When you've finalized your wedding guest list, the next step is to assign seats for your reception. You want to create a warm and inviting atmosphere for your party, and achieving that relies on helping old friends and new acquaintances mingle. We've prepared some tips to assist you in seating your guests.

Get the big picture.

Assigning seats can be an overwhelming task, but you can also make it a fun one. Print out your guest list and cut out each name. Lay out the names on a work area that represents your reception venue-use plates to stand for round tables or small boxes for rectangular or square tables. Arranging your seat plan this way allows you to visualize your reception party clearer.

Mix groups to allow guests to mingle.

If you're inviting your big barkada from college, it wouldn't hurt to divide the group and let some of them share tables with your friends from high school or your workplace to help your friends expand their social circles. When you're mixing groups, keep the number of guests from each crowd balanced. In case some of your guests are too shy to mingle, at least they have some friends in the same table to keep them company.

Group guests with similar interests.

Another thing to keep in mind if you want guests to meet new acquaintances is to group them with people whom they share interests with. When introducing guests to each other, mention their common interests-and hopefully their conversation will take off from there. Having something in common with another guest will make the idea of meeting a stranger less intimidating for a guest.

Seat couples together.

Keep your guests' civil (or dating) status in mind when assigning seats-it can get pretty awkward for a single guest to be included in a table full of couples, unless there are other single guests seated on the table and the singles aren't too bashful to introduce themselves. Otherwise, seat couples together with other couples to keep things from turning uncomfortable for other guests.

Keep kids amused.

Ease your guests' babysitting load by preparing a special table for kids. You can gather coloring materials and other craft supplies in one table (just steer clear of sharp objects!), and let younger guests get wrapped up in their own world. Remember to keep their table near child-friendly adults but keep the kids' table away from your wedding cake!

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