How to Make a Wedding Seating Chart When There's Family Drama

Updated 04/24/18

Photo by Un Cercle

Your wedding might be one of the only times in your life when all of a sudden, every single person in the world that you love and care about ends up in the very same room. This means that you will have the opportunity to mingle with all of your favorite people on the same day at the same place for a celebration that will forever stick in your memory.

But the fact that everyone in your life will be in the same room might cause some prospective brides to be flooded by feelings of fear and anxiety if there’s a little bit (or a lot) of drama within your family. When you have a couple of people who don’t speak to each other or tend to speak too much to each other when they get together, you’ll be tasked with having to figure out how to create a seating chart for your wedding reception that will help keep the peace between all of your attending guests.

Before you dive into the headache of making sure nobody is sitting at a table with someone they have strong feelings against, check out these four tips that will make handing the family drama not a problem at your wedding.

1. Be Strategic

Even before your RSVP cards start trickling in, start thinking about the different complicated family dynamics that you have and how many groups of people you’ll have to separate. Talking this out ahead of time can help you decide what sort of layout you’ll want to go with for the reception. That might mean instead of doing traditional round tables of eight or 10, you opt for a more modern approach of either smaller tables, longer tables, or just tables that are scattered throughout the room so that the people who have a beef with one another don’t have to make eye contact.

2. Keep Them Spread Out

Once you’ve identified the people you need to keep separate, it’s time to place them at tables. It’s okay to mix and match, putting guests of yours at the same table as guests of your fiancé. You don’t have to keep your friends and family at tables on one side of the room—go ahead and spread people out. While it might be awkward at first for some guests to be at a table of people they don’t know, weddings make it easy for people to chat, get to know each other, and have fun together throughout the night. Plus, it will keep those who you fear will stir up drama far away from each other.

3. Use a Visual Tool

Pen and paper might not help you get the job done, especially if your family drama is intense and involves a handful of people. You may want to use an online wedding seating tool such as Planning Pod that can help you visualize who is sitting where and move people around with the click of a button. That way, you can make changes and edits as people RSVP and as you start to get anxious thinking about what cousin Joe might say to Aunt Chrissy after all these years of silence.

4. Ask for Help

Don’t feel like you have to do this alone. If you have a family member that you’re close to who has a lot of patience, ask for their help. They may have ideas as to who can sit where and who will be mature enough to put a smile on their face and make the night pleasant without you having to move them to a table across the room. You can even ask a trusted family member to put feelers out by asking people how they feel about sitting at the same table, or on the same side of the room, as someone who isn't their favorite. You might be surprised—sometimes the hard feelings have cleared and apologies have already been exchanged, making your seating arrangement process a whole lot easier to handle.

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