Mixed seating at weddings WHY??

(254 Posts)
PicassosSausage Fri 22-Mar-13 14:57:48

Was recently at a wedding where DH and I were split up, at the same table, but with various random cousins and friends of the bride and groom between us. Am I being a miserable old wench for not liking this at all? The people between us were complete strangers and, although we are both pretty outgoing, I really loathe the whole forced small talk thing. I'm sure bride and groom were hoping we'd all mix and get along - which of course we did - but I don't go to weddings to make new friends, sorry I don't I go for the free booze

Our friendship group was scattered across the room and husbands and wives similarly split up on tables

I know it's their wedding day but AIBU to think this is just annoying and a bit...I dunno...stupid

PiHigh Fri 22-Mar-13 15:03:55


At our wedding we sat couples next to each other, mixed my family with Dh's family (i.e. 2 couples from each per table iyswim) and had uni/school friends on their own tables.

Katiepoes Fri 22-Mar-13 15:04:31

I agree. At ours we had assigned tables (needed at Irish weddings) but not assigned seats. Even then we made sure that everyone knew someone.

WorraLiberty Fri 22-Mar-13 15:05:14


I probably would have quietly swapped seats with someone.

AuntieStella Fri 22-Mar-13 15:06:04

A wedding reception is a smarter and larger version of how you would entertain people anyhow. It's pretty normal to separate married couples at table (unless in the first year of marriage).

amothersplaceisinthewrong Fri 22-Mar-13 15:07:08

I think mixing people up at weddings is ridiculous. Sit people with their friends/those they know so they can all relax and have a good time.

Tailtwister Fri 22-Mar-13 15:09:02

Traditionally it's normal to separate couples at a wedding reception. I do agree it's quite tiresome and hard work though. I always get seated next to the resident PITA at these things, probably because people know I can be trusted just to bite my tongue and get on with it.

BandersnatchCummerbund Fri 22-Mar-13 15:10:12

I think you need a bit of both. Sit people with some people they know, and some you think/hope they'll get on with. Otherwise you get the people who've come alone or who only know their other half either sitting on a table with a bunch of 8 strangers who've all known each other for 20 years, or very clearly on the "odd ones out" table.

PicassosSausage Fri 22-Mar-13 15:10:35

AuntieStella I've never heard that before about first year of marriage, alas we were not! I would have been happy to be split up with DH, in fact would have preferred it, if it had been on a table with our friends

I don't mind being split up and next to a stranger say at a dinner party, but that's a more intimate environment, not a noisy wedding

ecuse Fri 22-Mar-13 15:10:38

"It's pretty normal to separate married couples at table (unless in the first year of marriage)"


I must have missed the rule book entry on this grin

I just let people sit where they want at home. And at weddings I like sitting in groups of people I already know. Often half the fun of weddings is catching up with old friends you don't see very often/all together.

TobyLerone Fri 22-Mar-13 15:10:41


I LOATHE forced 'mingling'. I don't want to sit with strangers. I want to sit with DH and my friends/family.

At my wedding, I refused to have a seating plan at all. We didn't have a top table and I just made sure that there were more seats than people. The event planner almost had kittens about it, but it worked out fine and everyone could sit with whoever they wanted to sit with.

Ragwort Fri 22-Mar-13 15:11:58

I would much rather sit with different people than with my DH, after all I sit with him for every meal all the time grin. What I don't like is sitting with other people's children when you have been specifically told that your own children are not invited.

However, I would much, much prefer to go to an informal 'buffet' type reception than a boring sit down meal with rubber chicken.

FringeEvent Fri 22-Mar-13 15:12:04

That's a bit strange. Having close family/friendship groups split between tables isn't particulary unusual (we resorted to doing this at our wedding because it was max 10 people per table and some of our 'groups' were 11 or 12 people, so it was better to split them at evenly as possible, eg. 5 on one table and 6 on another, rather than have individuals/couples singled out to be separated from their usual crowd). But not sitting next to your partner? Just seems completely unnecessary, and a bit mean (or at the very least, inconsiderate).

ENormaSnob Fri 22-Mar-13 15:13:30

Yanbu at all.

At least there was alcohol wink

aldiwhore Fri 22-Mar-13 15:13:43

It may have been normal to separate people in the century before last but it's not the norm now.

I don't mind sitting with strangers, but I would insist I sat next to the person I'd been invited with during a formal meal. If I want to mingle, I will but I'm not keen on being told I can't sit next to my husband. I'd have swapped around the seating plan.

I'm very sociable, but I can't be doing with this micromanaging bollocks.

At our wedding we had long tables and put friendship groups/family groups on each table... why is it so important to insist that my mate from school chats to my great uncle in-law? What was important to me was that everyone had a great time, had fun and enjoyed celebrating the ONE thing that bound them all, our marriage. I couldn't have cared less about them mingling politely. It resulted in a very happy, relaxed, friendly atmosphere where people later mingled all by themselves until the early hours.

Startail Fri 22-Mar-13 15:14:20

I like being with DH and need to be withDD2 because she is a pain about food. I'd rather not have got just my parents and DSIS, much as I love them. I go and see them quite often and chatter on the phone. We know each others gossip.

Cherriesarelovely Fri 22-Mar-13 15:15:03

This post made me laugh. When we had our civil ceremony DP got herself a special computer programme to organise the seating! She came downstairs proudly brandishing this plan in which she had mixed EVERYONE up. People were no where near their partners, work colleagues were with our family and nowhere near each other, one or two older children weren't even near their parents! I told her people would absolutely hate it. Fortunately she eventually agreed. I don't think being split up on a table is that bad but it is a bit "forced".

I am also very outgoing but had a really embarrassing time at a wedding a few years ago when I was sat at a table where I knew literally no one but they all knew each other. It was so horrible!!! I couldn't wait for it to end!

Sparklingbrook Fri 22-Mar-13 15:17:20

I hate that. Me and DH did a bit of emergency name card rearranging at one wedding, I had bought an outfit, a present, a night at a hotel I would never stop at usually, and driven 100s of miles for the wedding. I will sit with DH ta very much. angry

BackforGood Fri 22-Mar-13 15:21:57

Surely you could have just swapped the name cards around ?

Sparklingbrook Fri 22-Mar-13 15:23:05

Exactly Back. grin

GrendelsMum Fri 22-Mar-13 15:23:28

Gosh, I can't bear being sat next to my DH at a wedding - I see him every day as it is, so I hardly want to drive hundreds of miles <sitting next to him> in order to sit next to him some more.

Sparklingbrook Fri 22-Mar-13 15:25:05

grin but at least you know him Grendels. Who wants to sit with total strangers?

MimiSunshine Fri 22-Mar-13 15:27:51

It may not have been on purpose, my friend was annoyed when she realised that the hotel had put place cards out in first name alphabetical order rather than in couple order. So some were and others weren't next to each other.
I pointed out she must have given them to them in that order but it fell on deaf ears grin

ThatBintAgain Fri 22-Mar-13 15:28:08

Gawd, I went to a wedding with DH (way back when we weren't married!) and he was the best man. He sat on the top table and I knew no one at the whole wedding and ended up on a table miles away with some random kids who threw soup. (My vegetarian main meal was brought out by a man who said "there's always one awkward bugger".) I have never got so drunk so quickly.

mrsbungle Fri 22-Mar-13 15:29:34

YANBU. I also cannot stand forced mingling. Cringy. I do enough of the having to make small talk 'networking' at work. At a wedding I just want a glass of wine and to enjoy myself!

ChaoticisasChaoticdoes Fri 22-Mar-13 15:30:31

I sat with total strangers at a wedding once. Then again I knew nobody but the bride and her immediate family.

Methinks it would have been a leeetle unreasonable to insist on being sat at the top table wink

DreamsToGo Fri 22-Mar-13 15:31:29

Every wedding I've ever been to (and there's been a few!) partners have been been sat apart, albeit on the same table. I think that's the norm. Frankly if as an adult you can't cope with sitting one seat away from your partner for the duration of a meal then you need to get a grip hmm

Sparklingbrook Fri 22-Mar-13 15:33:18

I can cope but I don't want to Dreams. wink

firesidechat Fri 22-Mar-13 15:36:38

I'm almost 50, been to lots of weddings and have never been split from my husband. Traditional? I must be mixing in the wrong circles.

TakingTheStairs Fri 22-Mar-13 15:40:52


Yes it's a pain to make small talk sometimes but the bride & groom have usually mixed people up in an effort to encourage conversation. They will quite often try to sit you beside someone they think you would like to meet & vice versa.

You can stick with your friends/husband/partner at the ceremony, drinks reception and party. It's only for a couple of hours at the meal.
Would you insist on sitting beside your husband at a dinner party?

ksrwr Fri 22-Mar-13 15:42:05

when i got married i wanted our guests to have the best time possible, as they had spent huge amounts of money to be there, and travelled so far, and organised childcare, so i really thought about each person and who they'd have most fun sitting on a table with. for me going to a wedding is about seeing friends and family you rarely see. why on EARTH would you want to waste a lovely day talking to people you're very unlikely to see ever again. just sit people with friends, and let them have fun. forced mingling is totally pointless.

Quenelle Fri 22-Mar-13 15:42:35


You get a less strained and more fun atmosphere at weddings if people who know and like each other can sit together. As the happy couple, why would you want to see your friends and family sitting stiffly with a load of strangers when it's nicer to see and hear them chatting and laughing in a relaxed manner?

TobyLerone Fri 22-Mar-13 15:45:25

You know what? Bollocks to 'the bride and groom splitting you up to encourage conversation'.

I'm not a child, and I don't need to be taught how to do things.

I chose, as an adult, to spend my life with DH. That includes socialising.

VodkaRevelation Fri 22-Mar-13 15:46:01

Hate, hate, hate being forced to mingle at weddings. At my cousins wedding we were sat with people we had never met and wouldn't talk to (beyond polite small talk at the bar) after the meal. We had family there that we hadnt seen for ages. Weddings are such a great chance to catch up with family and friends. Why waste time talking about what youdo for a living with people you will never see again?! How dull!

I think tables full of people who know and love each other, having a grand old time time creates a much more relaxed and celebratory atmosphere than tables full of random great aunts and university friends.

Floggingmolly Fri 22-Mar-13 15:46:10

Is it really usual to do this? shock. It's never happened at any I've been to, thank God. YANBU.

TakingTheStairs Fri 22-Mar-13 15:48:48

You know what? Bollocks to 'the bride and groom splitting you up to encourage conversation'.
Wow Toby. No need to be quite so rude about it.

I would prefer to be with my DH too at weddings, but as a guest the polite thing to do is suck it up and get on with it.

I split my guests up. And if I thought any of them were moaning the way some people on this thread were, I would have been happy for them not to come.

raisah Fri 22-Mar-13 15:49:46

Apart from a fr reserved tables for our close family, people were free to sit where they liked at our wedding. You want people to feel comfortable instead of being forced to make small talk which can be embarrassing sometimes.

TakingTheStairs Fri 22-Mar-13 15:50:26

And encouraging conversation is not about teaching you how to do things.
I would like to have thought that two different sets of friends would really have hit it off and made their night even more enjoyable.

TobyLerone Fri 22-Mar-13 15:51:10

Actually, TakingTheStairs, I think it's very rude to split couples up.

So you probably did get people complaining about it. And nobody would have told you because they were grown up enough to 'suck it up and get on with it'. But I guarantee you not all of them would have liked it, and probably did a bit of shifting around of place settings.

aldiwhore Fri 22-Mar-13 15:52:01

Ha! I can 'cope' without DH, in fact I 'cope' for weeks on end without him but when we are invited to a wedding or a dinner, then we're not being invited to babysit some miserable in-law, grumpy assed friend of a friend, we're be asked to join in the celebrations of our friend/family member who's getting married...

Our time is precious, we like to enjoy our days/nights out together, together.

If a bride and groom wish to micromanage HOW we enjoy our day and theirs to that degree they obviously don't give a shit whether we enjoy ourselves or not, so I'd like to know in the invite that we're expected to be pawns for Bridezilla and Groomzuki who really just want their idea of perfect and propriety at the expense of the whole point of having guests at all, which is to share in the celebration.

WHY is it even in the bride and groom's remit to 'encourage conversation' at a point in the day when most people like to discourage it? It's absolute rubbish, out of date, unnecessary and bullish.

Oh and at MY relxed wedding where I sat friends with friends on all sorts of different sized tables, where I must have been 'discouraging conversation' two people, who didn't know each other beforehand, were placed on two separate tables, and are now married to each other!

It's nopt about 'coping without your spouse over dinner' it's about meglomaniacs forcing you to mingle as if you're too stupid to do it yourself, and it's those people that need to 'get a grip' frankly.


As you can see I absolutely HATE talking to strangers, which is why I'm a member of a public discussion forum with nobody I know. All the reasons FOR separating people are illogical and unreasonable. Fact. smile

TobyLerone Fri 22-Mar-13 15:52:13

I would like to have thought that two different sets of friends would really have hit it off and made their night even more enjoyable.

The thing about grown ups is that they can usually work out for themselves who they might get on with. You know, like their partner.

ENormaSnob Fri 22-Mar-13 15:52:24

Agree with Toby.

Fortunately all the weddings we've been to recently have sat us together with our pals and we've had a great time.

We don't know anyone controlling enough to force us to socialise with unknowns for the sake of their special day.

TakingTheStairs Fri 22-Mar-13 15:54:03

Nobody switched any place settings at my wedding. (and yes I would have noticed as I went from table to table talking to my guests in between courses). So they must have been happy enough.

I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree.

FarBetterNow Fri 22-Mar-13 15:55:07

My 80 year old DM and I went to one of her granddaughter's wedding (my niece) and we were on the same table but split up between the grooms' mates who we had never met.
I swopped the place names around- much better.

VodkaRevelation Fri 22-Mar-13 15:55:16

TakingtheStairs, at least some of the people at your wedding thought your seating plan was silly. Yes, I get in with people when seated to them. I have a nice time but I would have an awesome time with people I know. I wanted my guests to have an awesome time.

SoupDreggon Fri 22-Mar-13 15:55:44

At my wedding, I refused to have a seating plan at all. We didn't have a top table and I just made sure that there were more seats than people.

It would have been far more amusing to ensure there were 3 fewer seats than people. grin

TobyLerone Fri 22-Mar-13 15:55:54

How did I know you'd say that?!

TobyLerone Fri 22-Mar-13 15:56:21

It would have been far more amusing to ensure there were 3 fewer seats than people.


GreatSoprendo Fri 22-Mar-13 15:59:02

Thanks to the forced mingling seating plan, I met my DP at a wedding - our friends had mixed everyone up, albeit couples on the same table, and put singletons who might like each other together. I was seated between my now DP of 12 years, and the grooms single brother - 'twas a bit of an obvious set up but nice that they gave me a choice of 2 eligible bachelors grin

theoriginalandbestrookie Fri 22-Mar-13 15:59:18


At our wedding I was very aware that people were spending time and money to attend. In many cases they were meeting with friends they hadn't seen for a while.

DH wanted to do some social engineering, in particular with a single friend of mine who he wanted to put at the same table as some single friends. I wouldn't let him and put her beside her friends. She would have hated to be beside some strangers for the day.

Ridiculous behaviour from the couple.

SoupDreggon Fri 22-Mar-13 16:00:39

Nobody switched any place settings at my wedding. (and yes I would have noticed as I went from table to table talking to my guests in between courses). So they must have been happy enough

Or, they may simply have made the best of it despite being unhappy and complained amongst themselves later.

I hate being split up from the person I've gone with. I'm very shy, crap at small talk and more than capable of deciding by myself who I'd like to meet/talk to.

GrendelsMum Fri 22-Mar-13 16:05:47

Am I the only person that likes to meet new people over a meal then?

SoupDreggon Fri 22-Mar-13 16:08:47

It's entirely possible to meet new people over a meal and still be sat next to the person you went with.

TakingTheStairs Fri 22-Mar-13 16:10:15

I think you and I are alone in that Grendel

Mixing people up does not necessarily mean putting them on a table of 9 other strangers. It might mean (as it did at my wedding with my "silly" seating plan, which some of you seem convinced that my guests hated) putting their husband opposite them so that they could still speak to them, with a friend on one side of them and another guest on their other side.

And I met my DH at a wedding where I had been SHOCK HORROR placed beside a stranger (him).

Out of the last 5 or 6 weddings I've been to, I don't think I was sitting beside my husband at any of them.

kerala Fri 22-Mar-13 16:13:50

YANBU especially as weddings are often one of the few times old friendship groups get together. Tedious to see old university friends (who now live miles apart and would love to catch up with and see a couple of times a year) scattered around the room whilst you get to talk to elderly randoms.

SoupDreggon Fri 22-Mar-13 16:19:44

The other thing is that no one with be miserable sat next to their partner on a table of 8. There will almost certainly be a fair few people who have a miserable time if forced to sit with a stranger on each side. Why would you want to make some people miserable?

NomDeOrdinateur Fri 22-Mar-13 16:20:07

I ask in advance and don't go to the lunch/reception if I won't be sitting with my DH. Our free time is precious and I don't want to spend it meeting randoms/potential new friends - I have enough of those already, and don't really have the time or inclination to make any more when the alternative is to spend time with DH. I don't see anything wrong with feeling like this - being sociable isn't compulsory unless somebody is paying you to do it, after all.

TakingTheStairs Fri 22-Mar-13 16:23:49

There will almost certainly be a fair few people who have a miserable time if forced to sit with a stranger on each side. Why would you want to make some people miserable?

I agree with you soup I do (as you know!) think people should be mixed up.. but sitting beside two strangers is too much of a push.

I'm confused Takingthestairs - if you would rather sit with your DH why did you split people up at your own wedding.

We were at a wedding of friends and sat with friends of the mother of the bride. It was long tables so it wasn't that there was no room at the table with our other friends, it was just that the B&G wanted it this way. I thought it was pointless as we would much rather be with our friends who we hadn't seen for a while and had the opportunity to catch up with them than sat with random strangers.

whendoigetaliein Fri 22-Mar-13 16:33:44

Once upon a time - when I was young and carefree..... I had a boyfriend (i can say that because we were young). I was about 22 and he was 25. He was loverrly blush

We went to a wedding. He was best man - to Uni friend of his. I was plonked on a table with lots of people my age - all darling boyfriend's old Uni friends as well. It was like 4 weddings and a funeral. Turned out the 3 girls on the table had all shagged my loverrly boyfriend. At intervals - not all at the same time - he was well brought up wink.

One I knew about as I had met before and I could anticipate the hate from her, the second one he had mentioned and I remembered seeing some photos so I wasnt too surprised when she started to reminisce - awkward. But - the third one - she was special - she swapped seats with one of the males on the table to be next to me and gradually quizzed me about my background, my relationship with Mr Loverrly and then when she had consumed more alcohol than her body weight she told me that she was going to try and rekindle something with him - I think she thought I would react but I changed the subject and tried to shuffle my chair away from her - She then suggested we could all get it together and when he returned to my side after his best man duties had been fulfilled she said - and I can remember this - she said " We have been talking all day, we have so much in common and we thought it would be fun to go up to your room all together - for old times sake" BTW - I had not agreed to this.

He nearly passed out - he clutched my arm in terror and whisked me away from her. We saw her about 2 hours later sat on her own with a bottle of Pink fizzy Yalumba (see I remember the detail).

It was the worst wedding ever - so the moral of the tale is that I can now put up with anything at weddings as I have suffered in the past and nobody since has every suggested a threesome - which is a bit disconcerting actually sad

Oh - he is not my DH now - it all ended a few months later - but if I ever get invited to a wedding and he is there with his partner - well who knows winkwinkblush

Just thought back to all the weddings I have been to over the last 20 years. Putting aside those I went to when I was single... I think I've been to a dozen weddings as part of a couple. And in every occasion was seated next to my girlfriend/partner.

I'd hate it if they weren't.

TakingTheStairs Fri 22-Mar-13 16:38:09

breathe I don't mind not sitting with my DH at all. What I don't like is having to sit beside two complete strangers.
And although I split people up at my wedding, everyone knew at least one of the two people on either side of them.

NinaHeart Fri 22-Mar-13 16:39:50

At our wedding we just went "Here are the tables. You are all adults. Find a seat and sit down" (paraphrase)

H and I had a top table for two.

Cue MIL "Am I on the top table?"

ComposHat Fri 22-Mar-13 16:39:54

I've never been seperated from a partner, but I do seem to be an absolute magnet for the bridde/groom's Uncle Dickhead. (Perhaps they think I'll get on with him)

SirChenjin Fri 22-Mar-13 16:40:13

I hate this too. I'm perfectly capable of making small talk, but there I times when I just want to relax and chat to the person/people I've gone to the wedding with and catch up or chat properly.

Hulababy Fri 22-Mar-13 16:45:21

Have been to many weddings over the years and never once been split from the person I have attended with. Have always been next to dh or sometimes, on a long narrow table, directly opposite, Would find it very odd for this to happen. Tbh Ime people would just shuffle the car around accordingly.

I'm not overly confident as it is and being sat with complete strangers would make me less likely to enjoy the event.

Tbh whenever I host anything I allow guests to sit where they like and next to who they like. I want my guests to be as comfortable as possible and to have as good a time as possible.

If I was doing a wedding or big even I'd be tempted to just put a set number of names on each table, keeping those coming together together and let them place themselves accordingly.

MyThumbsHaveGoneWeird Fri 22-Mar-13 16:46:23

I thought the normal thing was to seat couples on the same table, but not actually next to each other. If you are on a table of 8 or 10 you are still going to be able to chat to them anyway. I'd find it very dull to be sat next to DH, I have the rest of our lives to chat to him! And certainly the rest of the wedding day. I think weddings are a great chance to meet your friends other friends but it would take someone far braver than me to approach groups of them over drinks.

I do agree though that I want to be sat with old friends or at least people the couple think I might like to become friends with. I spent one wedding sat next to an elderly great uncle and while he was sweet it was a bit pointless, we were never going to be friends for life, or even sit and chat after diner!

lurkerspeaks Fri 22-Mar-13 16:50:46

Once again I find myself thinking there are some really ill mannered people on mumsnet.

FGS he is your husband not your siamese twin. Being put two chairs apart during the meal will not cause you to spontaneously combust.

Some weddings lend themselves to clear identified tables eg. the friends from university etc, some don't. I quite enjoy making chat on tables with people I don't know. Often because you are friends with the same people you will get along pretty well.

I may be biased as I am widely acknowledged to be a "safe pair of hands" socially and have in the past been deliberately sat next to vicars, tricky cousins and difficult step mothers. Always on a table where I knew at least one or two other people to ease things along conversationally.

Being able to make small talk (note I don't say enjoy making small talk) is a dying art and one to be much lamented. I am entirely sick of going to formal functions where such chat is expected to find that trying to initiate it is like pulling teeth. Being unable to participate in it just makes you look gauche. Open questions, reasonably wide ranging answers and occasionally initiate a conversational thread yourself.

I had a very traditional boarding school education and we were taught how to make small talk. It has stood me in very good stead over the years something I didn't anticipate as a 17year old when the main highlight of boring headmaster's receptions was the cheap plonk provided (I await the uproar that the school actually provided booze to the pupils!)

knittingirl Fri 22-Mar-13 16:51:55

We assigned people to tables, in friendship/relation groups, but let them sit where they liked around the table. Without an exception, everyone sat next to the person they had come with - pretty clear indication to me that that is what people prefer to do!

ComposHat Fri 22-Mar-13 16:55:29

I may be biased as I am widely acknowledged to be a "safe pair of hands" socially and have in the past been deliberately sat next to vicars, tricky cousins and difficult step mothers

I am hoping this is why I always seem to end up with Uncle Dickhead. At University I always had to sit in the front of the cab and chat to the driver as 'I had the common touch' - like I was the Queen Mum. (Probably short hand for the fact I went to a comp and knew about football.)

Theas18 Fri 22-Mar-13 16:56:44

You lot must have been to some badly planned weddings!

THe last one I went to the bride had picked tables so carefully. Admittedly I wasn't with my DH , but with my girly mates. We were planted in 2s and 3s on different tables with the most lovely selection of people with whom we had something in common (as well as knowing the happy couple) to kick start lovely chatting.

Gosh there were our party, various of her work mates, her family and extended family (even her dotty gran was worth a chat!) and, as he is from a long way away, just a few of his family to be made welcome. Should they have sat by themselves? I don't think so!

TobyLerone Fri 22-Mar-13 16:57:29

Well, good for you, lurkerspeaks.

In my humble opinion, it's very ill-mannered to make sweeping judgements about people. Some of us prefer to be with our DHs because they are the person above all others with whom we actually like to spend time. Some of us prefer to be with our DHs because we are introverts, or suffer with social anxiety, or are simply just a bit shy.

So that boarding school education of which you speak so highly might have taught you how to talk to an elderly aunt at a wedding, but it might have missed out bits of the lessons on manners and thoughtfulness.

ComposHat - to rid your self of this somewhat irritating reputation I suggest that you start to refer to the person you are sat with as "Uncle Dickhead" and introduce him round the table as such. If anyone kicks off, just say you misheard his name.

Theas18 Fri 22-Mar-13 17:00:13

Going to a wedding as a family in the summer and I do hope we WONT all be sat together. THe kids are old enough to fend for themselves and develop social skills of there own.

Dealing with being sat next to someone batty aunt or the vicar and managing to have a nice time and ensure they do is a great skill to develop. Catch up with your mates over a glass of wine after the meal or whilst waiting for the ceremony etc

ravenAK Fri 22-Mar-13 17:00:17

Also, all the weddings I went to throughout my 30s were those of siblings/old Uni friends/colleagues - some of them on their second go-round.

More often than not, they would be people known well to me OR dh but not both, since we don't all live in little villages our entire lives anymore!

So if dh & I were split up, A would be having a rollicking time, sitting wherever, based on knowing a large number of the other guests over a large number of years, whilst B politely conversed with A's workmate's bride's auntie's boyfriend.

At least if you're together, the Billy-No-Mates half of the couple has one person with them who'll have a good idea who they might enjoy chatting to.

Pigsmummy Fri 22-Mar-13 17:02:25

Would hate that too, I put groups of friends etc together at our wedding and even put a note on the table inviting people to swap places half way thrugh to catch up with people if they wanted. I would not enforce this mixed seating, it is a wedding not a business networking event!

quoteunquote Fri 22-Mar-13 17:04:36

I love meeting new people, doesn't bother me in the slightest, everyone has something interesting about them, I love interrogating interviewing them to find out, I can always make people laugh, and once you have made someone laugh, they tend to friendly.

it only for the shortest time, as soon as the food and speeches are over people tend to mingle anyway,

Weddings are about the union of two people, so couple usually hope that all different people they care about will interact.

Chandon Fri 22-Mar-13 17:05:28

I was looking forward to a wedding of an old mate from Uni.

But. he had split his old group of uni friends up over all the tables. So I spent the night wedged between a middle aged fruit grower from Sussex and an old auntie, who lived abroad.

Apparently the bride wanted the uni group split up, as we would have "too much fun and become drunk and rowdy" so we had to be split up.

Well, it defintely was not drunk and rowdy, but I did learn about growing soft fruit in the English climate. Hurray.

So anyway OP, That is why they do it, so there is not one FUN table that makes the other tables feel like they are not having enough fun.

ENormaSnob Fri 22-Mar-13 17:06:48

Tbh I am pretty damn good at socialising and meeting new people. I find it easy to make small talk and can generally chat with anyone.

I would still prefer to be sat with dh and our mates over some randoms.

And I would feel pretty resentful at being micro managed into socialising with people I don't know.

Pandemoniaa Fri 22-Mar-13 17:09:45

It's pretty normal to separate married couples at table (unless in the first year of marriage)

Well despite having the sort of education that placed heavy emphasis on knowing whether the Archbishop of Canterbury took precedence over minor aristocracy at dinner parties so far as seating was concerned, this particular rule missed me too. Although admittedly, it may have pertained in the Victorian era.

When entertaining at home I want people to sit where they are comfortable. I would do similarly at a wedding. Not because people have to be superglued to their partners but because the whole event will be much more enjoyable if you aren't forced to sit with complete strangers for the sake of it. If you force people to mingle you can guarantee that they'll do quite the opposite. Networking might have a place in the workplace but that's where it should be left.

So no, YANBU.

Quote said "Weddings are about the union of two people"

YES, they are. So why would anyone deliberately SPLIT UP all the other unions????

SoupDreggon Fri 22-Mar-13 17:24:03

I agree with you soup I do (as you know!)

Er... no you don't.

Egusta Fri 22-Mar-13 17:25:24

I really really detest being split up.

At our wedding we had designated tables which we divided according to freindship groups. I mean- people are paying money to come and be with you, the least you can do it make it so they are with people they either like (which you know already) or they may get on with.., which you have to guess.

My Dh and i barely get out just us nowadays. It is a pretty big effort when we do, with babysitters and no family about. Added to that, i am very shy, and gain confidence when next to him. So i am better with him beside my side.

Last August we went to the biggest event of the year for us. It is a major cocktail party-come dinner- come 'breakfast' so is from 6 pm to about 2 am. It is really the only thing we go to nowadays. So, babysitter at 7 pounds per hour before midnight and 11 pounds after. £95 per head for the event, without alcohol. Taxis for us, and the baby sitter to get her home safely. New dress not for several years now and then alcohol on top of that.

All i wanted was to have a nice night out. i was seated next to a fat, red faced sweaty bastard who has a history of hitting on me, and who kept breathing beer fumes over me, putting his hand on my knee and asking me if sex with my husband was worth it.

I bailed out at 11 as i could not bear it. DH was seated next to fat sweaty bastard;s wife who kept giving me evils.

fucking horrid evening. And we paid all that money for it. Okay, so it is not a wedding, which is where the Op came from, but the pricniple is the same. you want to wish your friends well and have a nice time- which may have been quite difficult to arrange, pay for and organise. At least you can sit next to someone you like?

Chandon Fri 22-Mar-13 17:25:57

I do not mind being split up from DH though, but it woyld have been nice to catch up with old friends. In the wedding I described above, the dinner WAS the party, it was a 3 hr long dinner with a carefully measured 2glasses of wine per person.

I am the queen of smalltalk, but I still prefer at least one familiar face at the table.

plantsitter Fri 22-Mar-13 17:29:19

The best wedding I ever went to was one where the seating plan went all wrong so they had to mix everybody up a bit randomly. I am vegetarian and was sat next to a pig farmer. DH was sat next to a 50 yr old lady who ran a B&B (we were in our early 20s at the time). We both had a lovely, flirty, twinkly-eyed time. I think you are all being grouchy and mean. Weddings are about finding out who the other people in the bride and groom's circle are. You can always go and chat to your mates or family later. People do love to moan about weddings, don't they?!

Pandemoniaa Fri 22-Mar-13 17:30:15

I love interrogating interviewing them to find out, I can always make people laugh, and once you have made someone laugh, they tend to friendly.

Hmmmm. Only while I would never be rude in these circumstances, any complete stranger who attempts to interview me will get absolutely nowhere. Also, if I want to be made to laugh I will go to a comedy night.

Egusta Fri 22-Mar-13 17:39:24

sorry for my rave. blush

still a sore point.

(as is my DMother directing people where to sit at our wedding....)

habbibu Fri 22-Mar-13 17:41:52

Just remembered a dinner I went to when DH (boyfriend then) was a fellow in a Cambridge college. The deal was that you sat next to the person you came with fir the first 2 courses, then all the people who weren't from the college got moved. I ended up on the high table next to one woman who tried v hard to entertain both me and the man beside her, and with a man on the other side, who completely ignored me until DH came to rescue me. At that point he then turned to me and very politely introduced me to DH. grr.

Booyhoo Fri 22-Mar-13 17:43:16


i was at a wedding last year where some of the tables seemed to be very mixed and others were people all of the same family or people who were all good friends and the people having the most fun were definitely the ones who already knew each other.

expatinscotland Fri 22-Mar-13 17:46:15

Assigned seating at a wedding reception? Why? Naff.

Dededum Fri 22-Mar-13 17:50:13

My cousins wedding, only knew my family and he sat us on a table with them and our three very small kids. Never got an opportunity to talk to anyone else but still had to endure the two hours of photos and endless speeches. It was dire, DH ended up walking the kids round the grounds.

Our wedding split everyone up, it was quite small. I knew our friends could deal very well with small talk / getting pissed with strangers. Great party.

My brothers same table as DH and kids and sister of bride and few other people. Worked well as well and suited the groupings as lots of different people who didn't know each other.

Sparklingbrook Fri 22-Mar-13 18:12:12

It isn't about being split from DH as such, just split up from anyone I know. And smalltalk with strangers could lead to indiscreetness surely? Especially with wine involved.

Tailtwister Fri 22-Mar-13 18:20:06

I can understand why people don't like being split from partners (I'm not a fan of it myself), but I always thought it was pretty standard. I've never been to a wedding or dinner party where I've been seated next to DH, not even work Christmas parties.

However, I'm amazed that people move place cards around. I think that's quite rude tbh.

Sparklingbrook Fri 22-Mar-13 18:21:32

I think being told where to sit is ruder Tail.

ifancyashandy Fri 22-Mar-13 18:24:29

God, this thread is depressing. I'm very happily single. Off to a wedding in a few weeks where I will know the Bride and no-one else. Met the Groom once. Going for the whole shebang.

Hope to god none of you 'Don't seat me near a stranger' lot are going to be there and forced to sit next to me. Lord forbid if I should try and strike up 'small talk' as it's been described on here hmm.

Personally, I call it 'conversation'. AKA as 'making friends / getting to know people / showing an interest'. I like getting to know new people. I like being sociable.


Tailtwister Fri 22-Mar-13 18:25:40

Seriously Sparkling? You would really move place cards around to suit yourself? I've never been a fan of seating plans myself, but I would never dream of moving names around when the host has spent time placing everyone. It's a case of 'suck it up' if you don't like it imo! You are a guest!

Tailtwister Fri 22-Mar-13 18:30:04

I quite agree ifancyashandy. People should really be happy to make conversation over the course of a meal.

Has anyone ever seen the Billy Connolly sketch where he's invited to a Christmas party dinner at some guy's house? I always hope to meet some mad and interesting people at weddings. Quite often happens too, especially after the wine has done a few rounds!

Sparklingbrook Fri 22-Mar-13 18:35:38

The most important thing at a wedding is that the bride and groom get married, not where people sit at the Reception IMO, so I don't see a problem moving place cards. It would have to be a real Bridezilla to care about it.

MyNameIsLola Fri 22-Mar-13 18:35:43

YANBU, OP, I hate it too.

At our wedding we had one huge banquet table and no seating plan, all very informal and lovely and there were no issues with people figuring out where to sit, they just sat.

Sparklingbrook Fri 22-Mar-13 18:36:36

We had one table too. Nobody felt left out, everyone sat where they liked.

ifancyashandy Fri 22-Mar-13 18:38:41

Seriously Tail, I've never even thought about the fact that my making conversation could upset so many people.

It's horrible to imagine some might be thinking 'Urrggh, who is this stranger? I wish they'd stop talking to me, I only want to hang out with people I know'.

Don't get me wrong, I love seeing friends at weddings and the like but I would go out of my way to befriend the person on their own.

Like I said, depressing thread.

I shall just make sure I find the approachable people at the bar at my friends wedding!!

twooter Fri 22-Mar-13 18:40:25

My least favourite wedding was one without a seating plan. Everyone rushed to sit down, and I was on the end with my friends. Then a husband tried to get next to the wife, everyone shuffled down, and I lost my seat and ended up on a table of odd-ones -out.

Whatever you think, they're will always be more stress if there is no table plan.

ifancyashandy Fri 22-Mar-13 18:41:48

One big table is horrible for solo guests who know no one. You totally feel like you're gate crashing the mates. Or end up being looked after by 'Aunty June'. Christ, just leave the table alone and talk to the person next to you! It's for what, 2 hours tops?

Sparklingbrook Fri 22-Mar-13 18:43:26

There weren't any solo guests at our wedding, but that wasn't by design, Don't people do 'plus guest' any more?

Celticlassie Fri 22-Mar-13 18:45:01

I think part of the reason is so no-one ends up alone. I was at a wedding recently, with my friend as my plus one, and neither of us knew anyone but the bride and groom. At the meal I was sitting with a group of like minded people and we had a great time (never met any of them before). However, when the evening bit started, everyone joined their own large friendship groups and we were left sitting on our own. Felt a bit of a spare part and much earlier than I would have done. Would have been horrible if that had been the situation for the whole day. (sad)

Tailtwister Fri 22-Mar-13 18:47:19

Tbh ifancy I think you're more than likely to find people are happy to make conversation. I'm not a great conversationalist and I'm actually quite shy, but I do really try to make an effort at weddings/parties. It's not something I find easy, but I can only recall a couple of times where I've been completely stuck for something to say. Once I went to a wedding near Paris where I happened to be seated to one of the few people there who spoke no english. Unfortunately, my command of french stretches no further than saying my name and age! We did end up having a rather good game of boules (sp?) further on into the evening though and I did leave with some rather good french swear words.

ifancyashandy Fri 22-Mar-13 18:54:24

Sounds fun Tail! And no, no plus one for my friends wedding

I shall go, drink champers, chat and sparkle with those open and welcoming guests! grin. The curmudgeonly will wonder 'just who is that beauty having so much fun?'! grin

kerala Fri 22-Mar-13 20:37:34

Bringing back memories of attending a small-ish wedding as the ONLY single person. They played When a Man Loves a Woman and I kid you not every other person at the wedding was slow dancing except for me and the barman.

Floggingmolly Fri 22-Mar-13 20:43:04

I would (and have done) move place cards as well, why not?

FiveGoMadInDorset Fri 22-Mar-13 20:45:50

I sit next to my DH most nights of the year. I appreciate going out and having someone else to talk to. I have never been to a wedding/dinner/sit down party that has had a seating plan and sat next to the person I came with.

Sparklingbrook Fri 22-Mar-13 21:06:02

Exactly Flogging. It's not crime of the century-it's not up there with racing to the altar and snogging the groom is it? grin

TobyLerone Fri 22-Mar-13 21:16:46

I cannot imagine being the kind of dreadful bridezilla who cared more about her precious seating plan than her guests' comfort and enjoyment.

Floggingmolly Fri 22-Mar-13 21:18:53

Sparkling grin

Sparklingbrook Fri 22-Mar-13 21:19:42

YY Toby. Can you imagine the AIBU from the bride? 'AIBU to be vvvvv upset that a wedding guest dared to move a place name at the Reception and ruined my whole wedding day'? 'I had spent forever on that seating plan making sure that everyone was sat by nobody they knew'. sad

nkf Fri 22-Mar-13 21:21:37

Seating plans are awful anyway. All of them. The idea of them. I feel as if I am in a school Why can't people sit where they like?

TobyLerone Fri 22-Mar-13 21:22:00


There would be many 'YANBU's.

nkf Fri 22-Mar-13 21:24:17

The last one I went to - we sat there for hours. Yes, hours. We ate depressing, stodgy, cold food, we watched shows, we listened to speeches. we drank the one bottle of wine allowed, we remortgaged the house to buy another. It was slow torture. And to think someone had put thought into creating this misery.

Sparklingbrook Fri 22-Mar-13 21:24:42

I fear that may be true Toby. Lots of 'what a cheek' etc.NOBODY TOUCH THE PLACE NAMES!!!!

Sparklingbrook Fri 22-Mar-13 21:25:48

Did you have to stop overnight at your own expense at a hotel you would never normally set foot in nkf? And have the depressing breakfast experience?

nkf Fri 22-Mar-13 21:29:35

Yup. All of it. We also stood in the rain to have photos taken. And gave money for a honeymoon. And, really, just about every disagreeable circumstance two people could dream up was tolerated. I'm not going to any more weddings I've decided. Or rather only local ones. I do like watching people make their vows. It's so sweet and positive and hopeful but the rest of it... Do your guests a favour and send them a video.

quoteunquote Fri 22-Mar-13 21:34:45

Hmmmm. Only while I would never be rude in these circumstances, any complete stranger who attempts to interview me will get absolutely nowhere. Also, if I want to be made to laugh I will go to a comedy night.

you sound fun, so how do you respond when someone asks you how you know the happy couple?

it's about being polite, and making conversation, I hardly break into a stand up routine,

I thought everyone was a complete stranger until you meet them, you must of made some friends in life, before you met them, they were complete stranger.

Sparklingbrook Fri 22-Mar-13 21:36:39

I think the ideal would be-go to the service, have a little cry, throw some confetti, wish them well. Home for tea. grin

nkf Fri 22-Mar-13 21:40:40

Sparklingbrook, that would be a lovely wedding. I also wouldn't mind squeezing into the bride's parents front room for a cup of tea and some more hugs and congratulations. But no more. Certainly no disco.

Sparklingbrook Fri 22-Mar-13 21:46:19

For me it's all about the vows and the ceremony and the marriage. Everything else is immaterial.

DH and I departed to another hotel after the meal and left them all to it. smile

Sparklingbrook Fri 22-Mar-13 21:46:40

*at our own wedding.

simplesusan Fri 22-Mar-13 22:59:01


I had forgotten about the wedding we went to where there was no seating plan. As myself and dh were unaware of this, we were amongst the last to sit down, except we couldn't find any seats together for us and dcs.
All the tables had only one odd seat left.
Mosly people were in couples but all friends wanted to sit together.
Rather than force dcs to sit alone next to strangers we went into another room and ate!!

I definately would not recomend this approach!

i'm very much a social introvert (HFA, Anxiety), this would be my idea of hell.. i would be more likely to either sit where the hell i wanted or walk the fuck out.

Going to weddings or any social situation with total strangers is stressful enough for me, without being forced to sit/talk to them/eat around them.

FairPhyllis Sat 23-Mar-13 02:01:38

God this thread is miserable. I detest weddings being treated as university reunions - have been to a couple like that, and while that is fun to a certain extent, it's the same group of people every time, and they are all coupled up with each other and apparently inseparable from their partners so I end up bobbing around by myself.

I can't believe some people are so violently opposed to being friendly and polite to someone they may not know well for the length of a meal. I hope I never end up sitting next to any of you.

If the bride and groom have put some thought into it then the seating plan will be designed with everyone's comfort and enjoyment in mind, and everybody should be sitting next to someone they should be able to talk to. There is nothing more boring than a wedding where you end up seated with and talking to the same people all day and night.

ExRatty Sat 23-Mar-13 02:05:07

weddings are brilliantly naff
lie to everyone
snog a bridesmaid and only eat cake
dance all night

ceres Sat 23-Mar-13 04:02:27

i have only been to one wedding that didn't have a seating plan. i thought it was odd - people who knew each other all huddled together and there didn't seem to be any mixing.

at our wedding we sat couples together but the tables were mixed. it owrked out that everyone knew at least three other people at their table but were also sat with people they didn't know. we had fairly smal tales - i think 12 was the biggest.

one of my favourite memories of the reception is looking around the room and seeing everyone chatting away and having a good time.

TheRealFellatio Sat 23-Mar-13 05:35:05

Oh FFS, stop all being such babies about it!

I would not put couples on separate tables, and I would try to make sure that people were reasonably well matched and likely to get along, but I would would have no qualms about splitting them up around a table of 6 or 8 - it's what I'd do for a dinner party so why not a wedding? confused

Why on earth do you need to cling to your partner, and act as though you've been forced to share a table with some strangers in IKEA cafeteria because there is nowhere else to sit, and then studiously ignore them? How bizarre, childish and ungracious.

The thing about weddings is that sometimes there will be old friends of the B&G who may know nobody else, or maybe someone recently divorced or widowed, and it's alright for you to say you can't be bothered with forced mingling, but are they to sit on their own on a table for lepers, while you all have a jolly good time with your bezzies ignoring everyone else? hmm

It's only for the meal - after that you get up and mingle, dance etc anyway.

neontetra Sat 23-Mar-13 06:34:14

When I had a big wedding, first time round, had no seating plan. Everyone told me how refreshing and great that was. Then over the years i've been to all their weddings, and they've almost all had plans! Have much preferred those who don't. I favour an informal vibe I guess, but why would anyone want to be told where to sit when they are supposed to be having fun? Hate it, hate it, hate it. And fully accept that I am in the minority, though don't understand why.

ifancyashandy Sat 23-Mar-13 06:45:59

Fellatio and Fair, I thank god there's a couple of sane people on this thread.

Just hope there's a few like you at my friends upcoming wedding. Else I'll be spending an awfully long time with no one talking to me / feeling like a leper if I attempt to chat to someone who, horror is being forced to interact and mingle with someone they don't know! shock

nkf Sat 23-Mar-13 07:14:57

Disliking seating plans has nothing to do with being unsociable. I can talk to anyone and have no problems with small talk. I like meeting new people. That's why I don't like spending three hours on one table with one group.

TheRealFellatio Sat 23-Mar-13 07:17:51

I'm starting to think that some people are just ill-mannered and selfish or that they just do not have the emotional intelligence or the social skills to sustain an interesting conversation with anyone who is not exactly like them. How sad.

I am guessing lots of you are quite young, and all I can say is god help you if you end up having to play the role of corporate wife a few years down the line, or if progression in your own job relies upon you having to build relationships with clients and entertain them outside of an office environment.

Some of you are coming across like spoilt children.

nkf Sat 23-Mar-13 07:23:26

Comparing it with the skills required for being a corporate wife or building work relationships supports the view that it's hard work. And not the great fun that the bride and groom hope it will be.

ipswichwitch Sat 23-Mar-13 07:35:32

ComposHat I also always get sat next to "Uncle Knobhead", as we refer to them here. At the last wedding I went to (SIL) I begged her to not put me next to her (and DHs) uncle knobhead. It's us the only guestzilla thing I have ever done, but I really couldn't cope with 3 hours of said uncle attempting to manoeuvre so close he'd be sat on my knee by the end of the first course. Fortunately she likes me and sat him the other side if the table grin

TheRealFellatio Sat 23-Mar-13 07:42:52

It isn't always hard work nfk - sometimes it can be great fun. But even if it is occasionally like pulling teeth you have to be able to get through it with good grace, don't you? No point flouncing or sulking if it's part of your job.

But I was not comparing it in quite that way - I was merely saying that if you are so inward looking and self-absorbed that you resent spending a couple of hours getting to know new people, being pleasant to them, asking them questions about themselves and being able to listen with genuine enthusiasm and interest for more than a few minutes without wishing you were somewhere else, then you have little chance of coming across well should your job or your partner's job ever require that of you in a professional capacity, and frankly you are probably a bit of a dullard yourself.

And you never know you might actually learn something, make a useful contact, a new friend, a new partner, or just find yourself sitting next to the most interesting/hilarious person you've met in years.

I'm just astounded at how many of you object to this. Are you all about 17? confused

Sounds like sometimes the inexperienced bride and groom get a bit carried away with organising the seating plan - too ambitious and creative with it.
Just because you know two people have been to South America say doesn't mean they will have much in common or enough to talk about for the whole afternoon. Whereas a bunch of people who all went to college together, or a group of cousins who've known each other from childhood but only meet up every year or so, will more likely have much more to catch up on !
I think seating couples opposite one another could work well if that's feasible.
You don't know how much they'll want to talk with each other - they may find it more interesting and fun to talk with others, so best to allow for some flexibility in that regard if you can.

nkf Sat 23-Mar-13 07:47:47

Personally, I think it's more fun to move around and mingle. Usually, what happens at weddings, there are the people at the table to talk to and then the disco starts and there's no chance to talk to anyone. Me, I'd rather talk to more people.

That said, I think people shouldn't go to weddings they don't like the sound of. If aspects of it bother you, stay home.

TobyLerone Sat 23-Mar-13 07:54:57

I think some people are confusing 'preferring to sit next to your partner' with 'not speaking to anyone else on your table at any point'.

I don't think any of us who would rather sit with our partner have said anything about 'studiously ignoring' everyone else at the table. Nor are we 'babies' without emotional intelligence or social skills hmm

TheRealFellatio Sat 23-Mar-13 07:56:30

So why fear beng placed ten feet away from him for a couple of hours then, and being expected to chat to people other than him? confused It does sound a bit needy and infantile tbh.

ipswichwitch Sat 23-Mar-13 07:56:32

I have also been to wedding where the B&G obviously thought they'd sit me with a particular group of people because "Ipswich can talk to anyone". Yes I can, if they talk back to me! I've been sat (next to dH)with one group who all knew each other really well and pretty much blanked me and DH for the whole meal. I kept getting asked to go and dance with friends (from another table) but I couldn't leave DH sat there with that miserable lot by himself, especially the morose drunk next to him who ignored everyone.

I think it's fine to be sat at a table with strangers hen the B&G think you'll have lots in common and be able to get along with them, but for christs sake be friggin polite and talk to someone when they're trying to make a conversation with you. There's nothing so isolating as being ignored at a table when you're all effectively stuck there for a good couple of hours

TheRealFellatio Sat 23-Mar-13 07:57:34

Are you saying you can cope with chatting to people so long as you have your partner right next to you, but if he is a few feet away then it becomes a chore? I don't get it.

TobyLerone Sat 23-Mar-13 08:02:20

I don't really know why you're being so nasty about this, Fellatio, or why you're chucking around (albeit very mild) personal insults.

You don't mind being separated from your partner. You're great at small talk. You judge everyone who prefers to spend their free time sitting next to the person with whom they attended the event. Good for you. I'm sure someone will be along with your prize shortly.

TheRealFellatio Sat 23-Mar-13 08:03:54

Exactly Ipswich and that is far more likely to happen if all the other guests at your table are already friends and you are the odd ones out. Which is exactly why for the sake of people who may not know many others there, it is polite and sensible to mix people up, and sometimes split partners around the table as well. Although personally I think the partner splitting is less important than the clique splitting. It's ok if you have whole tables of people who know one another but it's almost impossible to not end up with some people who cannot be accommodated like that and they will end up feeling miffed and left out, if they get Auntie Iris and Uncle Harold, while all their friends get to be together. So it's best just to mix everyone up to some extent.

LadyWidmerpool Sat 23-Mar-13 08:04:39

Our venue put some of the cards in the wrong place, separating a couple. I said how sorry I was and the couple said not to worry, it wasn't a problem. So it might not have been the wedding couple's intention.

TheRealFellatio Sat 23-Mar-13 08:06:04

Toby I am not directing my 'insults' at any one person - I'm just genuinely bewildered at how many people are grumpy and sniffy about this.

nkf Sat 23-Mar-13 08:09:57

People are always grumpy and sniffy at weddings. Because, weddings are usually quite stiff and prolonged and, yes, hard work. Not hard work like hauling coal but an effort. The bride and groom think they have created something magical, everyone tells them their wedding was lovely and then they bitch on here.

TobyLerone Sat 23-Mar-13 08:10:58

I didn't say you were. It takes more than being called 'childish' to insult me.

But if anyone is being 'grumpy and sniffy' about this, it's you. You are being quite condescending about people for whom this sort of situation is easier if they can sit next to their partner.

Egusta Sat 23-Mar-13 08:17:16

Yes, but fellatio you are not coming across as 'genuinely bewildered' you are being dismissive and sarcastic about people on this thread who have said why they dislike mixed seating, and have given good reasons why. Horses for courses. You are fine with it. Others prefer a different situation. No-one has said that if they are seated next to their partners they only speak to them and ignore everyone else. Just, if you go to someone;s wedding you'd quite like to have a good time, and for some people that means being also able to chat with their partners or friends.

RafflesWay Sat 23-Mar-13 08:27:38

I would be more than happy to be sat with complete strangers so long as dh was with me. Splitting couples sounds totally unreasonable to me.

Abra1d Sat 23-Mar-13 08:29:26

It is etiquette to split couples within tables. So you're on the same table as your OH, but not next to them. The idea is to talk to new people. Not be boring old couples. smile

CharlotteBronteSaurus Sat 23-Mar-13 08:34:17

i don't mind being split up from DH, but i am always a bit pissed off if there are lots of friends/family whom I haven't seen for ages all placed on other tables for the sake of enforced mingling, and I have to make small talk with an unknown bridesmaid's auntie and other assorted strangers, when I could be having a good catch up.

Abra1d Sat 23-Mar-13 08:37:33

I quite like the idea of getting people to move place for the last course.

That's exactly what I mean about moderation in the seating planning being called for Charlotte - we don't want to spend the whole day meeting new people that we will probably never see again, and missing out on a rare opportunity to catch up with family and friends we haven't seen for a while.

Abra1d Sat 23-Mar-13 08:49:50

And just one other point--being shy is not a get out of jail free card. Many, many people are shy but many have worked very hard to get over themselves in public situations. It's called being a grown-up. My husband is very reserved but will always chat to strangers at a function, especially if they are elderly or ill in or in some way vulnerable because he was brought up to know that this is the kind and polite thing to do.

Sparklingbrook Sat 23-Mar-13 08:54:05

But some shy people find it incredibly hard and stressful to sit with strangers, trying to find things to say etc. Also some people struggle to eat in front of strangers. Some people find weddings incredibly stressful in all aspects.

Binkybix Sat 23-Mar-13 08:56:11

I don't mind being split up from DH. My ideal would be a mix up of some people I know already and some that I don't, but honestly, would take it as it comes. I do remember once being at a table where I knew no one (DH at top table), everyone else in couples, and only one tiny glass of wine per head! That wasn't ideal, but I survived.

The only thing I wouldn't like is being kept apart if all the rest of my close group of friends were together.

I really don't like it without a seating plan...not sure why. Also think it a bit 'me, me, me' to move around seating plan for the sake of a coulple of hours.

ifancyashandy Sat 23-Mar-13 08:57:17

Egusta can't copy and paste as on iPad and can't work it out but there are a number of posters towards the start of this thread saying words to the effect of "Urrggh, why do I have to sit and talk to people I don't know? Urrggh, forced small talk about what you do for a living... I just want to talk to the friends and family I know.... I choose to socialise with my DH.... I hate forced mingling"

Sounds to me like these type of posters are not going to actively try and talk to 'others' at a wedding...

Binkybix Sat 23-Mar-13 08:58:10

Ps I also used to be very shy. Have worked hard at it, but sometimes it comes back and I literally am tongue tied.

Abra1d Sat 23-Mar-13 09:10:03

Me too, Binkybix. I had to work hard, and, to a certain degree, get over myself (not saying you had to do the latter, btw!).

Inertia Sat 23-Mar-13 09:27:15

When I read about wedding guests being separated from their partners at weddings because it is traditional or good for singletons or helpful for the b&g who need babysitters for awkward guests, I always wonder whether these rules also apply to the bride and groom. How many brides sit on a table next to their DH's grumpy great-uncle? How many grooms sit themselves with the bride's work colleague that knows nobody else ? No, this enforced mingling is just to be inflicted on others.

Weddings are one of the few opportunities for groups of family or friends to get together at the same time. Why do some brides and grooms think they'd prefer to be part of their social engineering experiments rather than catching up with old friends ?

Lack of a seating plan is the worst option of all though.

Sparklingbrook Sat 23-Mar-13 09:29:45

Yes Inertia maybe the Bride and Groom could sit on separate tables. It's only for 2 hours after all, if they can't be separated for that long their marriage doesn't stand a chance. wink

MidniteScribbler Sat 23-Mar-13 09:32:10

My ex seemed to constantly be best man for people, so consequently I went to a lot of weddings where I was split up from him because he was on the top table. Whilst I can cope with that if the B&G are considerate enough to put me with at least one person on my table that I know, I did have two particularly memorable (for the wrong reasons) events.

The first one I was stuck on a table of the brides elderly overseas relatives. Who only spoke Polish. I do not. I made good a good dent in the wishing well proceeds on that one by drinking my body weight in alcohol.

The second one they decided that since I was a school teacher, I would enjoy being stuck on the kids table with just myself and 9 kids ranging from 3 to 10. Oh yes, because when I spend all week teaching, what I really want to do on my saturday night is play babysitter whilst their parents get sloshed. Especially when one of the parents came over and told me that I shouldn't be drinking in front of the children because it set a bad example (before weaving their way back to their own table and their own drink). I promptly ignored that one until the bride came over and said that her guest had complained because I wouldn't stop drinking in front of the children. I walked out and went home at that point.

Sparklingbrook Sat 23-Mar-13 09:34:23

shock Midnite I had forgotten about the best man's partner being completely left out. sad And the bridesmaids other halves presumably.

We didn't have a best man or bridesmaids. grin

motherinferior Sat 23-Mar-13 09:36:16

I can talk to DP any time, should I feel the urge. Over the past 13 years we have managed numerous conversations. Let off the leash, I'd rather love to talk to someone new grin. I don't get out much.

Sparklingbrook Sat 23-Mar-13 09:38:27

grin mother, depends on what the 'someone new' person is like though.

YouBrokeMySmoulder Sat 23-Mar-13 09:40:37

I dont mind being split and this has happened half the time, when we are sans dc, with them then we dont get split. I dont mind it as long as its the same table its not as if you were just going to sit there and talk to eachother anyway as that would be incredibly rude.

I actually find it a turn on to be able to watch dh talking and being charming. I might be weird though.

motherinferior Sat 23-Mar-13 09:55:45

DP is a grumpy antisocial bugger and I quite enjoy watching him having to be sociable while I flirt decorously with strangers grin

Lollydaydream Sat 23-Mar-13 10:24:24

Wow; having read this thread I'm coming to the conclusion that when I'm struggling to make small talk with someone a this kind of event and feel like they are not interested and are looking for someone else to talk to it's because that's exactly what they are doing. On the one hand maybe this means I'm not quite as bad at chit chat as I thought; on the other hand thinking this will increase my feelings of shyness and this thoughts that it us pointless to try.
Thank you to all of those who make an effort to engage with other people and put us at our ease. It is such a confidence boost. It is so hard to talk to people who aren't interested and can't be bothered to hide it; that could turn me into a recluse.

HaHa motherinferior, I feel rather the same. I've been with my DH 25 years and we've had several good conversations !

PiHigh Sat 23-Mar-13 10:56:39

shock Midnite, that's awful.

Our best man was single so we didn't have to worry about finding a suitable place for a dp to sit.

hfa = high functioning autism, mixed with anxiety... there is nothing 'childish' or 'immature' about my reasons for hating this kind of seating arrangement.

given a choice for my comfort because of my autism and anxiety, i will always sit with people i know, preferably with a wall behind me so i can see whats going on.

Having to eat around strangers without the comfort of having someone i know with me that i can focus/lean on if my anxiety gets too much would ruin my day and to the point i would leave.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Sat 23-Mar-13 11:20:13

I have sat next to some really interesting randoms at weddings, including the head curator of a famous art museum, a mercenary, the guy who provided the material for Air Babylon, a jump jockey and an old guy who spent his life in "The Sudan" as it was then known. Yeah, I've had the odd person who's been hard work, but that's life, and it's only a few hours. My preferred seating plan is same table but not next to DH, and a mixture of people I know and people I don't.


motherinferior Sat 23-Mar-13 11:43:52

Given the divorce statistics, presumably one in three married couples will be absolutely dreading the prospect of having to sit next to each other anyway grin

RafflesWay Sat 23-Mar-13 12:41:16

Sorry but if I was sat on a separate table from dh - unless he was best man of course - I know we would both find an excuse to leave. However we are very much joined at the hip - have been now for 36 yrs - and everyone we know is very aware of that. Sorry but this splitting couples at wedding receptions seems a very modern idea as I have never encountered it or perhaps we just mix in a very old-fashioned circle.

Ratata Sat 23-Mar-13 12:46:51

Do the bride and groom sit split apart too? Only fair! grin

Samu2 Sat 23-Mar-13 12:50:34

Thank god the weddings I get invited to usually have a buffet, DJ and a lot of drink and we sit wherever we want.


FairPhyllis Sat 23-Mar-13 13:21:23

I would make an exception for people who I knew had severe social difficulties or phobia, and would only seat them in a place I knew they would be comfortable. Similarly I wouldn't split up parents and young children - I would put them together so no one parent gets stuck doing all the work.

But I am genuinely baffled at how some of the 'urgh, strangers' people on here - for whom it seems to be a preference rather than an anxiety issue - manage to function in life. Do you break out in a rash if you meet a stranger through work that you have to entertain and make polite conversation with? Do you never make new friends? Being able to be polite and kind to a stranger for a short time seems a pretty basic social skill to me.

I am shock at people saying they would walk out if they were not seated next to their DH - I just didn't think that level of childish self-absorption could exist. How rude, when you are somebody else's guest.

Pandemoniaa Sat 23-Mar-13 13:34:58

I'm not particularly fussed about being separated from DP and can't imagine a situation where I'd walk out of a reception where this occurred. But then I don't want to be joined to anyone else's hip.

However, I still think that it makes for a more enjoyable time if you know some of the people at your table rather than everyone being separated purely on the basis that they need to network with other guests. If they want to mingle then they can. But don't enforce it.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Sat 23-Mar-13 13:35:10

Why would you force social situations?

I like to see my friends at weddings, catch up with people I haven't seen for a while. I don't want to make small talk with people I don't know.

Stop trying to make all your friends be friends with each other.

nkf Sat 23-Mar-13 13:56:39

Good reading for wedding planners I would have thought.

TheRealFellatio Sat 23-Mar-13 14:00:04

Raffles no-one is suggesting they sit on separate tables, merely a space or two apart on a round table, of perhaps 8 people.

Helpexcel Sat 23-Mar-13 14:16:17

When oldest dd was 5 months old dh and I were invited to a wedding with no children allowed and it required an overnight stay. I made (in hindsight the wrong decision) to leave dd with my mum and dh and I went to the wedding. We were sat on a long table with me at one end and dh at the other (fortunately for him he was sat near a couple we knew.
I had been sat next to a toddler in the ceremony so wasn't very happy anyway.
Then I sat down, not knowing anyone and I was at next to a mad scientist. (Apologies to any reading) this was the straw that broke the camels back and after the starters I moved the length of the table to sit with dh and our friends.

In contrast last year dh and I attended a wedding and although we were sat on the same table we were not next to each other. The men got up and moved round after every course. Dh ended up next to me for the speeches. Was quite nice and different. I wondered how they actually managed the logistics of that with over 150 people there.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Sat 23-Mar-13 16:43:35

I've never been to a posh wedding. How big are these tables that you can't consider yourself still in the company of your partner if they're 2 seats away from you or directly opposite you? grin

kerala Sat 23-Mar-13 18:58:20

Also mixing it up can go very wrong. My poor friend was harangued by some old guy she had been placed next to for the crime of being a solicitor "how can you sleep at night" etc spoilt the wedding for her.

I had a charming man who couldn't get his head round the fact that I was a SAHM and went on and on about it - so rude no way would I ever comment on anyone elses life choices but somehow I was fair game because I wasn't racing back to work hmm I was pregnant and had a toddler at the time.

I would want to be on the same table as DP at least. If he was best man, I would expect the seating plan to be fair and put me with at least one person I know. I can get on with most people and accept some people could have trouble in socialising with people they don't know.

The most memorable wedding I remember had no seating plan. The bride's mother spent a lot of time telling my mum that her choice of name for my brother was terrible and the food was disgusting. Groom was son of dad's brother and thankfully we never had to see them again.

HollaAtMeBaby Sat 23-Mar-13 20:07:09

YABU and pathetic

Maybe the B&G were thinking of their single guests, who would otherwise be sticking out like a sore thumb on a table full of smug couples?

Sparklingbrook Sat 23-Mar-13 20:08:43

The Bride and Groom should put 'plus one' on the invitations. Who wants to go to a wedding on their own anyway? confused

Binkybix Sat 23-Mar-13 20:32:25

The plus one question is a whole new can of worms!!

Sparklingbrook Sat 23-Mar-13 20:36:12

Oh no Binky is it? I know the wedding threads can get a bit heated, are plus ones a no-no?

ifancyashandy Sat 23-Mar-13 20:37:59

I want to go to my friends wedding. I happen to be single. Does that make me weird confused. Should I RSVP 'No' because 'who wants to go to a wedding on their own anyway' hmm?

I accept they are paying a lot of money to celebrate their marriage (and it could be a small or large wedding - cost is relative). I accept they don't want someone (my supposed '+1') they don't know at their day.

I've never felt stigmatised as a person who happens to be single.

Till this thread....

thebody Sat 23-Mar-13 20:40:56

It sounds very rude to me. Surely the first rule of inviting people and acting as a charming host is making your guests feel relaxed and welcome.

Some people are very strange.

Sparklingbrook Sat 23-Mar-13 20:42:25

I should rephrase it as I wouldn't want to go to a wedding on my own fancy. No intention of upsetting single people, and didn't realise a 'plus one' wasn't the norm. Sorry.

Binkybix Sat 23-Mar-13 20:43:17

Just in that a lot of people don't do them anymore (as in a plus one of the guest's choice), and other feel strongly that they should.

Binkybix Sat 23-Mar-13 20:43:47


Sparklingbrook Sat 23-Mar-13 20:45:13

Mmm. I suppose there is the point that the B&G wouldn't want a stranger at their wedding. But at big weddings I doubt the Groom knows all the Bride's guests and vice versa. Don't know, i must be a bit out of date.

Binkybix Sat 23-Mar-13 20:46:22

I think it's more about having enough space/money more than not wanting a stranger there.

ifancyashandy Sat 23-Mar-13 21:15:18

Gracious apology Sparkling, thanks. And what Binky said in her/his last post.

Sparklingbrook Sat 23-Mar-13 21:19:23

I think weddings are different now maybe. I am sat here trying to think when I last went to one it is over ten years ago I think. Next ones will probably be DSs, in another ten plus.

ravenAK Sat 23-Mar-13 22:00:02


It's not that I can't manage to chat with the groom's Uncle Harold (& dh will happily charm the pants off Auntie Iris).

I think I've concluded that actually, & selfishly, I find weddings a total PITA anyway.

I've not been invited to a colleague's today, & various other workmates have been chuntering as they haven't either -colleague has committed the 'sin' of inviting some but not all members of Dept., plus other friends from other Depts, & sundry noses are out of joint.

I'm just relieved.

I don't have to buy a present, organise childcare, toil through the snow OR spend hours making conversation with Uncle Harold. Whilst eating terrible food & then dancing to shite music.

For me, the only redeeming feature of weddings, in amongst all the tedium, hassle & expense, is getting to catch up with old friends whilst necking free booze.

So if I'm having to spend it making polite conversation, tbh, I'd just rather not bother with any of it.

I am clearly selfish & antisocial & would make a terrible 'corporate wife' grin, but hey ho. Life's just too short.

Sparklingbrook Sat 23-Mar-13 22:04:04

I think the way forward may be to announce the wedding and let people apply for an invitation if they want to come. grin

ravenAK Sat 23-Mar-13 22:11:27

FAR too sensible & not nearly enough potential for pointless drama llama-ing! grin

WorriedTeenMum Sat 23-Mar-13 22:53:38

If someone has gone to the trouble of:

- giving over that Saturday afternoon/evening
- booking babysitters
- buying a gift
- dressing up
- participating in the wedding and smiling/joining in in all the right places

Why is it acceptable to make the meal a social assault course? If guests have accepted an invitation the B&G should be glad they want to attend and make things as comfortable for them as possible.

ifancyashandy Sun 24-Mar-13 00:31:10

But, maybe, Worried some of us don't see it as 'going to the trouble' but more as a huge compliment that the B&G value the friendship enough to invite one? I'm always hugely flattered when a couple 'request the pleasure of my company' at a day that's very important to them.

Maybe by creating mixed up tables and a 'social assult course' hmm they have given thought to their single guests and made things as comfortable for THEM as possible?

MidniteScribbler Sun 24-Mar-13 00:38:56

I think the 'plus one' thing would depend on the situation. I've been to weddings of workmates where they haven't invited any of our partners, and that's fine because they put you on a big table of workmates and you have a great night out. But if you are one of the friends that doesn't know a lot of the other people invited, then a plus one should be extended. So says me anyways.

ifancyashandy Sun 24-Mar-13 00:46:38

Never had a 'Plus One' invite. Been to, what, 8 or so weddings on my own.

No idea I created such a stir!

good job I was always the best dressed / 'enigma' woman

TobyLerone Sun 24-Mar-13 07:01:19

I think it's rude not to invite a plus one.

Madmum24 Sun 24-Mar-13 08:29:03

I attended my very close friends wedding in another country recently, couldn't find my name on the seating plan, only to discover that i had been seated in the GROOM's family's table! I don't know who was more mortified, me or them! Apart from the fact that two of my children didn't have a seat it seemed very inappropriate for me to be sitting with them, not even the sister of the groom got that table, and what was more embarrasing is when the mother of the groom insisted to the mother of the bride that i should be moved to another table.......

I think many people assume that you are just so grateful to receive an invitation to a 5* hotel that you will be happy to sit on a bech with a stranger. I've decided wedding receptions aren't really my thing now!

Oh dear Madmum - that sounds like a bit of a seating plan nightmare grin. And Mother of the groom should have left well alone once seats had been allocated IMHO - however oddly !

Nishky Sun 24-Mar-13 09:16:09

worried your post makes me glad I had a small wedding- I would hate to think that anyone coming found it such a chore

I had a naughty table at my wedding-all the people from both sides who we thought were liable to get pissed and raucous sat together. They didn't let us down and were all quite proud to be on that table. They were at the back of the room - so closest to bar-

Sparklingbrook Sun 24-Mar-13 09:25:33

I don't think going to a wedding is a chore. I do think that going to a wedding can be quite stressful, nerve wracking and expensive. Unless you are vv close to either the Bride and Groom sometimes a little bewildering.

I don't think "plus one" is the norm? I went to plenty of weddings as a single person in my teens and 20s and don't recall ever getting a plus one invitation. Usually there were other friends there too so it wasn't like being totally on my own, although I did do that a few times too. It would have felt strange taking someone who wasn't a serious boyfriend along. I'm mid 40s now so this period is 20 odd years ago, perhaps things have changed.

As regards not sitting with DH, I don't mind either way, but DH isn't great at small talk and would prefer to sit with me unless he knew a lot of other people well.

MumOfAPickle Sun 24-Mar-13 09:45:17

We allocated tables but not seats. As other people have said there are good reasons for doing this & it's not because the b&g are conducting 'social experiments' or being controlling or want to see their guests struggle! It's to make sure that none of the guests have a really miserable time. Our tables were 10 & obviously our guests did not split into convenient friendship/family groups of 10. IMO the worst thing you can do is have 8 people who know each other and 2 who don't. The day goes on for about 10 hours & the meal for about 2 so plenty of time to mix with your mates. We split everyone into couples and then pulled them out of a hat!
Oh and I've been to one wedding without a seating plan & it was horrible. I was bridesmaid so was asked to sit with the other bridesmaids & keep an eye on the little one, no problem but my parents had come & ended up on a table for 10 on their own there was more seats than people. The bride is a nightmare for this 'oh I'm so relaxed & chilled, aren't I fabulous' vibe which leads to lots of parties/events where her guests have a miserable time due to lack of seats/food/drink/warmth!

ApocalypseThen Sun 24-Mar-13 09:49:15

I think it's very lovely of the bride and groom to help guests to improve themselves by forcing them to make hours if small talk. Just think of the ball of fire you'll be at conferences! They're generous enough to let you overcome your gauche preference for having a good time without exerting yourselves.

Have some gratitude. And don't wonder what you'd teach them about hosting.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Sun 24-Mar-13 09:49:57

Rude not to invite plus ones? Seriously?!

No-one got a plus one at my wedding, why would I pay for random people I don't know?

Incidentally all of my guests knew someone else. One of my friends asked if she could bring a date (bloody cheek, especially as her group of friends were there), I said no.

I went to a wedding on my own once, I only knew the groom. When I arrived I bumped into another of his old friends that I vaguely knew, he had assumed it was plus one when it wasn't and brought someone with him, it was all very awkward as they had to find a seat and meal for her, I imagine she was mortified.

Sparklingbrook Sun 24-Mar-13 09:55:07

After reading some of these I have decided I don't understand weddings at all. sad

BookFairy Sun 24-Mar-13 10:21:02

Me neither sparkling as I thought weddings were an opportunity for friends and family to come together and celebrate. Apparently they are an opportunity for us to practice our social skills. I went to a small wedding on my own a few months ago, but fortunately so had most other friends of the bride and groom (lack of funds for everyone to have a plus 1). This worked well and everyone had a great time. Alternatively, I was asked to a big wedding (family friends) that would have meant huge expense, overnight stay etc, but no plus 1. I declined gracefully as I did not want to be on my own for the 12hr bash, no matter how skilled other guests were at polite small talk.

Sparklingbrook Sun 24-Mar-13 10:23:59

I think there should be laws brought in Book so everyone knows the rules regarding hosting or attending a wedding. Steep fines for deviating from them.

Farewelltoarms Sun 24-Mar-13 10:35:35

Actually I didn't even sit myself next to my dh on my wedding day, but a couple of seats along and opposite (i.e. within talking distance but not right next door, was long thin tables). Which was exactly as I did with other couples.
Jeez you lot are coming across as extraordinarily socially inept. I'm with Fellatio etc. I can't believe you can't manage a couple of hours without the social crutch of a husband. Were you married at birth? How did you even meet your husband in the first place? Surely once he was a stranger to you and you had to, horror, make conversation?
It's just so rude to those without partners and those who might not know anyone to consider it so onerous to have to deign to talk to them.
I love my dh and what I really love to do is talk to him, not at a wedding, but after the wedding, to find out who he met, what they talked about, funny stories. I love this so much more than I would being sat next to the man I have dinner with every night.

MewlingQuim Sun 24-Mar-13 10:48:43

This is why we only had 11 people at our wedding including me and DH! Immediate family only and that was enough.

YANBU op. I would be well pissed off to be separated from DH at any event. Just because we like to sit together doesn't mean that we only talk to each other, we talk to the people on the other side and those opposite us. Sitting with someone I know means that I am more relaxed and confident so more likely to talk to strangers, not less so.

Splitting couples up at a wedding is barking.

Sparklingbrook Sun 24-Mar-13 10:52:05

18 at our wedding including us Mewling. It was the best wedding ever. grin

TheRealFellatio Sun 24-Mar-13 11:05:54

I went to a small wedding on my own a few months ago, but fortunately so had most other friends of the bride and groom

It was indeed fortunate Bookfairy considering most people on this thread would clearly have resented having to sit next to you if you were not already a part of their immediate family or friendship group.

nkf Sun 24-Mar-13 11:11:59

I think if you loathe making small talk with strangers, you shouldn't go to large weddings. Then the weddings would be smaller, bride and groom wouldn't spend so much and everyone would be happier.

I think it's ludicrous to sneer at people who don't like forced mingling. But I also think it's ludicrous to go to occasions you don't like.

Sparklingbrook Sun 24-Mar-13 11:14:51

Just because some people don't like enforced mingling it doesn't mean they resent sitting next to strangers. They could just find it really stressful trying to eat a meal and make smalltalk at the same time?

TheRealFellatio Sun 24-Mar-13 11:16:07

I think we need to remember that the original complaint by the OP was being made to sit on the same table but perhaps a chair or two apart from her partner, and having to talk to various 'random cousins and friends' rather than being placed only with people she already knew.

Let's keep this in perspective. No-one is being asked to it at opposite ends of the room to the only other person they know, and then spend the day listening to the anecdotes of the Yorkshire Ripper, or the party manifesto of Nick Griffin.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Sun 24-Mar-13 11:35:08

We mixed up friendship groups half and half, purely because of table logistics. But we thought about who would be likely to get on with each other. I would be annoyed at being apart from DH, especially as we have DS. I would never separate couples or mix people up so they didn't know anyone.

Why would you do that? To make your friends uncomfortable? So you can think smugly, oh all our friends got on so well. As if on the day you even notice!

Sparklingbrook Sun 24-Mar-13 11:36:46

That's true Fellatio. Ooh imagine being sat by Katie Hopkins or something. If I was sat next to a mutual friend of the couple I didn't know I think I would be very worried about putting my foot in it though. The small talk would be very small. grin

TheRealFellatio Sun 24-Mar-13 11:40:17

Oh I'm sure even she can be quite pleasant when she is being paid to dream up some inflammatory bollocks. grin

Sparklingbrook Sun 24-Mar-13 11:41:34

She would of course be dressed all in white Fellatio. grin

TheRealFellatio Sun 24-Mar-13 11:45:31

She bloody would, wouldn't she? All 'look at me, not the bride'. hmm

Sparklingbrook Sun 24-Mar-13 11:47:28

By the end of the Reception she would be topless in a field with the Groom anyway. grin

ifancyashandy Sun 24-Mar-13 11:49:44

Argh!!! But what about people who don't know anyone else at the wedding apart from the B or G?

Where are they supposed to sit? Out by the sodding loos, in order that try don't contaminate the couples/friends?!


Binkybix Sun 24-Mar-13 11:56:36

Exactly that ifancy! All the people specifying how they want to sit are thinking of it just from their perspective when there are usually lots of different people in different circs and it's about trying to find something that works best overall for your guests.

WorriedTeenMum Sun 24-Mar-13 12:01:01

Not everybody likes weddings. Not liking that sort of contrived event doesnt mean that invited guests dont like the B&G or dont wish them well. The B&G should understand that they arent doing people a favour by inviting them to their wedding. It is a compliment to the guest to be invited and a compliment from the guest to the B&G to accept the invitation.

Why invite weird Uncle Arthur and then invite second cousin Joan who is a 'safe pair of hands' to look after him? All too many of these big weddings seem to be about looking right (all the relatives ticked as having been invited) rather than feeling right.

I no longer go to weddings when I know that I have been invited simply because the B&G 'want all the family there' rather than because they want the individual people there.

Sparklingbrook Sun 24-Mar-13 12:02:13

Would it be within the realms of possibility of the Bride and Groom to ask anyone coming on their own what sort of people they would like to sit with? I would probably opt for elderly relatives. smile

ifancyashandy Sun 24-Mar-13 12:08:40

That would be a considerate thing to do.

I'd go for the piss heads!

Sparklingbrook Sun 24-Mar-13 12:11:35

How about pissed elderly relatives fancy? grin

DadOnIce Sun 24-Mar-13 12:12:13

If I can just ask a daft question about a comment 10 pages back... Why are assigned tables needed at Irish weddings in particular?

motherinferior Sun 24-Mar-13 12:12:32

Am I the only person who might be slightly miffed at having to sit next to someone I see every day? I know what Mr Inferior is probably going to say. I can get that at home for nothing. Having made the effort to go out, surely the least I can expect is a bit of conversation with someone new?

TheRealFellatio Sun 24-Mar-13 12:29:15

I wondered that too Dad!

TheRealFellatio Sun 24-Mar-13 12:30:19

haha - mother I think this is the thread that divides the young and in love from the old and jaded. grin

ifancyashandy Sun 24-Mar-13 12:38:49

Pissed elderly relatives are usually HUGE fun!!

ElegantSufficiency Sun 24-Mar-13 12:47:01

I think it should be more acceptable to just say that youdon't attend weddings. I've said this to a few people and jaws have dropped. I stand by it though. I will not attend another wedding until it is my daughters.

ipswichwitch Sun 24-Mar-13 13:06:33

I would think that if you are inviting people to attend your wedding you should know them well enough to know if they can cope with being sat away from their DP next to complete strangers they may/may not get on with, or if they would be uncomfortable with that set up. Then you could seat guests accordingly. I don't get why you would invite people you really don't know that well at all tbh.
This is why we had a very small wedding with afternoon tea in a hotel - plenty room for everyone and you could choose to mingle with strangers or sit with people you knew

BookFairy Sun 24-Mar-13 13:52:28

What a minefield. My sister didn't have a seating plan and it was a bit chaotic, with everyone asking me where they should sit!
I agree with sparkling that there isa huge difference between not being keen on enforced mingling and refusing to talk to/sit with strangers.

WorriedTeenMum Sun 24-Mar-13 13:53:05

I agree Elegant.

The worst weddings I have attended have been 'family' weddings where the invitation seemed to be more of a 3 line whip. The last one we were invited to was accompanied by a silly rhyme about wanting money or holiday vouchers. MiL was genuinely shocked that we immediately declined. In her eyes we should have attended simply because it was family even though this was a cousin of DH's who he hadnt met in 20 years and I had never met.

IME these are precisely the weddings where couples get split up and random relatives are put together simply because they possibly share some DNA. You have nothing in common and have been invited only to have the set in attendance (^all the family was there!^).

That's another thing Worried - I'm quite surprised people still invite so many family and so few friends, or friends and colleagues are only invited for the evening do. I think friends can be the new family and we certainly invited lots to our wedding - though I guess my mother still suggested quite a few distant cousins !
We went to one of DH's colleagues weddings recently as evening guests and there was only a pay yourself bar. Virtually no food - though I did help myself to a bit of cheese and biscuit and a small tart (which only left one for someone else) and not even any clear place for us to sit. And a band to dance to which were OK. As I hardly knew anyone it wasn't the most fun I've ever had, but the children enjoyed it, as children are often quicker to make friends than adults I find.

My POV on weddings these days is that you should have people there that at least one of the happy couple knows reasonably well, this should include family too. At least then you stand a good chance of being able to seat people together who might get on and have a good time.

If DP and I ever bother to get married, I am NOT inviting the many, many cousins from my dad's side who I last saw at least 20 years ago and have zero in common with them apart from a small bit of DNA.

Wishihadabs Sun 24-Mar-13 17:32:49

I love being sat with random strangers at weddings (whilst usually on a table with DH).There's loads of time for catching up before or after the meal.

We went with more friends and less family, because DM insisted that if we invited one aunt, uncle or cousin we had to invite them all, which would have meant a very big wedding (which we didn't want). So we invited immediate family only and quite a few friends (venue was for 50 people). It was a lovely day, but with hindsight I wish I'd gone with more family and stuck to the ones I know well and really like, I feel a bit sad now that more of my family weren't invited especially as some of the friends have fallen by the wayside.

kennyp Sun 24-Mar-13 20:50:45

I live with dh and married him so obviousky i quite like him but i do not want to sit next to him at weddings, dinners etc, i see him every bloody night and if we are out i like variety. (Am not a swinger, if this makes me sound odd!)

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