Seating for wedding reception question

lifesavacation

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 24, 2016
My son will be getting married next month. They are having 350 people at their ceremony and reception. Our side has around 10% of the guests. I've been asked if we want to do a seating arrangement for just our side or let it be open seating. I'm not sure that I am seeing all the pros and cons. Since we have 37 people, it might be nice for us all to gather at 4 tables (3 tables of 10, 1 table of 8) rather than try to fight for spots among the other 315 guests. What's annoying is that our guest list got cut by the bride and her family so I'm constantly feeling that I need to fight for representation in this wedding. That might be part of why I'm leaning towards reserving tables. WWYD?
 

Wendy31

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 5, 2005
I think it depends. Will your 37 guests know any of the other guests & feel comfortable mixing in w/ everyone?

If not, then, yes, I agree with you & probably wouldn’t want my 37 guests having to fit into random spots scattered about the reception. Additionally, weddings are nice times for family members to socialize w/ each other as well.

Instead of a specific seating arrangement for each of your 37 guests, could you just maybe ask that ”Reserved - Lifesavacation Family” signs are placed on 4 tables & request that those 4 tables are in close proximity to each other?

That said, if the bride’s family is deciding where those 4 tables will be located, I’d also want to be sure that my family’s 4 tables weren’t stuck off to the side in a corner like next to the kitchen or some place similar.
 

lifesavacation

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 24, 2016
I think it depends. Will your 37 guests know any of the other guests & feel comfortable mixing in w/ everyone?

If not, then, yes, I agree with you & probably wouldn’t want my 37 guests having to fit into random spots scattered about the reception.

Instead of a specific seating arrangement for each of your 37 guests, could you just maybe ask that ”Reserved - Lifesavacation Family” signs are placed on 4 tables & request that those 4 tables are in close proximity to each other?

That said, if the bride’s family is deciding where those 4 tables will be located, I’d also want to be sure that my family’s 4 tables weren’t stuck off to the side in a corner like next to the kitchen or some place similar.

Oh, I'm sure we'll be in the back. No doubt about that. Hopefully, they'll cluster our tables together if we go with this option.
 

kymom99

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 24, 2008
That’s not cool at all. I’m sorry your family is being slighted during what should be a special time. With that in mind, I would do what the PP suggested and just ask for tables reserved for your family and friends. I would also ask your son to speak up and give you some input into where those tables are located. I don’t care who is paying, there wouldn’t be a wedding without your son, and he should definitely be treated with consideration.
 

Kestryl

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 29, 2019
Try to “reserve” tables. As a guest, I get very stressed when I don’t have an assigned place to sit. Then it feels like a school cafeteria. And it’s especially a problem when the guests equal the number of seats- if you have 350 guests and 350 seats, but this table has one seat left, this table has two seats left, this table has one… it could turn into a situation where families/couples get split up.
 

lifesavacation

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 24, 2016
At this point, my husband says it's not worth the battle. Our family would be more comfortable if there are reserved tables clustered around each other. I'm sure that will be seen as not wanting to mingle or being high maintenance.

We're going to do our best to show up and have a great time, but really just want this wedding over with.

OMG, 350 people? What is that costing like $50k?

The father-of-the-bride is working another 2 years past retirement to pay for the wedding. Everything must be perfect for the bride and her mother. They threw a huge tantrum when we said we'd only give 5k towards the rehearsal dinner. They wanted all 350 people invited.
 

AppleDumpling

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 8, 2015
Weddings around here almost always have assigned seats. If they don’t, I’d definitely have a group of tables reserved for guests from your side. Agree with pp, it’s very uncool and disrespectful to treat the groom’s family, including his own parents, this way. Your son, and ideally your future daughter-in-law, need to speak up on your behalf. Parents of the groom should be honored guests, not relegated to the worst seats in the house.

Seems to me like a really bad situation, starting off a marriage with in-law conflicts from the get-go. I hope you can resolve these issues and enjoy the wedding.
 
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Mackenzie Click-Mickelson

Chugging along the path of life
Joined
Oct 23, 2015
It's really whatever the wedding couple want to have.

OP you could ask if they plan on having reserved tables for those immediate family members of both sides. That's what we did for ours. No assigned seating but we did have assigned tables only for immediate family members like my mom, my husband's mom, step-dad, dad, etc.

I do feel like it might stick out like a sore thumb to just have tables for only your family (regardless of the ratio of guests from your side) but that's just me.
 

Mackenzie Click-Mickelson

Chugging along the path of life
Joined
Oct 23, 2015
Your son, and ideally your future daughter-in-law, need to speak up on your behalf. Seems to me like a really bad situation, starting off a marriage with in-law conflicts from the get-go.
I def agree on the conflict from the getgo but practically speaking why does the situation have to be perceived as this. What if the son (regardless of what has been discussed with his mom the OP) is totally fine with how things are. What if the son is fine with how the wedding planning is going? To me it would seem like an overreach of the OP to basically insert herself into the wedding planning unless specifically directed to, same as I would view it if it was the bride's parents. The OP said they've felt like they've had to constantly fight for representation but they shouldn't be the ones fighting, and if the son is fine with how the planning is going that's that. The OP could talk to their son to give their feelings like "hey I'm a bit hurt we don't feel like we're really guests at the wedding" or something like that but the conflict from the getgo could equally be the OP constantly speaking up.

In a perfect world everyone would get along, everyone would get equal treatment, in my perfect world the couple works together to plan their wedding thinking of their guests but really keeping in mind it's their wedding, but it's not really a perfect world. I just think viewing the situation as if it's the other family that is causing conflict is in itself causing conflict, if you have to ask "is this the battle I want to fight" you've already engaged in conflict from the getgo.
 

Wendy31

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 5, 2005
I def agree on the conflict from the getgo but practically speaking why does the situation have to be perceived as this. What if the son (regardless of what has been discussed with his mom the OP) is totally fine with how things are. What if the son is fine with how the wedding planning is going? To me it would seem like an overreach of the OP to basically insert herself into the wedding planning unless specifically directed to, same as I would view it if it was the bride's parents. The OP said they've felt like they've had to constantly fight for representation but they shouldn't be the ones fighting, and if the son is fine with how the planning is going that's that. The OP could talk to their son to give their feelings like "hey I'm a bit hurt we don't feel like we're really guests at the wedding" or something like that but the conflict from the getgo could equally be the OP constantly speaking up.

In a perfect world everyone would get along, everyone would get equal treatment, in my perfect world the couple works together to plan their wedding thinking of their guests but really keeping in mind it's their wedding, but it's not really a perfect world. I just think viewing the situation as if it's the other family that is causing conflict is in itself causing conflict, if you have to ask "is this the battle I want to fight" you've already engaged in conflict from the getgo.

Well, since the groom’s family has already had to cut down their side of the guest list to just 37 guests out of 350 total, I would say that the bride’s family has already caused the conflict.

The groom’s family has been slighted, &, if I were the groom’s mother, I can absolutely understand feeling hurt & like we were being pushed aside during a very special event of our son’s life.

I can also understand the son (the groom) not feeling like he had much of a say in things or necessarily how to express his personal feelings.

It’s a hard situation to navigate - especially when what one side is doing is not right.
 
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lifesavacation

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 24, 2016
Weddings around here almost always have assigned seats. If they don’t, I’d definitely have a group of tables reserved for guests from your side. Agree with pp, it’s very uncool and disrespectful to treat the groom’s family, including his own parents, this way. Your son, and ideally your future daughter-in-law, need to speak up on your behalf. Seems to me like a really bad situation, starting off a marriage with in-law conflicts from the get-go. I hope you can resolve these issues and enjoy the wedding.

I appreciate that. The issues won't be resolved, but we will still enjoy the wedding.

I def agree on the conflict from the getgo but practically speaking why does the situation have to be perceived as this. What if the son (regardless of what has been discussed with his mom the OP) is totally fine with how things are. What if the son is fine with how the wedding planning is going? To me it would seem like an overreach of the OP to basically insert herself into the wedding planning unless specifically directed to, same as I would view it if it was the bride's parents. The OP said they've felt like they've had to constantly fight for representation but they shouldn't be the ones fighting, and if the son is fine with how the planning is going that's that. The OP could talk to their son to give their feelings like "hey I'm a bit hurt we don't feel like we're really guests at the wedding" or something like that but the conflict from the getgo could equally be the OP constantly speaking up.

In a perfect world everyone would get along, everyone would get equal treatment, in my perfect world the couple works together to plan their wedding thinking of their guests but really keeping in mind it's their wedding, but it's not really a perfect world. I just think viewing the situation as if it's the other family that is causing conflict is in itself causing conflict, if you have to ask "is this the battle I want to fight" you've already engaged in conflict from the getgo.

I think like a lot of family relationships, it's complicated. My son is not OK with all of this but he just wants to get through the wedding and move on. Here's an example, the fiancé wants to have a dance off with me and my son vs her and her dad. She's a professional dancer and has a lot of professional dancer friends that are going to the wedding. My son absolutely does not want to do this any more than I do, but he's not going to say no to her. I would be doing him a favor by refusing (because he doesn't want the drama with the mother) but I don't want to cause issues. Did I mention we are expected to take dance lessons for this performance? Ugh!
 

Mackenzie Click-Mickelson

Chugging along the path of life
Joined
Oct 23, 2015
I would say that the bride’s family has already caused the conflict.
I don't disagree whatsoever but I never came to the bride's family defense. In fact I said I would feel the same way about overreaching if it was the bride's family.

But that's not what the PP comment I was commenting was about. 2 wrongs..don't make a right. You can't say on the one hand it's not a good idea to start a marriage off in conflict (to which I agree about) and then on the other hand advocate for creating even more conflict than already is. Ideal? Of course not, but is the point to be right or to start off the marriage without conflict?
 

Genie+

Mouseketeer
Joined
May 12, 2022
OMG, 350 people? What is that costing like $50k?
Probably $75k minimum. If father in law is working 2 more years to help fund it then I’d guess double that.

My niece is getting married later this year and their more subdued wedding is about $200 a head for around 110 people. Her step brother getting married next year and the bride’s family wants the princess ball and it’s insane. The estimates are coming in well over $150,000. Luckily the bride’s family is trying to ‘trim’ so we were asked if we’d be insulted not invited. Lol, yes that’s fine.
 

Mackenzie Click-Mickelson

Chugging along the path of life
Joined
Oct 23, 2015
My son is not OK with all of this but he just wants to get through the wedding and move on
Then that's your answer truthfully.

From what you're explaining with the dance off and the sheer amount of guests and the tantrum, etc the bride comes from a family who likes to show off. Admirably? Yeah no not in the least and I'm sure it's eye-rolling annoying and borderline hurtful at times too depending on what they show off about.

Your son is fine with it insomuch that he doesn't want to create more drama than there already is and ultimately he's the one getting married and will also have his own stuff with the bride's family. You have my utmost sympathies on this dance off though, I would not be in any way wanting to join in on especially knowing it's just a chance for the bride to show off.

I'm not saying roll over and just let the future always be something of a fight for attention but when it comes to this as it's been explained I'd let it be :flower3:
 

lifesavacation

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 24, 2016
I don't disagree whatsoever but I never came to the bride's family defense. In fact I said I would feel the same way about overreaching if it was the bride's family.

But that's not what the PP comment I was commenting was about. 2 wrongs..don't make a right. You can't say on the one hand it's not a good idea to start a marriage off in conflict (to which I agree about) and then on the other hand advocate for creating even more conflict than already is. Ideal? Of course not, but is the point to be right or to start off the marriage without conflict?

I think it comes down to my son feeling like he doesn't have a say because he is not paying for the wedding. So it's all being done by the bride and her mother. At one point early on, my husband told my son and his fiancé that it didn't matter what either of the parents want. That the wedding needs to be about the two of them only. The fiancé told her mother this and she got very very offended. I'm not sure what's so controversial about that but she is adamant that if she pays, she decides. This is her wedding as much as her daughter's. And to be truly honest with everyone, I see the mother's point. If my son cares about the wedding, he should pay for it himself. I'm not one that would ever give money with those expectations.

And with that, we will show up and enjoy ourselves even if we are stuck in the very back ;) I will take the dumb dance lessons and participate in a dance off even though it should be 2 minutes of the wedding that is about my son and me.
 










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