaking when it is time to get up and cut a rug, I’ll tell you a secret…It was the right choice. It’s yours, and it’s Mr. Soon to be Yours Forevers, and it is your day.
Written by: Amy Jones