Ouch – “He’s a bit boring isn’t he” – “Yeah, I know and we’ve another 2 hours sitting round the same table – dull” – “I know!” – “Oh well at least the wine and food will help!” – “here’s to the bride and groom – Yay”
You want a great wedding day and your guests getting on like a house on fire but what do you do if some people just don’t get on and are seated together! and it’s not that they don’t like each other, its just that they’re not the most talkative or interesting bunch at the table.
So how do you help prevent the seating arrangement disaster?
(The reason why I’m writing this (Rob) it that Zarn’s is still poorly in bed. So I’ve put my writing fingers on to help her out)
K’ so let’s move on.
I want to tell you our story and why I’m writing this post. It’s not from our wedding rather from a friends wedding we attended some years ago.
We turned up and met our best mates outside the hotel, had a few pints of beer and glasses of wine (not too much – we didn’t want to be the rowdy bunch – well not there at least!) and waited for the reception to start.
We hadn’t looked at the seating arrangement and thought nothing of it. When we were called, together we made our way to the hall. Laughing, making fun of each other and well – having a good time. That’s what you want right!
As we arrived in the door we were ushered to our seats – “Oh no – we’re not all sitting together!”
We were having such a great time – we all wanted to continue the fun, laughter and merriment. But alas it wasn’t to be. Our four other friends were to be seated away from Zarn and I while we were herded to a table with someone we vaguely new and the rest – we hadn’t a clue who they were.
Oh What a Night
The next two hours were a mix of boredom – staring at our friends table with longing – mutters of “how could they be so stupid to put us on a table with these people!” – “never again – we’ll make sure we know what the seating arrangements are before” and…
Polite ‘how do you do’ conversation!
Now it’s not like Zarn and I aren’t good fire-starters! but it doesn’t help when you don’t know anyone at the table and the others are more reserved than a mouse in a cattery. So the question begs – How do you prevent this from happening?
Let’s consider a couple of things to start with. Traditionally – the tables are broken up with people mixing from each side of the wedding party and then a second mix of age followed by the singles crowd. Here-in lays the problem…
Where I’m coming from
I run a personal development training business I teach people this stuff called NLP. Many of the attendees come to help solve some of their problems that cause them discomfort in their life and to learn new skills that will help them achieve their dreams, goals and ambitions etc.
When they arrive – it’s all ‘polite conversation’ and formalities and this is not conducive to a fun learning experience.
Of course your wedding’s not a training environment but people respond the same when they meet people they’ve never met before.
A Great Relationship Please!
Photo by Louise Holgate Photography
So what do you do when you want or need to seat your guests next to people they don’t know? Well this is what I do in the training and I want to give you some ideas on what you can do to make it work. And it’s all about engagement and that is – Fun!
The FUN recipe
When people are laughing and have fun -their natural barriers come down and they start to engage with others because FUN is a natural rapport builder. This is what you want to do – break down the barriers and to do this you can use what are called ‘Icebreakers’.
Fun on the table
Some weddings have the fun elements on the table like ‘insta-snap cameras, balloons to blow up, toys, party poppers and the like – but these are secondary to Icebreaking because if your guests don’t know each other there’ll be an embarrassed silence or coy moment (apart from the confident ones) as to who will use them – if any.
So – you want to break the Ice BEFORE they sit down and here’s how you can do it.
Breaking the Ice
You want to create a moment just prior to them being seated. It could be from the MC or the Best Man. Someone who can take charge of the group and give instructions.
Put on the table an envelope that has each of the guests name on it. The MC is to instruct each person to pull out a card that will contain some instructions.
(This’ll start to warm your guests up – if the alcohol hasn’t yet)
On the pre-written card you’ve created – you have a task that each person has to do before they sit down. The task is something they can do with another person (keep your minds clean please ;-)) that’s fun.
So here’s some ideas.
The Back Name
Instructions – Find someone on your table you don’t know and get together. You’re going to ask them to turn around with their back facing you. You’re then going to write on their back your name or surname in BIG letters and they’ve to guess what your name is.
(alternative version) – Tell them you’re going to write on their back a word that describes you or something you love. It could be a place, an item or a person. And they have to guess what it is.
You’re to find someone you don’t know on your table and tell them something (nice) about another person on the table you do know i.e. “Jane has two Labradors, a cockatoo, and 7 Coi fish – she also worked on a reservation in Mumbai where she got ride an elephant but lost all her luggage when she picked up someone else’s by accident at the airport” (the trick is to make it a bit tricky for the person to remember all the details)
The person you’ve just told this to, is to tell it to three other people on the table with the last person then saying it out loud to everyone.
Picture Paints a Thousand Words
Instructions – On the table there’s a clipboard with paper and a Big fat felt marker next to it. You’re to do a quick ‘Cartoon Sketch’ of someone you don’t know on your table. You’ll have one minute from when the bell goes.
Once you’ve done your drawing you’re to present it to the other person with the most sincere look of an artist you can muster!
Instructions – On the table is a camera – grab one. You’re all to make ‘silly faces’ for the camera. Then each person is to partner up and have their photo taken with a ‘silly face’ together. Then in threes, then fours, then the whole table.
So when you’ve done all this (it shouldn’t take no more than 5-7 minutes, your guests can then seat themselves.
And on the table you can have all the fun extras for them to play around with afterwards.
Have a look at…
If you look to the right of this post one of our Advertisers is Fancy Features. She has some awesome ways to get your guests involved in the wedding and I’m sure will help you with designing anything you need for your tables. So I highly recommend you look her up and see what she does.
Go onto Amazon and do a search for Party breakers or Ice breakers – here’s a few for you
And for the ultimate Toy…
When all is said and done people just want to have fun
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