The fun of making seating arrangements stems from reuniting friends and family members who couples feel will enjoy one another’s company and make the reception that much more fun. But feuding family members can make the task of assigning seats somewhat stressful.

Couples need not be relationship experts to plan seating arrangements that ensure guests have a good time. The following tips can help couples enjoy the process of mapping out their wedding reception seating assignments as much as possible.

* Make assignments by hand. While there is software designed specifically to help couples map out seating assignments, many couples find it easier to do the seating assignments by hand, which allows couples more freedom to rearrange tables. In addition, making the seating arrangements by hand ensures that couples spread out guests who might not get along.

* Don’t seat guests in the hopes of quashing old conflicts. While the jovial spirit of a wedding ceremony and reception might seem like the perfect atmosphere for feuding friends or family members to bury the hatchet with regard to old conflicts, this leaves open the potentially ugly possibility that such conflicts might escalate. Couples don’t want their weddings to be remembered for all the wrong reasons, so keep feuding factions apart when assigning seats.

* Keep special needs guests in mind. Some guests at the wedding may have special needs, and this must be kept in mind when planning seating assignments. Guests with medical conditions may benefit from sitting close to the restroom, while those with mobility issues might be best served sitting in a spot where waitstaff can more easily recognize when they need something. Consider sitting older guests, whose vision might not be as strong as it once was, as close to the happy couple as possible so these guests can see everything and won’t feel left out.

* Make sure the seating assignment table is easily accessible. The table on which seating assignment cards will be placed should be accessible upon entering the reception hall. A table that’s far off in the corner may confuse some guests, who might think the seating is a free-for-all and simply sit in the first empty seats they see.

* Consider flow between tables when making assignments. While you might have aced the seating assignments at each table, don’t overlook the importance of mapping out tables as well. No couple wants their guests to feel isolated from friends or family members at other tables, so do your best to ensure there’s a good flow between the tables.

Plan for tables of family members to be placed next to one another, and do the same with groups of friends. This encourages guests to mingle and can make the night much more enjoyable for everyone involved.

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