Let's not sugarcoat it. Arranging your seating chart and guests is quite possibly the most difficult challenge you'll encounter during the wedding-planning process.
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Going into it prepared and ready for some hard work will make the experience smoother. Consider the following before you begin:
1. Have All RSVPs at Hand
Make sure you have a majority of the "yes" cards in place beforehand, and have the names entered into an Excel or Google Drive spreadsheet. Splitting the list up by the bride and groom's side will be even more helpful.
2. Keeps Cooks Out of the Kitchen
Pick one to two assistants at most to lend a hand. If there are too many people involved, the process could get very tense, confusing and seemingly impossible.
3. Take a First Stab
Don't doubt your knowledge! You and your fiancé have the necessary background to come up with a potential arrangement of guests. By taking this task on at the beginning, you can present your vision to parents/family and then edit from that point.
Having a stack of notecards will allow you to visually layout the tables in your hall. This can also allow for easy changes and movement of tables.
5. Family Dynamics
The political nature of families will come out in the process. If you can take this into account during your first draft, it will give you one less thing to think about.
6. Allow Ample Time
Don't leave this task as a last-minute item. If possible, give yourself a month's time so that the process is less complicated.
Reminder to breathe, and make sure to communicate your thoughts and ideas collectively. If tensions are high and you have ample time, take a breather and tackle it again the next day.
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Utilize these tips and plan ahead to make sure the process is easy and smooth. At the same time, keep in mind that your guests are to celebrate you and the goal is for everyone to be on the dance floor all night!