The wedding reception seating chart is an oft-dreaded task that makes brides and grooms cringe. Even with the most fool-proof approaches, high-tech programs, and tried-and-true advice, there's still an emotional aspect to the process that adds an extra dose of stress, no matter how prepared you are. But thankfully, some questions are easier to answer than others! If you're one of a slew of cousins in the same age group or are super close to your second cousin who's barely in her 30s, do you have to seat them with the rest of your relatives, or can you mix them in with your BFFs and college roomies? Here's what our experts have to say.
The great thing about seating charts (trust us, they're not all bad!) is that, beyond the basic rules about where to seat your immediate families, you're free to mix things up as much as you want. If your cousin is shy and would be more comfortable sitting with her parents, but you know she'll love your fiancé's sister, seat her with family and make a point to introduce the two of them during cocktail hour. On the other hand, if you've got relatives who are the life of the party (or who have even met some of your friends before), there's no rule saying they can't all sit together. Mix the tables up based on personalities and common interests, regardless of how you're related. Just make them promise you'll hear all the hilarious stories during your morning-after brunch!
If you're having a more formal event, or think older relatives might be confused by the splitting up of families, consider keeping your family members together but placing a table full of cousins and younger relatives next to the table where your college pals are seated. Even if they're not all sitting together, there's no way the laughter and fun won't spread between tables — be prepared for a little seat-swapping!