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sitting arrangements at a wedding

(37 Posts)
oldgirl2 Mon 29-Apr-13 10:28:05

My bh and I are going to his nieces wedding with our son and girlfriend, at the reception we have been split up and put on a table with people we don't know although they all friends together. Our son and girlfriend have also been sat with strangers, a group of similar aged guests who are all friends together. Other families have all been sat together, so I guess we are the fall guys. This has really disappointed us as we don't see son much (he works down south), am I being unreasonable?
This is my very first post and don't know what to expect smile

petra Mon 29-Apr-13 10:31:10

Well, as I don't like weddings this would be a wonderful excuse to get out of it.

janeainsworth Mon 29-Apr-13 10:35:49

Welcome old girl
As both my DDs have been married, I can vouch for the fact that the seating plan is one of the most difficult things to sor out and get right.
I think as a guest your duty is to go with the flow.
At my niece's wedding I was alarmed to see we were not sitting with anyone we knew, and indeed were placed next to the pastor who had conducted the service. But we had a great time and it turned out that his wife had worked with my very dear late cousin, and it was lovely to talk to someone who had known him.
If you have been to many modern weddings you will know that they seem to go on ad infinitum ad nauseam - you will have lots of time to talk to your son sunshine

MiceElf Mon 29-Apr-13 10:37:41

It happens! The bestthing to do is go enjoy the dinner, listen to and laugh at end clapp the speeches. And then circulate. You can leave the unknowns politely, although, if you brush up on good conversation openers the people you don't know might turn out to be really good dinner companions.

absent Mon 29-Apr-13 11:07:11

oldgirl2 I think splitting up the family members in this way is pretty standard practice at weddings. I don't think there is any reason to think that your family has been singled out and become the "fall guys". After all, when you have dinner guests you don't sit husbands and wives next to or opposite each other or each other because you want the guests to get to know each other. This is the same kind of thing. I'm sure that your hosts had no intention of upsetting you.

janeainsworth We too sat with the vicar who conducted the wedding service and his delightful wife at the last family wedding we went to. He was much amused by my idea of a revver chart whereby I award gold stars to those men of the cloth who are interesting, amusing, make everyone feel welcome, add a personal touch to the service etc.

merlotgran Mon 29-Apr-13 11:20:35

I hate all this splitting families up nonsense at weddings. Most of the guests have travelled a long way and gone to the expense of staying in B&Bs etc. I don't want to sit and make small talk with strangers, I'd much rather chat to close members of my own family because we only see them two or three times a year. My niece got it spot on at her wedding. Each branch of the family had their own table for the whole afternoon and evening.

I find modern weddings an ordeal anyway. They're like Hollywood productions now.

tanith Mon 29-Apr-13 11:26:11

At most weddings we've been to the once the meal and speechs are done everyone just moves around the room chatting to whom they like.. there isn't anything written in stone that says you have to stay put. I've enjoyed getting to know the other family and friends that I otherwise wouldn't know from Adam.. I can't imagine making a fuss when its such a problematic thing to deal with .

JessM Mon 29-Apr-13 12:07:44

I agree Merlot. But the meal and speeches sometimes go on for ever tanith.
I think there is a case for mixing up immediate family so that they can get to know each other e.g. mothers of couple. Beyond that hmm
Getting stuck having to make small talk with someone you'll never meet again feels like (hard) work to me. Very tedious - you can only talk to the 2 people next to you as beyond that you end up bellowing. If you happen to hit it off you are lucky but it can be purgatory. A few months ago at a charity dinner got stuck next to a woman whose only interest seemed to be the local soccer team. She asked me no questions about myself and I couldn't even get a conversation going about the Olympics.

janeainsworth Mon 29-Apr-13 12:54:31

Absent excellent ideagrinThe pastor at my niece's wedding opened the ceremony by saying how nice it was to see us all and how lovely we all looked. Then he turned to my niece and said 'You don't look bad either, Zoe!'

gracesmum Mon 29-Apr-13 12:57:17

Went to a rather grand wedding some years ago (son of cousins) and the seating plan had been put together with rather naff magnetic lettering on a board on the way into the wedding breakfast. There had been a certain shall we say "needle" between bride's parents and our cousins and we saw that the groom's i.e. "our" side of the family had been split up and was all over the place.
So.........we just moved ourselves around on the plan so that we were all at the same table and went and sat down. That way we enjoyed the meal and the interminable speeches. grin
At our own DD's wedding a very beautiful seating plan had been designed by DDs 2 and 3 and my job was tying tiny little luggage labels with the names stencilled on in gold round wine glass stems!

JessM Mon 29-Apr-13 13:58:30

The vicar that got no stars from me kept the whole congregation standing throughout the wedding service (you could only see the hat in front) and intoned the whole thing in one of those voices that Derek Nimmo did so we-e-ell.

Greatnan Mon 29-Apr-13 14:18:15

I often wonder if vicars are taught that special preachy voice or if they are born with it!
It seems to me that there are only two options open to OldGirl - either go and put up with the bride's seating plan, which probably cost her many hours of worry,or make an excuse and don't attend.

merlotgran Mon 29-Apr-13 14:31:46

Small talk with strangers can sometimes lead to WW3. We found ourselves sharing a table with friends of DH's niece at her wedding. They told us they lived in Portsmouth. DD2 lives in Alverstoke so we said how much we'd enjoyed our trip up the Spinnaker Tower in Gunwharf Keys. Big Mistake!!! Apparently they were part of a group protesting about the cost of the tower because they felt the money could have been better spent elsewhere in Portsmouth. Fair enough. They live and pay council tax there but they went on and on and on about it all afternoon. You'd have thought we were personally responsible for pushing through the planning application.

We spent the whole of the evening 'do' trying to run away from them.

ninathenana Mon 29-Apr-13 15:24:28

At DD wedding we sat my divorced brother and my mum on the same table as groom's younger brother and his grand parents i.e. Close family together. My brother moaned to my mum that his two adult sons and partners were not sitting with him. They however thanked DD for not putting them with their father grin

The last wedding I went too everyone including the groom were locked out of the church as the vicar had got the time wrong ! We sat outside for 20mins then waited inside for another 15mins while vicar prepared himself. Meanwhile the brides mum was frantically texting her not to leave home yet.

Greatnan Mon 29-Apr-13 15:58:10

My grandson's wedding in Kent in August went like clockwork - his fiancee had planned it down to the last detail. The only problem she had with the seating arrangement was what to do with her natural mother, who had abandoned her when she was two. She was brought up by her father and step mother , whom she regards as her real mother, so they sat on the top table with my daughter and son-in-law. My grandson also has a biological father who has done nothing for him, and a wonderful step-father.
There was a very neat solution, the two biological parents sat together at the end of the top table and got very drunk together.

oldgirl2 Mon 29-Apr-13 18:27:53

We will have to grin grin and bear it then all get together afterwards, shame though, lets hope the speeches are short ha,ha. It will probably all turn out great!! Thanks for all replies.

Mishap Mon 29-Apr-13 18:57:36

Go with the flow I say - it is hard at weddings to please everyone and, after all, it is the bride and grooms day. You may find you will make new friends on your table - I love meeting new people - they haven't heard all my stories so I can bore a new audience!

nanaej Mon 29-Apr-13 19:02:30

Sometimes it is such a nightmare as the tables will only seat set numbers and trying to get it right is a real 'walking on egg shells' process. The bride and groom may have thought that you were understanding and adaptable so you are the family they felt they could split without upsetting you. I do know what you mean about wanting to spend time with your son. Are you travelling down the night before or staying over? Maybe you can have dinner together or lunch the following day and swap the gossip you have picked up grin.

oldgirl2 Mon 29-Apr-13 19:21:00

Yes nanaej we are staying over and we skype and text a lot. I'm sure it will all turn out fine now we are over the initial dissappoinment.

nanaej Mon 29-Apr-13 20:03:18

Hope it goes well and you can all enjoy the celebration smile

juneh Mon 29-Apr-13 20:06:21

Recently went to my neices wedding and her boyfriend (new hubby) had a large family and lots of friends where my neice had only a small family. It was much worse my brother, her dad had split from her mum 20 or so years ago. I felt sorry for my brother and his now new wife because they were seated far over to the right of the room and her mum was sat at the other side of the room. Phew! We, my hubby and I, were sat with the grooms father etc and they were so unfriendly it was awful.
There were almost icicles hanging over some area. It was a very long day and must have been worse for my brother's wife. Everyone seemed to feel sorry for the mother of the bride, alot of bad history floating around like clouds of smog. The worst was what little family my neice had as spread around like grains of sand scattered within his large and rather snobbish family.
It was a relief when it was over.
if you can get out of going to weddings do it, that is my moto from now on.confused

Grannylin Mon 29-Apr-13 20:16:54

At my nephews wedding, his wife's divorced parents sat at opposite ends of the top table.The father's new wife sat with our family (we'd never met her). All through the bride's father's speech New wife kept trying to get his attention, while bride's Mum sobbed. Speeches finally over, we started the meal. Bride's father suddenly rapped the table for silence to say..I should have mentioned the brides mother and to thank her. Bride's mother starts sobbing again. New wife on our table gets up and about indigestion sad

harrigran Mon 29-Apr-13 23:00:19

A few years ago DH and I were invited to his nephew's wedding, church wedding as I thought but later realised was just a blessing and the ceremony had taken place in the morning. Blessing was at 2pm and afterwards at a local hotel, we arrived at the hotel at 2.30 and waited for bride and groom. 3,4,5 and 6pm passed and still they did not arrived, word was they had gone to football ground for photographs. At 6.45 they arrived and we went into the room where the meal was to be served, alarm bells ringing when I realised there were no knives and forks. Some time after 8pm there was an announcement that the buffet was served, I had my coat on by then as my stomach was rumbling.
I had a good moan to a friend and she told me modern weddings are like that and photos and videos take hours.
I will claim prior engagement when the next one comes round.

york46 Mon 29-Apr-13 23:33:39

When my husband's neice got married, the church service was to be in the late afternoon, followed by an evening reception. So, the bridegroom's parents provided a wonderful lunch, attended by close family members from both sides. By the time everyone had eaten (and the wine had flowed!) the ice had been broken and we all felt like old friends. The rest of the day was a really warm and friendly affair.

JessM Tue 30-Apr-13 01:45:56

Went to a wedding in France once that involved:
Civil ceremony in the mairie
1.5 hour mass in the cathedral
Drinks and nibbles reception in a very nice hall- but the toilets were disgusting public ones next door
Drive out into the country beeping horns of cars
Hang around for several hours in garden while photos took place elsewhere
Sit down meal in which i was sat next to mr v boring
Speeches were between courses
Courses went on until midnight (apparently this was the abbreviated version of dinner because wedding only half french)
Disco started at midnight.
Drive back to town and collapse.
I think breakfast was also involved but I had a virus and only lasted until 12.30
Makes the most drawn out UK wedding seem completely lightweight.