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7 Principles of Perfect Reception Seating

7 Principles of Perfect Reception Seating

Assigning seats at the wedding reception is considerably more daunting than merely writing names on place cards. Insuring a pleasant experience for every guest requires forethought.

7 Principles of Perfect Reception Seating - seating arrangementsWedding Receptions and Seating Arrangements

Assigned reception seating is always beneficial. It automatically relieves stress for attendees, and when asked, the majority of wedding guests will answer that they prefer assigned seats. Few people enjoy approaching an occupied table to ask if they can join the already-seated guests, and “free” seating can result in unnecessary discomfort for some and alienation for others.

Taking the time to thoughtfully assign seats may add to the bride and groom’s pre-wedding tasks, but in the long run, doing so will increase the enjoyment of the day for everyone.

Etiquette Seating Follows 7 Principles

7 Principles of Perfect Reception Seating - etiquette seating

Following 7 basic principles when assigning seats for the wedding reception will make the process less confusing and result in tables blessed with harmonious conversation and a pleasurable atmosphere.

  1. The Two Peas in a Pod Principle: Knowing that two or more people absolutely belong together makes those guests easy to assign. Keeping couples, families, co-workers, etc., together is a plus. Those who share commonalities will converse more freely and be more at ease.
  2. The Dodge Ball Principle: Age is a factor. Seating an elderly person at a table with young children can be stressful for all. Even children on their best behavior can be loud and fidgety. Sheltering elderly guests from those who are young enough to relish a rambunctious game of dodge ball saves frustration for all guests, young and old.
  3. The Solitary Confinement Principle: Inclusion is a must. Solo guests are especially vulnerable in reception situations. It’s difficult to attend social functions alone, making it even more important that guests without partners be integrated into friendly table assignments. What they don’t want is to be lumped together at some “after thought” table for singles. The best solution is to make sure that every table has a seat or two assigned to single guests. For example, a table of eight could include a family of five, a couple and a single guest, and all would find that to be a welcome arrangement.
  4. The Potential Drama Principle: Deciding where to place those who used to be a couple can be challenging. Divorced men and women who no longer speak to each other should be seated apart. Some separated couples remain friendly while others do not. But even if they are amicable, it’s wise to remember that a wedding, of all places, can trigger some painful memories for those who have had their marriages or relationships fail. Unless asked specifically by a former couple to be seated together, each needs to be assigned to a different table in a different section of the room. It does no good to assign seats with such close proximity that they can overhear each other’s conversations. Keeping former couples apart can limit unwelcome wedding day drama.
  5. The Comfort Zone Principle: Guests with special needs require special consideration during the seating process. Common sense should take the lead when addressing those with wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, or other unique issues. Seating the elderly closest to the restrooms makes sense. Keeping those with crutches from having to navigate through chairs and tables by seating them close to aisles is kind to everyone. Placing moms with babies at the fringe of the tables allows them to easily disappear when need be. Simply taking stock of each guest’s personal situation helps create a seating chart that works.
  6. The United Nations Principle: Everyone understands and accepts that those who are closest to the bride and groom will be seated at tables nearest to the head table. But beyond those few select tables, it’s important to assign seats with an eye towards equality. No one likes to be delegated to the back of the room, but someone has to be. The trick is to make sure that no one feels like a second-class citizen. The bride’s third cousin may actually have less contact with her than the bride’s friend from the gym. One is related. One is a better friend. Who gets to sit closer? The best solution is that both of them get seated together at a table, either near or far, and that every other table is populated in a similar fashion. If handled in this even-handed manner, no one will feel slighted.
  7. The Uh-Oh Principle: Planning for the unexpected will prevent distress. There’s always someone who decides to come at the last minute who had previously RSVP’d to the contrary. Planning for this by assigning “ghost” seating here and there throughout the tables, and adding a few “ghost” meals to the catering, will solve the problem. Guests who were invited but declined because of a scheduling conflict, only to discover they could come after all, should feel welcome.

Wedding Guests Appreciate Thoughtful Seating

There is much to think about when creating the perfect wedding reception seating chart, but with dedicated consideration, it will prove to be well worth the investment in time.

The wedding reception is a celebration, and celebrations should be joyous. But it is careful planning that often backs the greatest “spontaneous” joy.

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Tips for Preventing a Disaster When Planning a Family Party

Tips for Preventing a Disaster When Planning a Family PartyFamily Parties are unlike casual gatherings among friends. The reason being that a faux pas in this area will be the topic of discussion for years to come. That being said, tips for preventing disasters in these situations is useful knowledge.

When Planning Food Choices

Always beware of any food allergies and intolerances in your family. There is not a worse party disaster than sending a relative into anaphylactic shock.

Tips for Dinnertime Parties

If your party is planned at dinner time, use warm foods that are easy to prepare ahead of time. Soups are a good hot meal that can be simmering as the host does last minute cleaning and decorating. A good soup is not hard to create. All you need is: chicken, beef or vegetable stock, a corresponding meat, and a nice selection of vegetables. Simmer these ingredients for one to two hours. Soup can either be served with finger foods or a some type of bread. Bread bowls, dinner rolls and cornbread are excellent sides. Always be sure to bake or purchase more than you think you will need, to avoid running out of food if the turnout is larger than expected.

Tips for Preventing a Disaster When Planning a Family Party - anytime partiesTips for Anytime Parties

Elaborate cooking is not always important when entertaining. Foods served should be simple to prepare in large quantities. Snack platters are ideal for parties that fall in-between normal mealtimes. One option is the classic crackers, cheese and summer sausage selection. Cheese can either be in slices or a cheese ball. Another option for the snack platters is mini sandwiches. For these just use dinner rolls or croissants, lunch meat and cheese. These sandwiches are best served with chips and dip.

Tips for Preventing a Disaster When Planning a Family Party - party decorDecor Tips

Planning the decor is simple. Start with a clean open area. Set your food selection on a kitchen table or counter. Light candles that match your carpet, drapes or the season. Be sure to place your candles high enough so that they’re safe from children. On major holidays, consider using centerpieces, wreaths or paper skeletons for a nice touch. Set up a separate area for any children present. If space is limited, consider using a spare room or your garden or yard. Provide crayons, paper, small toys and an age appropriate movie.

Planning the Guest Listplanning the guest list

The issues of budget and space need to be addressed first. Invitations of the formal variety are not always necessary with family parties. Phone calls can be useful and the hostess will find out immediately which guests plan to attend. Reminder texts or calls can avoid and empty table if guests were invited a week or more before. Be careful not to invite two people who are currently not speaking to each other. Or to avoid hurt feelings, arrange seating so they will not be forced to sit next to each other. Awkward silences could result from poorly planned invites.

If Guests Offer to Bring Something

Family guests will usually offer to bring something. It is, however, tacky to ask people to bring more than one item. In order to prevent a late arrival from holding up a meal, don’t ask guests to bring anything that needs to be cooked before serving. Drinks, salads, and desserts are all acceptable requests.

Preventing the Last Minute Crisis

Last minute issues usually lie in the details. To prevent a disaster before party day, a host should always know: What type of dinnerware and utensils will be used, who is bringing what, how many adults and children will be attending, and what type of beverage each guest prefers. A sample drink spread is one type of alcohol, two types of soda, and two types of juice.

While there is no guarantee that family guests will get along, these tips should help any family party be a total success.

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How to Plan a Benefit

How to Plan a Benefit - events managementBenefits and charity events often raise much needed money and awareness for various causes and issues. Planning your own benefit can give you the opportunity to contribute to a cause or charity that you are passionate about or is close to your heart. The most common types of benefits include auctions, performances and concerts, but you can transform just about any event into a benefit to raise money for a cause. To put on a truly successful event, you will need to be outgoing, patient, motivated, organized and ready to network.

Decide on a goal

Most benefits have a financial goal, but your goal could also be other types of donations or to raise a certain level of awareness. Either way, you need to establish a clear objective for what you want to accomplish with your benefit. Explain this goal to all members of your team and anyone you recruit to help you put on the event. Use a fundraising thermometer to track the status of your goal during the benefit.

Choose the type of event you want to put on

Common benefit and fundraising events include formal dinners, auctions, concerts, performances and sports tournaments. Find out what services you have available in your community, and which type of event will draw the highest crowd for the area you live in. You can also think outside the box and organize something fun, such as a benefit bar crawl or carnival.

Recruit a committee of volunteers

You will need people to help you do everything from stuff envelopes with invitations to take tickets or donations the night of the benefit. Talk to people in your community who share a passion for your cause and enroll them in volunteering for your event. Contact any charities or organizations in your are who are working for a similar cause to see if they can spare any volunteers for your benefit. If you want to get people interested, it helps to be well informed and educated about your cause when recruiting.

How to Plan a Benefit - charity event and fundraisingSelect a venue

The type of venue you choose will set the mood for your benefit and determine the number of people you can accommodate. If the weather is nice, consider booking outside venues where you can fit more people and raise more money for your cause. Take care of logistics and detail

Take care of logistics and details

Depending on the type of event you are planning, you will need to reserve food, alcohol, entertainment and other small items such as tables, chairs, napkins and silverware. Send out invitations and prepare promotional materials, such as brochures or fact cards, to pass out the night of your event. Do not forget to think about basics, such as how you will collect donations. If you want to focus all your energies on the night benefit, it would be best if you use the services of an events management company.

Promote your event

Create an electronic invitation page for your event online and send it to your entire contact list. Create pages on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter to promote your event further online. Be sure to tell everyone you know about your benefit and ask them to spread the word.

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