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Peach and gold reception for wedding reception seating guide

Wedding Guests: Reception Seating How-Tos

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It's one of the final tasks on your to-do list. Here's how to make playing musical chairs a breeze.

Photo: Stackwood Studios

Place Your Parents

Traditionally, your parents and your sweetie's parents sit at the same table, along with grandparents, siblings not in the wedding party, and the officiant and his/her spouse if they attend the reception. But if your or your honey's parents are divorced, and are uncomfortable about sitting next to each other, you might want to let each set of parents host their own table of close family and/or friends . This could mean up to four parents' tables, depending on your situation -- or have the divorced parent who raised you (or your honey) and his/her spouse/date sit at the table with still-married parents. (Phew, confusing!)

Remember, the parent-seating question is a flexible one. Set it up in whatever way best suits everybody. If you're unsure, don't hesitate to talk to the parents in question about it before you make your final decision.

Tame Tensions

There may also be situations in which certain family members just do not get along. Maybe they haven't spoken in years. Maybe the last time they saw each other there was a drunken catfight. Understandably, you want to keep them as far apart as possible. Think about these kinds of relationships (or lack thereof) before you even begin making your chart, so you can take them into consideration in the first place and begin by seating Aunt Hattie at table 3 and Aunt Lucy across the room at table 15. Trust us -- they'll appreciate it.

Play Matchmaker

Again, all your college or high-school friends will be psyched to sit at a table together -- and especially if you and your beloved went to the same school and have the same friends, this works out well. It also gives them all an opportunity to catch up with each other, because they may not have seen each other for a while. But again -- reception tables offer a cool opportunity to mix and match your friends and your honey's -- who knows who'll hit it off? Consider seating friends who don't know each other (yet), but who you think will get along exceptionally well, at the same table -- and the rest is history. It can't hurt!

-- Tracy Guth

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See More: Wedding Reception Ideas , Wedding Planning Basics , Wedding Guests