By Joan Salmon
Preparing for a wedding is no easy task, more so for the couple. From choosing their attires, visiting various service providers to drawing up the invitation list, it is real work. However, another task is seating these people. Where will you put the grandparents, how about your parents, some people may be sworn enemies yet you desire to honour both, then your loud cousins? If you had never given it thought, it is such an uphill task.
Dorothy Ntongo Mugumbya, an events organizer, puts the onus on the couple to know their guests very well. “When arranging wedding seating, one usually starts with both families as in for the bride and groom, then family friends, friends and workmates.”
After the couple has laid out their guest list, she says the next step is to figure out who will sit with who and who is taking care of that particular group of guests. “That is because some guests, even though they are known to each other cannot be sat together. For example, those that take alcohol cannot be put on the same table with those who don’t drink. That further highlights the need for the couple to know their guests well.”
As such getting a table for those that say, take alcohol allows them to enjoy their day while not being a burden to those that do not or feeling boxed in because they feel awkward.
While that is what should be expected, Mugume says the problem is that lately, couples want to micromanage everything till the D-day. “That is deadly because it is overwhelming and several things will be missed or overlooked yet it is these, such as seating, that can break or make the day.” She therefore advises couples to work with planners or people delegated to deal with seating the people. “That way, there will be organization and lists won’t get mixed up.”
Grace Kyomukama, an events organizer shares some of the ways people ought to organize their guests. “With the backdrop of knowing your guests well, here are some considerations as you make that seating arrangement.”
Consider where to seat parents
Parents from both sides command a huge presence at the wedding. Therefore, carefully considering where you seat them is important. “Having them seated close to the couple on either side would be a great idea. That way, they can have a better view of the couple and the ceremony proceedings as well as busk in the glory of their children.”
Get the grandparents a comfortable place
If there are grandparents in attendance, Kyomukama advises that they are sat next to the parents. “That way, they are close to people they know and are comfortable with. It will also be ideal to put an aunt and uncle on the table just in case they need someone to help them.” It will also be ideal to seat them away from speakers and loud people.
Put close friends on the same table
A wedding is a merrymaking function and there is no reason why people should be tensed up. “Close friends have a lot in common and at your wedding, they could do a lot of catching up. Their closeness also means they are comfortable with each other and will enjoy the day better.” It would be absurd to have someone wish they were seated at the table where their best friend is yet they cannot.
Have a children’s table
Some couples have started putting a disclaimer that children are not allowed hence no need to consider this. However, in case they are there on your day, Kyomukama advises that you create a table for them. “That calls for adding children’s chairs and tables into your requirements for the day so that they are comfortable. However, do not place them at the far end but near parents, so that they can keep a close eye on them.”
While you have close friends, you may also want to find other things that identify people such as workmates, family friends. “Sometimes all that brings people together, even though not that close is that they have a few things in common. So workmates will certainly enjoy the day better when sat together as they have a few things in common even though they may not necessarily be friends.” In case you think that someone you have invited may not know anyone, then you may give them the liberty of coming with a +1. “Bottom line, while you cannot put all your friends or relatives on one table, you need to see to it that someone has another they can talk to on the table.”
This can cause a bit of drama when preparing your seating arrangement yet if not considered, Kyomukama says can cause discomfort. “We all come from different walks of life and along the way meet various people. Some of those you will invite to the wedding may fall in more than one category yet better gel in the religious category. For example, while you have workmates, some may not be alcohol takers owing to their religion. Therefore, it would be better to put such with those who are of the same religion. At least, they have religion as the unifying factor.”
She also highlights the instance of culture or politics where it could unify some people that may actually be strangers. “For example, from the same political divide or tribe may have something to talk about, even when they did not know each other. It could take the person in charge of the guests to casually break the ice by pointing out that unifying factor.”
For all this to happen and have people sit comfortably, Kyomukama advises couples to seek advice. “Some people are headstrong, which is not entirely bad because you are not bulldozed into doing what you do not want. However, there is a place for listening and at their wedding is one of such. Therefore, seeking advice, more so from parents is important. Seeing that some of your parents’ friends will attend, such as family friends, they are the best people to help you with clustering them. That takes guess work and embarrassing scenarios out of the picture.”