There are plenty of areas that require input from MOM when planning a wedding reception. Who to seat where and with whom at the reception can be a difficult PR challenge. But a diplomatic and tuned in mother of the bride can be a huge help.
When working with the caterer or venue manager, they will need to know not only how many guests will be in attendance, but they will need to know how the bride would like the room set up. Will there be a head table for the bridal party? Will it include the parents? Will there be separate head tables for the bride's family and one for the groom's family? Will you number the tables or name them? Who will sit where? Is it a big deal for some guests and not an issue for others?
The best advice? Agree on room set up with the caterer and then reconstruct that layout on paper and practice placing guests on various configurations. You may have agreed upon long rectangular tables but think that 8 or 10 person rounds will work better. Work closely with the room manager to insure the maximum best use of the facility.
Find out from the groom's parents about any special seating needs or issues as you help your daughter prepare the seating charts. And keep these basics in mind as the chart is worked.
1. Don't seat divorced or divorcing couples together.
2. Don't seat a divorced person with a table of happy couples.
3. Don't seat guests who haven't spoken to one another for decades at the same table.
4. Don't seat heavy drinkers right next to the bar.
5. Don't seat elderly relatives in hard to reach seats.
6. If you have guests who love to dance, seat them close to the dance floor.
7. If you have relatives that don't get along, avoid placing them at the same table.
8. Unless you have planned a special children only reception to coincide with the adult reception, always seat children with their parents and not at a kid's only table.
9. Be alert to potential problems if you have numbered tables for honored guests. Some people are highly sensitive to slights - like being assigned a seat at a lower numbered table. Avoid this by naming tables like - Love, Peace, Joy, Heaven etc.
10. Be flexible enough to do some last minute juggling of places if you see a problem developing.