When I thought to talk about this, I literally laughed out loud...by myself. If this isn't funny to you, just humor me. Most everyone has been to a wedding where they didn't know many people, or anyone. As if it's not enough of a socially awkward situation, you get to the reception to find you're sitting with people you've never met, which makes sense because we've already determined you didn't know anyone else. There are 3 types of scenarios (and my inner monologue) I'd like to highlight today.
- The Single Sally: I've been to weddings as a single girl. (Before I was married to Cal.) It's TOUGH. You walk in to the reception hall to find your seat, only to discover you've been paired with the other singles in the room. Single Sally immediately scopes the crowd to see if there are any Single Stevens hanging around. "Oh, he's cute. I wonder if he's a good dancer." "Dang, he has a wedding band on. All the good ones are taken." "I wonder if this dress was the right choice, I keep getting wedgies." "Maybe I'll sneak out before the dancing starts so people don't notice I have no one to dance with." "I'll just go to the bathroom during the slow songs. Or I'll find more cake." "I don't want to eat this kind of food in front of people I don't know." I could go on. And yes, I have thought all of that...and more.
- The Nosy Neighbor: You don't always go alone, but even when you have a date, that doesn't exclude you from being uncomfortable. You've been seated with the bride's great aunt or the groom's mother's cousin. She can't help herself. She has to know everything about you. You think, "Please don't ask me what I do." "She's going to ask why we don't have kids - or WHEN we plan on having kids." "Oh no, she's going to cough again and my plate is not at a safe distance." "I'll never be able to hit the dance floor because I'm trying to be overly nice to this very talkative (yet kind) lady."
- The Complaining Carl: One thing (and the only thing, really) I HATE the most about weddings is hearing guests complain about the bride and groom's choices. Getting stuck at a table with someone who can't seem to keep their thoughts to themselves, it's the worst! My inner hulk-guard-dog comes alive. "If he talks about how lame the dinner options are one more time..." "I know his daughter's wedding was more upscale than this one, but forrrreal..."
So what we have here happens at every wedding. No matter how much time the bride and groom spend on the seating chart, it's bound to make at least one person uncomfortable. The only thing you should do about it, as a wedding guest, is smile through it. We can't make everyone happy all of the time. And trust me, there is definite stress placed on the couple when they are planning who is sitting where.
Aside from attempting to organize the chaos, the seating chart actually serves many great purposes. Some families are blended, and not everyone will always get along. Step mom and granddad might have had a falling out years ago. By seating them at different tables, the bride and groom know they are preventing potential drama. In your case, perhaps the bride decided you would be a good fit for your table because you would liven things up a bit. Seating charts also help the kitchen. Plated catering requires predetermined order. When you send your RSVP and select the chicken, the caterer needs to know where to find you.
So next time you're at a wedding and you find your seating assignment is less than satisfactory, just remember, you'll only be there for a brief time. Instead of making a big deal of it, keep your thoughts to yourself. No one has to know what you're thinking. ;)
Photos by my girl, Daytona May Photography