So my first run in with seating charts spanned over 3 years ago. It was a memorable moment, as it was the very first time I realised that weddings can turn people batshit crazy. In this case it was not the bride, nor Bill’s blessed parents, but it was the amount of politics that surrounded what should just be a happy day.
I remember walking into what was supposed to be a relaxed family dinner. Bills family run an organic farm so we’re often spoilt by first class steak and dinner. With his usual bouncy “I can’t wait for mummy’s dinner” (yes he’s a total Mumma’s boy), we opened the door to horror. Where normally plated is a fresh salad and his mums homemade salad dressing, we found A3 paper, grey lead pencils and rulers scattered across the dinner table. It looked like an architect had been brutally attacked. I looked at Bill, and there was a look of fear in his brown eyes. He knew that his medium rare steak would be more than a few hours away and his mummy attention would be diverted, and it was far too late to escape.
Me on the other hand, I was intrigued. I like planning and there’s something about taking control of a situation that gives me that Christmas feeling. (I lead a sad life)
The problem at hand was a common one, and one I hear most brides agonising over. The amount of ‘social groups’ far outweighed the number of tables, and many groups would need to be split.
After many hours we came to the most politically balanced assembly of tables. The right level of snears and distance from past relationships. Billy finally got his steak, but I could tell he was weary and that our engagement had been pushed back another 6 months as a result of sitting through the ambush. Funnily enough, after that night, the other side of the family looked at the seating chart and it was brutally changed again. And yet another 4 hours was wasted on really pointless tasks which only drive stress and tension.
Here’s the part I giggle over, the groom always says he doesn’t care, “whatever darl, you do whatever works”. BUT, as soon as he looks over your shoulder he’s ALWAYS the first one with issues. “What did you do that for?! You can’t put Aunty Peg with Uncle Rod, they hate one another” or “Why did you split the cricket boys? Can’t we chuck your work friends on random tables?” ……. Ahhhhhh, bless. Remember ladies, deep breath in. Deep breath out. If you say one more word, I will stab you in the eye with this grey lead pencil.
So what’s the alternative?
I heard this idea recently and I absolutely love it. Here’s the riddle. You have 80 grown ups in one room. If they had to seat themselves do you think they would be able to figure it out? And, if they didn’t sit next to their sister, do you think it would kill them to talk to someone new? Isn’t that the whole point of weddings? Aren’t we all supposed to blend and celebrate together? Hmmmm it’s food for thought but I personally think it’s time we throw out the agonising seating charts and opt for a new age adult approach where we leave one another to figure it the fuck out. You can always get Nanna and Pa seated early with your mum, because every guest of honour deserves a bit of VIP service. And you know what, guests won’t complain, and if they do, they’ll also be complaining about the heat of the chicken and the sun in their eyes because it’s been 5 years since they socialised with a normal human.
So to future bride to be’s, throw out the tradition, shock your parents with your hippy ideas and do whatever the hell you want. Aunt Peg will survive, and Uncle Rod, well, stuff Uncle Rod, he’ll probably enjoy the opportunity to sit in between some of your 20 something year old work girlfriends and pretend he’s interested in their ‘careers’ while he blatantly stares at their boobs.
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