Recently I attended a wedding of the daughter of a very close friend. I was delighted at the thought of celebrating with this terrific young woman and her family.
My friend gave careful thought regarding seating. She was particularly aware about who should be next to whom, maximizing each guest’s opportunity to have a special night. She is all about connections and she attempted to put people near one another who may not have known of connections or interests they shared.
After the ceremony, before the reception, guests were mingling in a glorious garden. I saw this as a good time to put my wrap and purse at my seat.
To my surprise, I saw a woman at the table but she was not placing anything at her seat. To the contrary. She was reading and moving place cards so that she and her escort would sit where she wanted to sit!
I asked her what she was doing and she said ” looking for a better table.” I said they all are good tables and I think it’s a good idea to sit where our host wants us to sit. Clearly she disagreed and switched the place cards of 4 people.
During the reception, when the bride’s mother made the rounds of the tables, my friend looked at the people seated at the table and said “this seating is not what I planned.” I could see she was confused, but gracious hostess that she was, smiled and said “I hope everyone has a great time.”
This evening made me think about the obligation that guests have when they are invited to enjoy a celebration with friends.
So here are my thoughts. When invited to celebrate with friends:
Sit in your assigned seat and make the best of it.
If your host asks with whom would you like to sit, answer the question. Otherwise be content with your seat mates because clearly your host had something in mind when they sat you at that place.
If you have a real problem with someone and you absolutely cannot bear the thought of sitting with them, quietly tell your host prior to the event and ask if there’s any way they could consider not sitting with that person.
Refrain from switching place cards because it’s not your job. Your job is to attend the celebration and enjoy it as best you can.