The seating nightmare is like the dreaded O-levels or N levels. We all know it will come at the end of sec 4, but throughout the earlier school years, we tend to ignore it as a distant future. Finally when it dawns upon us, it is all too late.
Inviting your friends and relatives to your wedding is a happy thing, and is often the easy thing to do. While you have to consider who to invite in terms of fitting the number of tables, planning the seating arrangement for them is the real nightmare. I still wake up in cold sweat imagining my 2 aunties who can’t get along with each other will throw cutlery at each other on my wedding.
If you think you have it all planned in your mind, wait till you write it down. These are but a few considerations you must have when planning the seating arrangements.
a) Seating is by seniority, the more “senior” and theoretically closer (although not often really so) relatives MUST, i repeat MUST sit closer to the wedding couple then the less “seniors” ones. This is to save your parents a lot of explaining on the dinner day.
b) You must get into the gossips. Unless you don’t have any extended family, otherwise you will have to make sure the who and who that cannot get along don’t sit at the same table. Trust me, I have helped at friends’ wedding where some aunties (usually aunties and not uncles I don’t know why) just moved to another table and refused to budge because she didn’t want to sit with someone on the original table.
c) Get the family tree right. When inviting relatives, it is good to get some of the “san gu lui po” (aunties) involved. Very often, we will forget that we have a “San Shu Gong” or a “Si Yi Po” and well, you imagine the consequences.
again for your parents yourself.
Now if you think your relatives are the troublesome ones, wait till you reach your friends. Your friends are unlikely to create a din on your wedding if they are unhappy but that doesn’t mean all is fine. By the time you realise something is wrong, that person may not be your friend anymore. Below are the few things to remember.
a) Couples. If you invite a couple separately, make sure they are not separated by the time your wedding comes.
b) It is generally not a good idea to displace the odd one in any table. Often, it is better to squeeze a 11 in one table and leave a 9 person in another. Imagine if you are the lone person in this table of stangers.
c) Occupation. This is somewhat sensitive particularly if you have a bunch of very well achieved friends. There will always be some friends who are not doing as well as your circle of affluent ones and try your very best not to put them together or the poor guy (literally) might find it really awkward.
These are just a few things to keep in mind. There are many tips to overcoming the difficulty of playing the musical chair but I will keep them for another time.